Faculty & Staff

S Tiffany Donaldson, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts


photo of S Donaldson

Areas of Expertise

Brain changes underlying psychostimulant abuse; the female body’s natural response to pain, immediately preceding pregnancy and during delivery


PhD, Northeastern University

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

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Dr. Donaldson’s research is focused on understanding the intersect of biological (e.g, sex and personality traits) and environmental factors that create vulnerabilities to drug addiction. She uses a rodent model to explore biological sex differences and trait anxiety and pathways to drug addiction, and how these factors may make some rodents more sensitive to stimulant drugs, more likely to show impulsive behavior and relapse. She breeds her own trait anxiety animals at the University of Massachusetts vivarium to create high (HAn) and low anxiety (LAn) animals to explore the cellular and molecular factors to create this stimulant drug vulnerability profile. She is also interested in the biology-environment interaction and uses early interventions such as closed nesting (CN) environments during pre-weaning, brief periodic maternal separation and enrichment strategies to reverse vulnerable states.

Working in Dr. Donaldson’s lab you will be involved in animal husbandry, small animal survival surgery including ovariectomy, intra-cranial cannulation and injection, a host of behavioral testing (e.g., anxiogenic and repeated stress stimuli, cognitive, operant learning, activity) and post-mortem protein and cell morphology analysis (e.g., immunocytochemistry, Western blots, Golgi stain).


Behavioral Neuroscience (Psychology 260), Psychopharmacology (Psychology 362), Substance Abuse and the Brain (Psychology 363), Research Methods: Physiological (Psychology 469), Physiological Psychology (Psychology 660)