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Queen's University

MotiCog Lab


Sylvia Magrys    

BSc University or Toronto (2007)

MSc Queen’s University (2010)

Area of research: My broad research interest centres on understanding the role of individual differences in the development of drug addiction. Previous research has linked traits such as impulsivity and stress reactivity to substance abuse, but the causal nature of the relationship remains unclear.  My research focuses on maladaptive drinking and drug use in undergraduate students, attempting to explain how individual differences in cognitive and physiological factors predict these behavioural patterns. 


My current research program has explored how (1) stress-reduction alcohol expectancy, a known risk factor for substance abuse, moderates the relationship between alcohol intoxication and subjective stress, and (2) whether acute stress increases consumption of alcohol.  Using a large-scale online study, I seek to examine whether pre-existing trait or behavioural measures predict changes in drinking and drug use during university and into early adulthood.


Megan Mahoney  

BSc, University of Ottawa (2007)

MSc Queen’s University (2009)

Area of research: My interests lie in understanding the neural processes mediating drug seeking behaviour and addiction, mainly stress and impulsivity. As of yet, little research has examined the effects of the interaction between stress and impulsivity. I am examining how acute physical stress alters impulsivity using behavioural measures of both cognitive and motor impulsivity. Furthermore, the potential role of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) to alter prefrontal cortex functions in relation to impulsivity is unknown. In future studies, I would like to examine these potential changes. Specifically, I would like to determine how CRF mediates the effects of impulsivity, and determine if CRF differentially alters dopamine and serotonin systems in stressed versus non-stressed rats, as a function of impulsivity. Lastly, I would like to examine how stress and impulsivity interact to alter drug seeking behaviour.

Amanda Maracle

Amanda Maracle

BAH Queens University (2010)

MSc Queens University (2012)

PhD candidate in Behavioral Neuroscience


Area of research: I am broadly interested in understanding the parallels in behavioural, neurophysiological, and pharmacological mechanisms that underlie the development of drug addiction. Currently, I am focusing on the relationship between compulsive responding for drugs and food, specifically sucrose.  Specifically, I am using an animal model of sucrose bingeing to study the neurophysiological correlates of compulsive responding.  I have confirmed that rats given intermittent access to a sucrose solution develop compulsive intake, and have shown that these changes are accompanied by concurrent changes to DA-modulated GABA transmission in the oval bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST). My future research goals include further investigation of the role of the BNST, as well as other related brain areas, in the development of addiction. I addition, I would like to expand my research to include other factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of addiction.

Rachel Smail-Crevier 

Rachel Smail-Crevier

BSc University of Ottawa (2014)


Area of research: My general research interest is eating behaviour and how it becomes maladaptive in certain situations.  For my graduate work, will be focusing on the similarities between drug addiction and binge eating. I am particularly interested in the role that dopamine plays in the development and maintenance of binge eating and in the mechanisms through which stress (chronic and acute) may render individuals more susceptible to binge eating.

Meghan N. McKay 

Meghan N. McKay

BA Wilfred Laurier University (2014)


Area of research: I am broadly interested in the neurobiological mechanisms and psychological factors that underlie the development and maintenance of drug addiction. First, the disruption in normal brain development and the modifications of neural circuitry that result from using certain drugs during the adolescent age is an area of research that fascinates me. In addition, the neurobiology underlying the strong protective effect of environmental enrichment during development to prevent or lessen the potential of drug addiction is another area of interest.  Second, and perhaps more specifically, I am interested in the pairing of opiate drug reward with environmental stimuli which produces powerful triggers for maintaining opiate dependence. This area of research has a great deal of extensions, as prescription opiate addiction is a serious issue which often results from self-medicating for emotional and / or physical pain. In my MSc research, will be combining behavioural and neurobiological techniques (such as immunohistochemistry) in order to help answer my research questions.





Bonnie Lum

PhD (2013)

Clinical Psychologist

Geriatric Mental Health Program

London Health Sciences Centre

London, ON Canada

Scott Hayton
MSc (2007), PhD (2011)

Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Psychiatry

Stanford University

San Francisco CA USA

  Iris Balodis

MA (2003), PhD (2007)

Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Psychiatry

Yale University School of Medicine

New Haven CT USA

  Jay Paquette

MA (2002), PhD (2007)

Research Scientist

Pharmacology and Drug Development

Neuromed Pharmaceuticals

Vancouver BC Canada


Stephanie Hancock
MA (2003) PhD (2008: MUN)
Associate Professor
Dept. Psychology
University of Lethbridge

Lethbridge AB

Tracie A. Paine

MA (2001), PhD (2004)

Associate Professor

Dept. of Neuroscience

Oberlin College

Oberlin OH USA

  Kim G. C. Hellemans

MA (2000), PhD (2003)

Associate Professor

Dept. of Psychology

Carleton University

Ottawa ON Canada




Apostolia Petropoulou (MSc 2010)

Joanna Pohl (MA 2006)

Lisa Bradford (MA 2004)

Catherine Ortner (MA 2001)


Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000