Derek Hamilton


Department Chair

Photo: Derek Hamilton
Logan Hall 178
Lab Website
Curriculum vitae

Research Area/s:

Cognition, Brain and Behavior

Research Interests:

  • Behavioral and neurobiological consequences of prenatal ethanol exposure
  • Neurobiology of learning and memory
  • Social behavior
  • Spatial navigation
  • Synaptic plasticity and structural plasticity


Accepting students?  Dr. Hamilton may be accpeting students for Fall 2024.  Please email Dr. Hamilton if you are interested in pursuing graduate studies.

Selected Publications

  • Hamilton, D.A., Silasi, G., Magcalas, C.M., Pellis, S.M., & Kolb, B.E. (2020). Social and olfactory experiences modify neuronal morphology of orbital frontal cortex. Behavioral Neuroscience, 134, 59-68.
  • Frost, M.E., Peterson, V.L., Bird, C. W., McCool, B.A., & Hamilton, D. A. (2019). Effects of Ethanol Exposure and Withdrawal on Neuronal Morphology in the Agranular Insular and Prelimbic Cortices: Relationship to Withdrawal-Related Structural Plasticity in the Nucleus Accumbens. Brain Sciences, 9, 180.
  • Rodriguez, C. I., Davies, S., Calhoun, V., Savage, D.D., & Hamilton, D. A. (2016). Moderate prenatal ethanol exposure alters functional connectivity in the adult rat brain. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, in press.
  • Hamilton, D.A., & Brigman, J.L. (2015). Behavioral flexibility in rats and mice: Contributions of distinct frontocortical regions. Genes, Brain, and Behavior, 14, 4-20.
  • Bird, C.W., Candelaria-Cook, F.T., Magcalas, C.M., Davies, S., Valenzuela, C.F., Savage, D.D., & Hamilton, D.A. (2015). Moderate prenatal alcohol exposure enhances GluN2B containing NMDA receptor binding and ifenprodil sensitivity in rat ventrolateral frontal cortex.  PLoS ONE, 10(3):e0118721.
  • Hamilton, D.A., Barto, D., Rodriguez, C.I., Magcalas, C., Fink, B.C., Rice, J.P., Bird, C.W., Davies, S., & Savage, D.D. (2014). Effects of moderate prenatal ethanol exposure and age on social behavior, spatial response perseveration errors and motor behavior. Behavioural Brain Research, 269, 44-54.
  • Knierim, J.J., & Hamilton, D.A. (2011). Framing spatial cognition: Neural representations of proximal and distal reference frames and their role in navigation.  Physiological Reviews, 91, 1245-1279.

Courses Taught

  • Psychology 240 : Brain and Behavior

  • Psychology 260 : Psychology of Learning and Memory

  • Psychology 347/547 : Drugs and Behavior

  • Psychology 391-392 / 491-492 Junior/Senior Honors

  • Psychology 540 : Biological Bases of Behavior


Graduate Students:

Christy Magcalas

The role of glutamatergic receptors in frontal cortex function and related behaviors.

Breannan Howell
Affect and learning/memory.

Monica Goncalves-Garcia
Prenatal alcohol exposure, learning, and synaptic plasticity.

If you are interested in pursuing graduate studies with Dr. Hamilton please contact him by email.  He will be considering a student for 2021.