Dr. Robert J. Contreras

B439 PDB
Florida State University
Department of Psychology
1107 W. Call Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4301
(850) 644-1751

Ph.D.
Michigan State University
1975

Associate Faculty
  Dr. Alexandre  Nikonov Dr. Alexandre Nikonov
PDB
(850) 645-8722

Dr. Robert J. Contreras

Associate Dean, College of Arts & Sciences
James C. Smith Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience

Research Interest

Roles of early dietary experience, taste, hormones, and the brain in control of appetite, energy balance, and blood pressure regulation. Special focus is on plasticity, hypertension, and obesity. Analyses include behavioral, physiological, and anatomical approaches.

Current Research

The research focuses on how the rodent peripheral gustatory system codes information about taste quality and intensity, as well as how internal (e.g. sodium deprivation, hormone levels) and external (e.g. stimulus temperature) factors influence coding using electrophysiological recording methods of whole nerve and single-cell responses and parallel psychophysical studies of taste-mediated behavior.

Selected Recent Publications

Wu W, Mast TG, Ziembko C, Breza JM, Contreras RJ. Statistical analysis and decoding of neural activity in the rodent geniculate ganglion using a metric-based inference system.. PloS ONE. 8(5): e65439, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065439.201. (2013) PDF
Breza JM, Contreras RJ. Anion size modulates salt taste in rats.. J. Neurophysiol. 107:1632-1648. (2012) PDF
Smith KR, Treesukosol Y, Paedae AB, Contreras RJ, Spector AC. The Contribution of the TRPV1 channel to salt taste quality in mice as assessed by conditioned taste aversion generalization and chorda tympani nerve responses. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology. 303:R1195-205. (2012)
Lu B, Breza JM, Nikonov AA, Paedae AB, and Contreras RJ. Leptin increases temperature-dependent chorda tympani nerve responses to sucrose in mice.. Physiol Behav. 107: 533-539. (2012) PDF
Breza JM and Contreras RJ. Acetic acid modulates salt taste in rats.. J. Neurophysiol.. 108: 2405-2418. (2012) PDF
Lawhern V, Nikonov AA, Wu W, and Contreras RJ. Spike rate and spike timing contributions to coding taste quality information in rat periphery. Frontiers in Integrative Neurosci. (2011) PDF
Breza JM, Nikonov AA, and Contreras RJ. Response latency to lingual taste stimulation distinguishes neuron types within the geniculate ganglion. J Neurophysiol. 103: 1771-1784. (2010) PDF
Stratford JM, Contreras RJ. Saliva and other taste stimuli are important for gustatory processing of linoleic acid. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 297(4):R1162-70. (2009) PDF
Garcia JM, Curtis KS, Contreras RJ. Behavioral and electrophysiological taste responses change after brief or prolonged dietary sodium deprivation. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 295(6):R1754-61. (2008) PDF
Frank ME, Lundy RF Jr, Contreras RJ. Cracking taste codes by tapping into sensory neuron impulse traffic. Prog Neurobiol. 86(3):245-63. (2008) PDF
Stratford JM, Curtis KS, Contreras RJ. Linoleic acid increases chorda tympani nerve responses to and behavioral preferences for monosodium glutamate by male and female rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 295(3):R764-72. (2008) PDF
Breza JM, Curtis KS, Contreras RJ. Monosodium glutamate but not linoleic acid differentially activates gustatory neurons in the rat geniculate ganglion. Chem Senses. 32(9):833-46. (2007)
Krause EG, Curtis KS, Markle JP, Contreras RJ. Oestrogen affects the cardiovascular and central responses to isoproterenol of female rats. J Physiol. 582(Pt 1):435-47. (2007)
Stratford JM, Curtis KS, Contreras RJ. Chorda tympani nerve transection alters linoleic acid taste discrimination by male and female rats. Physiol Behav. 89(3):311-9. (2006)
Curtis KS, Contreras RJ. Sex differences in electrophysiological and behavioral responses to NaCl taste. Behav Neurosci. 120(4):917-24. (2006) PDF
Krause EG, Curtis KS, Stincic TL, Markle JP, Contreras RJ. Oestrogen and weight loss decrease isoproterenol-induced Fos immunoreactivity and angiotensin type 1 mRNA in the subfornical organ of female rats. J Physiol. 573(Pt 1):251-62. (2006)
Dietz DM, Curtis KS, Contreras RJ. Taste, salience, and increased NaCl ingestion after repeated sodium depletions. Chem Senses. 31(1):33-41. (2006) PDF
Breza JM, Curtis KS, Contreras RJ. Temperature modulates taste responsiveness and stimulates gustatory neurons in the rat geniculate ganglion. J Neurophysiol. 95(2):674-85. (2006) PDF
Curtis KS, Stratford JM, Contreras RJ. Estrogen increases the taste threshold for sucrose in rats. Physiol Behav. 86(3):281-6. (2005)
Curtis KS, Davis LM, Johnson AL, Therrien KL, Contreras RJ. Sex differences in behavioral taste responses to and ingestion of sucrose and NaCl solutions by rats. Physiol Behav. 80(5):657-64. (2004) PDF
Curtis KS, Krause EG, Wong DL, Contreras RJ. Gestational and early postnatal dietary NaCl levels affect NaCl intake, but not stimulated water intake, by adult rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 286(6):R1043-50. (2004) PDF