Janet Menard

Janet Menard

Associate Professor

Department of Psychology

People Directory Affiliation Category

B.A., (Hons), University of Alberta, 1992
Ph.D., University of Alberta, 1999

Curriculum Vitae [PDF]

Research Interests

Fear is highly adaptive in that it serves to protect us from harm in threatening situations. However, when fear is extreme or when it is inappropriate to the situation, it is no longer adaptive. My research is concerned with the neural circuits responsible for mediating fear as a useful adaptation, as well as with how altered brain function might promote maladaptive levels of fear. We use animal models of anxiety (rats being our animal of choice) to study how fear is regulated in the brain (e.g., what brain structures, neurochemicals and receptor types are involved?). We also explore how these neural systems and the defensive behaviors they regulate are modified by prior experience (e.g., maternal neglect in early life and/or chronic stress in adulthood). Our experimental approach involves behavioral testing, maternal care paradigms, intra-cerebral and peripheral drug administration, neuroanatomical lesions and immunohistochemistry.

Selected Publications

Chee S-S A, Menard JL, Dringenberg H (2014) Behavioural anxiolysis without reduction of hippocampal theta frequency after histamine application in the lateral septum of rats. Hippocampus, 24:615-627.

Chee S-S A, Menard JL. (2013) The histaminergic H1, H2, and H¬3 receptors of the lateral septum differentially mediate the anxiolytic-like effects of histamine on rats’ defensive behaviors in the elevated plus maze and novelty-induced suppression of feeding paradigm. Physiology & Behaviour, 116-117: 66-74.

Trent NL*, Menard JL. (2013) Lateral septal infusions of the Neuropeptide Y Y2 receptor agonist, NPY13-36 differentially affect different defensive behaviors in male, Long Evans rats. Physiology & Behaviour, 110-111: 20-29.

Wilkin MM*, Waters P, McCormick, CM & Menard, JL. (2012). Intermittent physical stress during early- and mid-adolescence differentially alters rats’ anxiety- and depression-like behaviours in adulthood. Behavioral Neuroscience.

Trent NL*, Menard JL. (2011) Infusions of neuropeptide Y into the lateral septum reduce anxiety-related behaviors in the rat. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 99: 580-590.

Che S-SA*, Menard JL (2011) Lesions of the dorsal lateral septum do not affect neophagia in the novelty induce suppression of feeding paradigm but reduce defensive behaviours in the elevated plus maze and shock probe burying tests. Behavioural Brain Research, 220: 362-366.

Trent NL*, Menard JL. (2010) The ventral hippocampus and the lateral septum work in tandem to regulate rats' open-arm exploration in the elevated plus-maze. Physiology & Behavior (101): 141-152.

Simpson SM, Menard JL, Reynolds RN, Beninger RJ (2010) Post-weaning social isolation increases activity in a novel environment but decreases defensive burying and subchronic mk-801 enhances the activity but not the burying effect in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior (95): 72-79.

Hakvoort Schwerdtfeger RM*, Menard JL (2008) The lateral hypothalamus and anterior hypothalamic nucleus differentially contribute to rats’ defensive responses in the elevated plus-maze and shock-probe burying tests. Physiology & Behavior, 93: 697-705.

Dringenberg HC, Levine Y*, Menard JL (2008) Electrical stimulation of dorsal, but not ventral hippocampus reduces behavioral defense in the elevated plus maze and shock-probe burying test in rats. Behavioural Brain Research, 143-147.

Menard JL, Hakvoort RM* (2007) Variations of maternal care alter offspring levels of behavioral defensiveness in adulthood: evidence for a threshold model. Behavioural Brain Research, 176: 302-313.

Pohl J, Olmstead MC, Wynne-Edwards KE, Harkness K, Menard JL. (2007) Repeated exposure to stress across the childhood-adolescent period alters rats' anxiety- and depression-like behaviours in adulthood: The importance of stressor type and gender. Behavioural Neuroscience, 121: 462-274.

Hancock S, Menard JL, Olmstead C (2005) Variations of maternal care influence vulnerability to stress-induced binge eating in adolescent female rats. Physiology & Behavior, 85: 430-439.

Menard JL, Champagne D, Meaney MJ (2004) Variations of maternal care differentially influence 'fear' reactivity and regional patterns of C-Fos immunoreactivity in response to the shock-probe burying test. Neuroscience, 129: 297-308.

Menard J, Treit D (2001) The anxiolytic effects of intra-hippocampal midazolam are antagonized by intra-septal L-glutamate. Brain Research, 888: 163-166.

Menard J, Treit D (2000) Intra-septal infusions of excitatory amino acid receptor antagonists have differential effects in two animal models of anxiety. Behavioral Pharmacology, 11(2): 99-108.

(* denotes my students)