Faculty, Students and Staff

Click the links below to find more information:

Clinical Services_contentAcademics_contentNeurobiology and Behavior Research Home_contentGive Now
  • Ryan Darling, PhD


    Assistant Professor
    Office: R709
    Phone: (601) 984-1642
    E-mail: rdarling@umc.edu



    • BA (2000) Psychology, Miami University, Oxford, OH
    • MA (2005) Psychology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences Division, Miami University, Oxford, OH 
    • PhD (2008) Ppsychology, Brain and Cognitive Sciences Division, Miami University, Oxford, OH
    • Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2008-10) Department of Anatomy, University of Mississippi Medical Center

    Teaching responsibilities

    • Medical gross anatomy
    • Medical neurobiology

    Research interests

    I was trained as a behavioral neuroscientist at Miami University under Dr. Stephen Berry, where I researched the electrophysiological correlates of rabbit eyeblink classical conditioning.  Specifically, I built moveable microdrives with multiple tetrode recording electrodes to analyze the response properties of neurons in the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex while rabbits learned to associate a neutral tone stimulus with an airpuff to the eye.  In addition, I used a brain-computer interface to trigger each trial in the explicit presence of a well-studied hippocampal local field potential termed theta (3-7Hz), which accelerated behavioral learning and the learning-related neural responses.     

    As a Postdoctoral Fellow working in the laboratory of Dr. Rick Lin at the UMMC, I researched the long-term neurobehavioral effects of perinatal antidepressant exposure in a rodent model of autism spectrum disorder. Specific areas of research focused on incorporating electrophysiological and immunohistochemical techniques to understand how monoaminergic neural systems (including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine) and their forebrain efferents are disrupted by exposure to antidepressants during critical periods of neurodevelopment.

    I am now an Educator Scholar and concentrate my efforts on the scholarly teaching of anatomy to undergraduate medical students and applying my background of learning and memory to pedagogical research.  I am most interested in better understanding how students' cognitive attributes contribute to, and are affected by, learning anatomy so that we can expedite the learning curve. 

    Recent publications

    • Zhou X, Lu JYF, Darling RD, Simpson KL, Zhu X, Wang F, Yu L, Sun X, Merzenich M, Lin RCS (2015). Behavioral training reverses global cortical network dysfunction induced by perinatal antidepressant exposure. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.   doi:10.1073/pnas.1416582111
    • Zhang J, Dennis KA, Darling RD, Alzghoul L, Paul IA, Simpson KL & Lin RCS (2013). Neonatal citalopram exposure decreases serotonergic fiber density in the olfactory bulb of male but not female adult rats. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 7(67):1-8. PMID: 23675318
    • Bortolato M, Alzghoul L, Zhang J, Darling RD, Simpson KL, Bini V, Chen K, Wellman CL, Lin RCS & Shih JC (2013). Monoamine oxidase A and A/B knockout mice display autistic-like features. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 16:869-888.  PMID: 22850464
    • Alzghoul L, Bortolato M, Delis F, Thanos PK, Darling RD, Godar SC, Zhang J, Grant S, Wang GJ, Simpson KL, Chen K, Volkow ND, Lin RCS & Shih JC (2012). Altered cerebellar organization and function in monoamine oxidase A hypomorphic mice. Neuropharmacology 63:1208-1217. PMID: 22971542
    • Darling RD, Alzghoul L, Zhang J, Khatri  N, Paul IA, Simpson KL & Lin RCS (2011). Perinatal citalopram exposure selectively increases locus coeruleus circuit function in male rats.  Journal of Neuroscience 31(46):16709-16715. PMID: 22090498
    • Zhang J, Darling RD, Paul IA, Simpson KL, Chen K, Shih JC & Lin RCS (2011) Altered expression of tyrosine hydroxylase in the locus coeruleus noradrenergic system in citalopram exposed rats and monoamine oxidase A knockout mice.  Anatomical Record 294(10):1685-1697.  PMID: 21901841
    • Darling RD, Takatsuki K, Griffin AL & Berry SD (2011) Eyeblink conditioning contingent on hippocampal theta enhances hippocampal and medial prefrontal responses.  Journal of Neurophysiology 105:2213-2224. PMID: 21346200
    • Griffin AL, Asaka Y, Darling RD & Berry SD (2004) Theta-contingent trial presentation accelerates learning rate and enhances hippocampal plasticity during trace eyeblink conditioning. Behavioral Neuroscience 118(2):403-411. PMID: 15113267

    Pedagogy abstracts

    • Darling RD, Notebaert AJ, Lu Y, Conway ML, Maklad A, Sinning AR (2015). Assessing organizational changes to a first year medical gross anatomy dissection course. Poster presented at Experimental Biology, Boston, MA.
    • Williams SR, Notebaert AJ, Darling RD, Sinning AR (2015). Analysis of image and text-based medical gross anatomy exam questions administered using Examsoft.  Poster presented at Experimental Biology, Boston, MA.
    • Darling RD, Lu Y, Conway ML, Maklad A, Sinning AR (2014). Assessing the emphasis of radiology in a first-year medical gross anatomy course. Poster presented at Experimental Biology, San Diego.

    For further information or to send comments, you may send e-mail to: anatomy@umc.edu