Faculty Associates

Sydney Trask

Contact Information
Email: smtrask@purdue.edu
Office: PSYC 3164 Map
Phone: 765-496-0880
Fax: 765-496-1264
Homepage: Homepage
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological Sciences

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Pillars of Interdisciplinary Research Excellence

Preserving Cognitive Function; Enhancing Biological and Physical Function in Later Life


PhD University of Vermont Psychological Sciences 2017

Research Interests

I am interested in the ways the brain encodes, stores, retrieves, and updates memory. I am particularly interested in understanding memory for context, or the environment in which events take place. Successful encoding and retrieval of context allows us to select and guide our behavior in a way that encourages situationally appropriate responding. However, alterations in this type of learning and memory are common in symptomology that underlies several neuropsychiatric disorders, ranging from PTSD to age-related dementia. Understanding how memory for context is formed, retrieved, and altered at both the circuit and molecular level, will provide one crucial step forward to treatments aimed at reducing maladaptive behaviors stemming from contextually inappropriate responding.

Teaching Interests

Learning & Behavior, Learning Theory, Behavioral Neuroscience, Molecular Mechanisms of Memory


2024 - Brain and Behavior Research Foundation
2024 - National Institute of Mental Health
2023 - National Institute on Aging
2023 - Research Corporation for Science Advancement
2022 - Purdue Institute for Integrative Neuroscience/Center for Research on Brain, Behavior, and Neurorehabilitation Pilot Grant
2019 - National Institute of Mental Health

Selected Publications

Robinson, P. K., Met Hoxha, E., Williams, D., Kinzig, K. P., & Trask, S. (in press) Fear extinction is impaired in aged rats. GeroScience.

Ritger, A., Parker, R.K., Trask, S., & Ferrara, N.C. (2024). Elevated fear states facilitate ventral hippocampal engagement of basolateral amygdala neuronal activity. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 18, 1347525.

Met Hoxha, E., Robinson, P. K., Greer, K. M., & Trask, S. (2024). Generalization and discrimination of inhibitory avoidance differentially engage anterior and posterior retrosplenial subregions. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 18, 1327858.

Ferrara, N. C., Trask, S., Padival, M., & Rosenkranz, J. A. (2023). Maturation of a cortical-amygdala circuit limits sociability in male rats. Cerebral Cortex, 33, 8391-8404.

Ferrara, N.C., Kwapis, J. L., & Trask, S. (2023) Memory retrieval, reconsolidation, and extinction: Exploring the boundary conditions of post-conditioning cue exposure. Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience, 15, 1146665.

Bonanno, G.R., Met Hoxha, E., Robinson, P.K., Ferrara, N.C., & Trask, S. (2023). Fear reduced through unconditional stimulus deflation is behaviorally distinct from extinction and differentially engages the amygdala. Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science, 3, 756-765.

Trask, S., Kuczajda, M. T., & Ferrara, N. C. (2023). The lifetime impact of stress on fear regulation and cortical function. Neuropharmacology, 224, 109367.

Ferrara, N.C., Trask, S., Ritger, A., Padival, M., Rosenkranz, J.A. (2022). Developmental differences in amygdala projection neuron activation associated with isolation-driven changes in social preference. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 16, 956102.

Ferrara, N. F., Trask, S., Yan, L., Padival, M., Helmstetter, F. J., & Rosenkranz, J. A. (2022). Isolation driven changes in Iba1 morphology are associated with social recognition memory in adults and adolescents. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 107626.

Trask, S., Mogil, J. S., Helmstetter, F. J., Stucky, C. L., & Sadler, K. E. (2022). Contextual control of conditioned pain tolerance and endogenous analgesic systems. eLife, 11, e75283.

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