Dr. Swain

Rodney A. Swain

Dean College of Letters and Science

Office: Holton Hall 218A
Phone: (414) 229-5895
e-mail: rswain@uwm.edu
Web Site: people.uwm.edu/rswain


Ph.D., University of Southern California, 1992

Research Interests:

Broadly stated, my laboratory is interested in studying the manner in which experience shapes the structure and function of the brain and, in turn, how these alterations affect behavior. Given that experience can take many forms, it should not be surprising that morphological and functional changes also exhibit varied patterns. For example, it has recently been reported that motor skill learning is accompanied by increases in the density of Purkinje cell synapses in the cerebellum of the rat. In contrast, exercise, in the absence of learning, produces increases in the density of capillary innervation of the cerebellum. My laboratory is interested in how these plastic changes, individually and in concert, facilitate behavioral adaptation. Our research focuses on changes in motor systems, particularly the cerebellum and motor cortex, associated with motor skill acquisition and repetitive motor activity (exercise).

Current projects in the lab fall into two separate but related categories. The first category examines the relationship between motor activity and plasticity of vascular and synaptic networks of the brain. The work also addresses the impact that these plastic changes have on the learning process. The second research category explores the nature of cerebellar contributions to higher cognitive function. Of particular interest is the manner in which cognition is degraded following ablation of the cerebellum and how manipulations of both behavior and brain morphology can begin to reverse these degradative changes.

Teaching Interests:

Behavioral Neuroscience/Psychobiology; Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Brain Injury and Recovery

Courses Taught:

Psych 654: Advanced Physiological Psychology
Psych 854: Behavioral Neuroscience

Recent Publications:

Sikorski, A.M., Hebert, N., & Swain, R.A. (2008). Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) inhibits new capillary growth in the mammalian brain. Brain Research, 1213, 35-40.

Swain, R.A. (2005). Brain plasticity. In N.J. Salkind (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Baruch, D.E., Swain, R.A., & Helmstetter, F.J. (2004). Effects of exercise on Pavlovian fear conditioning. Behavioral Neuroscience, 118, 1123-1127.

Noblett, K.L. & Swain, R.A. (2003). Pretraining enhances recovery from visuospatial deficit following cerebellar dentate nucleus lesion. Behavioral Neuroscience, 117, 785-798.

Swain, R.A., Harris, A.B., Wiener, E.C., Dutka, M.V., Morris, H.D., Theien, B.E., Konda, S., Engberg, K., Lauterbur, P.C., & Greenough, W.T. (2003). Prolonged exercise induces angiogenesis and increases cerebral blood volume in primary motor cortex of the rat. Neuroscience, 117, 1037-1046.

Bauer, D.J., Christenson, T.J., Clark, K.R., Powell, S.K., & Swain, R.A. (2003). Acetaminophen as a post-surgical analgesic in rats: A practical solution to neophobia. Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science, 42, 19-24.

Swain, R.A. (2002). Reinforcement or Reward in Learning: Cerebellum. In J.H. Byrne, H. Eichenbaum, H. Roediger III, & R.F. Thompson (Eds.), Learning and Memory. Farmingham Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA.

Churchill, J.D., Galvez, R., Colcombe, S., Swain, R.A., Kramer, A.F., & Greenough, W.T. 2002). Exercise, experience and the aging brain. Neurobiology of Aging.

Bahl, R., Bradley, K.C., Thompson, K.J., Swain, R.A., Rossie, S., & Meisel, R.L. (2001). Localization of protein Ser/Thr phosphatase 5 in rat brain. Molecular Brain Research, 90, 101-109.

Irwin, S.A., Patel, B., Idupulapati, M., Harris, J.B., Crisostomo, R.A., Larsen, B.P., Kooy, F., Willems, P.J., Cras, P., Kozlowski, P.B., Swain, R.A., Weiler, I.J., & Greenough, W.T. (2001). Abnormal dendritic spine characteristics in the temporal and visual cortices of patients with Fragile-X Syndrome: A quantitative examination. American Journal of Medical Genetics, 98, 161-167.

Thompson, R.F., Swain, R., Clark, R., & Shinkman, P. (2000). Intracerebellar conditioning: Brogden and Gantt revisited. Behavioural Brain Research, 110, 3-11.

Irwin, S.A., Swain, R.A., Chirstmon, C.A ., Chakravarti, A., & Greenough, W.T. (2000). Altered expression of the Fragile-X Mental Retardation Protein in response to behavioral stimulation. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 74, 80-87.

Swain, R.A., Shinkman, P.G., Thompson, J.K., Grethe, J.S., & Thompson, R.F. (1999). Essential neuronal pathways for reflex and conditioned response initiation in an intracerebellar stimulation paradigm. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 71, 167-193.

Swain, R.A., Wilson, G.F., & Palmer, B (1999). Topographic and event-relted potential correlates of task type and task difficulty. United States Air Force Research Laboratory Technical Report, AFRL-HE-WP-TR-1999-0180, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, USAF.

Klintsova, A.Y., Cowell, R.M., Swain, R.A., Napper, R.M.A., Goodlett, C.R., Greenough, W.T. (1998). Therapeutic effects of complex motor training on motor performance deficits induced by neonatal binge-like alcohol exposure in rats: I. Behavioral results. Brain Research, 800, 48-61.

Kleim, J.A., Swain, R.A., Armstrong, K.E., Napper, R.M.A., Jones, T.A., & Greenough, W.T. (1998). Selective synaptic plasticity within the cerebellar cortex following complex motor skill learning. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 69, 274-289.

Kleim, J.A., Swain, R.A., Czerlanis, C.M., Kelly, J., Pipitone, M.A., & Greenough, W.T. (1997). Learning-dependent dendritic hypertrophy of cerebellar stellate cells: Plasticity of local circuit neurons. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 67, 29-33.

Greenough, W.T., Swain, R.A., Kleim, J.A., & Weiler I.J. (1996). Are experience-induced morphologial changes reflected in brain physiology? In M. Ito & Y. Miyahita (Eds.), Integrative and molecular approaches to brain function, New York, NY: Elsevier.

Shinkman, P.G., Swain, R.A., & Thompson, R.F. (1996). Classical conditioning with electrical stimulation of cerebellum as both conditioned and unconditioned stimulus. Behavioral Neuroscience, 110, 914-921.

Backs, R.W., Ryan, A.M., Wilson, G.F., & Swain, R.A. (1996). Topographic EEG changes across single-to-dual task performance of mental arithmetic and tracking. Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society.

Swain, R.A., Armstrong, K.E., Comery, T.A., Humphreys, A.G., Jones, T.A., Kleim, J.A., & Greenough, W. T. (1995). Speculations on the fidelity of memories stored in synaptic connections. In D. L. Schacter, J. T. Coyle, G. D. Fischbach, M. M. Mesulam & L. E. Sullivan (Eds.), Memory distortion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Wilson, G.F., Swain, R.A., & Davis, I. (1994). Topographical analysis of event-related potentials during a variable demand spatial processing task. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, 65, 54-61.

Maren, S., DeCola, J.P., Swain, R.A., Fanselow, M.S., & Thompson, R.F. (1994). Parallel augmentation of hippocampal long-term potentiation, theta-rhythm, and contextual fear conditioning in water-deprived rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, 108, 44-56.

Greenough, W.T., Armstrong, K.E., Comery, T.A., Hawrylak, N., Humphreys, A.G., Kleim, J., Swain, R.A., & Wang, X.(1994). Plasticity-related changes in synapse morphology. In A. I. Selverston & P. Ascher (Eds.), Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying higher neural functions. New York: John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

Swain, R.A., & Thompson, R.F. (1993). In search of engrams. In F. M. Crinella & J. Yu (Eds.), Brain Mechanisms: Papers in memory of Robert Thompson. New York: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Oliver, C.G., Swain, R.A., amp; Berry, S.D. (1993). Hippocampal plasticity during jaw movement conditioning in the rabbit. Brain Research, 608, 150-154.

Swain, R.A., Shinkman, P.G., Nordholm, A.F., & Thompson, R.F. (1992). Cerebellar stimulation as an unconditioned stimulus in classical conditioning. Behavioral Neuroscience, 106, 739-750.

Berry, S.D., & Swain, R.A. (1989). Water deprivation optimizes hippocampal activity and facilitates nictitating membrane conditioning. Behavioral Neuroscience, 103, 71-76.