Vonder-Haar_Cole_720x720688 Biomedical Research Tower
460 W 12th Ave, 43210

Research Focus

Dr. Vonder Haar’s research is focused on behavioral dysfunction, particularly as it relates to disease states. Psychiatric-like impairments are very common after traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The lab uses rodent models of TBI to better understand why these problems develop and how they might be treated. One such avenue includes investigation of neuroinflammation to determine whether this is a viable treatment target for the long-term symptoms of TBI. Another line of research looks at long-term changes in the dopamine system as a potential driver of psychiatric-like impairments. Cutting across all of this is a strong focus on behavioral assessments which maximize translational relevance. 

Research Approaches

Dr. Vonder Haar’s laboratory is focused on behavioral neuroscience; we use a collection of high-throughput operant behavioral techniques to chronically assess impulsivity, decision-making, and other outcomes. We also make use of other behavioral neuroscience techniques, including mazes and motor measures. We use stereotaxic surgery to perform interventions such as brain injury or implants. In the wet lab, we use a collection of microscopy techniques (e.g., immunohistochemistry) and other protein measurements (e.g., Western blot, ELISA).

Education and Training

PhD: Psychology, 2013. Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
Canadian Institutes for Health Research Postdoctoral Fellowship: Behavioral Neuroscience, University of British Columbia, 2013-2016

Current Publications

  • Modrak, C. G., Giesler, L. P., Vonder Haar, C. Traumatic brain injury substantially reduces the conditioned reinforcing effects of environmental cues in rats. Brain Research, 1748, 147084. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32871136/
  • Frankot, M., O’Hearn, C. M. & Vonder Haar, C. Choice-based assessments outperform traditional measures for chronic depressive-like behaviors in rats after brain injury. Behavioural Brain Research, 395, 112879. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32841610/
  • Ozga-Hess, J. E., Whirtley, C., O’Hearn, C. M., Pechacek, K. M. & Vonder Haar, C. (2020). Unilateral parietal traumatic brain injury increases risk-taking on a rat gambling task. Experimental Neurology, 327, 113217. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32014440/
  • Martens, K. M., Pechacek, K. M., Modrak, C. G., Milleson, V. J., Zhu, B. & Vonder Haar, C. (2019). Cathodal transcranial direct-current stimulation selectively reduces impulsivity after TBI. Journal of Neurotrauma, 36(19), 2827-2830. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31072218/
  • Vonder Haar, C., Martens, K. M., Bashir, A., McInnes, K., Cheng, W. H., Cheung, H., Stukas, S., Barron, C., Ladner, T., Welch, K., Cripton, P., Winstanley, C. A. & Wellington, C. L. (2019). Repetitive closed-head impact model of engineered rotational acceleration (CHIMERA) injury in rats increases impulsivity, decreases dopaminergic innervation in the ventral striatum and generates white matter inflammation, tau phosphorylation and degeneration. Experimental Neurology, 317, 87-99. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30822421/
  • Shaver, T. K., Ozga, J. E., Zhu, B., Anderson, K. G., Martens, K. M. & Vonder Haar, C. (2019). Long-term deficits in risky decision-making after traumatic brain injury on a rat analog of the Iowa gambling task. Brain Research, 1704, 103-113. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30296430/
  • Vonder Haar, C., Ferland, J-M. N., Kaur, S., Riparip, L-K., Rosi, S. & Winstanley, C. A. (2019). Cocaine self-administration is increased after frontal traumatic brain injury and associated with neuroinflammation. European Journal of Neuroscience, 50(3), 2134-2145. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30118561/
  • Ozga, J.E., Povroznik, J. M., Engler-Chizurrazi, E. & Vonder Haar, C. (2018). Executive (dys)function after traumatic brain injury: Special considerations for behavioral pharmacology. Behavioural Pharmacology,29(7), 617-637. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30215622/