Functional Recovery after Experimental Traumatic Brain Injury

"One of the things I enjoy most about the project is that I get to utilize all sorts of background knowledge that I bring to the table from my classes in psychology. Especially when testing animal behavior, I like that I have covered similar topics in my previous psychology classes on behavior and how the different parts of the brain work."


Supervising Faculty:

Anthony E. Kline



Anthony E. Kline
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
John G. Rangos Research Center – Room 6126
4401 Penn Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA  15224
412-692-7092 or 412-965-2043


Area of Research: Health Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience


Description of Research:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) affects 2 million people in the United States each year, making it one of the more prevalent and debilitating of all neurological disorders. Approximately 300,000 of the TBI cases are severe enough to warrant hospitalization, where 50,000 die. Of the 250,000 survivors, 100,000 endure long-term disabilities that require rigorous, lengthy, and costly medical and rehabilitative care. TBI is a serious and survivable medical problem with no acknowledged treatment. Therefore, empirical investigation of therapeutic strategies that may facilitate the recovery process after TBI, such as those directed by Dr. Kline at the Safar Center for Resuscitation Research and department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation are essential. My laboratory utilizes a rodent model of TBI to produce motor and cognitive deficits. Following brain injury in fully anesthetized rats, therapeutic strategies such as pharmacotherapy and/or environmental enrichment are provided in an attempt to restore function and/or attenuate TBI-induced deficits.


Duties of Students:

Students have the opportunity to become involved in the project at all levels. For example, besides the required behavioral assessments (motor assessment on a beam task and cognitive performance on a water maze task) and routine animal care, students can participate in histological assessments (e.g., brain tissue cutting, staining, and cell quantification), literature reviews, data analyses, and writing results for student poster presentations. If a student writes the results of a study for a poster, he/she will be listed as first author. On occasion, and depending on the level of commitment and involvement the student may be listed as a co-author on the written manuscript. My laboratory is well suited for students interested in learning about traumatic brain injury and subsequent functional recovery. Additionally, I am very willing to write letters of recommendation for students needing them for graduate or medical school.


Additional Requirements:

  • Responsibility, motivation, willingness to learn
  • Ability to work weekends
  • Students should not have a fear or aversion to rats, as they are the subjects of interest
  • Two-term commitment required


Terms offered: fall, spring and summer


Number of Students: 2

Additional Information: Dr. Kline also welcomes the opportunity to mentor qualified Honors students.