Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Caitlin Orsini

Assistant ProfessorPh.D., University of Michigan

Caitlin Orsini



neuroendocrinology, decision making and executive function, substance use, long term impact of stress on behavior and the brain


I received my B.S. in Psychology with a Behavioral Neuroscience concentration from Washington College in Chestertown, MD, after which I began my graduate training in the Biopsychology area of the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. During my graduate training, my research centered on elucidating the neural circuitry that mediates the persistence of fear memories after extinction learning, with a particular focus on interactions between the basolateral amygdala, ventral hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. After receiving my M.S. and PhD. at the University of Michigan, I began a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Florida where I explored whether these same circuits involved in pathological fear are also recruited during active choice behaviors and whether similar dysfunction in these structures and pathways underlies maladaptive decision making associated with substance use. As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at UT Austin, my research uses animal models to continue my focus on uncovering how neural mechanisms, at both a cellular and a systems level, that normally govern adaptive decision making become compromised in pathological conditions including substance use and post-traumatic stress disorders. In addition, my lab tackles the question as to how gonadal hormones regulate different forms of decision making and whether dysfunction in this regulation also contributes to deficits in decision making in psychiatric diseases.

Dr. Orsini is currently seeking undergraduate students who are interested in gaining neuroscience research experience.


PSY 394P • Curr Tpcs In Beh Neurosci-Wb

41644 • Fall 2020
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM

Current Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience. Brain-behavior relationships, particularly recent research in behavioral neuroscience, including the anatomical and neurochemical mechanisms of behavioral events, and behavioral influences on the brain. Offered on the credit/no credit basis only. Neuroscience 394P (Topic 1: Current Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience) and Psychology 394P (Topic 1) may not both be counted.

PSY 353K • Psychopharmacology

41680 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM UTC 3.122

The pharmacology and the neurochemical, neurophysiological, and psychological effects of psychoactive drugs, with regard to their use as therapeutic and behavioral research tools. Three lecture hours a week for one semester. Prerequisite: For psychology majors, upper-division standing and Psychology 301 and 418 with a grade of at least C in each; for nonmajors, upper-division standing, Psychology 301 with a grade of at least C, and one of the following with a grade of at least C: Biology 318M, Civil Engineering 311S, Economics 329, Educational Psychology 371, Electrical Engineering 351K, Government 350K, Mathematics 316, 362K, Mechanical Engineering 335, Psychology 317, Sociology 317L, Social Work 318, Statistics 309, Statistics and Scientific Computation 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 318.

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    The University of Texas at Austin
    SEA 4.208
    108 E. Dean Keeton Stop A8000
    Austin, TX 78712-1043