Psychology
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Jane M Flinn

Jane M Flinn

Jane M Flinn

Associate Professor

The role of metals in learning, including fear conditioning and Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Flinn’s research focuses on the role of metals in both behavior and physiology. Her research has emphasized the roles of zinc, copper and iron in learning and memory and also in macular degeneration. Her research currently focuses on two specific aspects of metals in behavior, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and the extinction of learned fears. Her lab is developing genetically modified mice which model late onset Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of the disease. In Alzheimer’s mice, increased zinc causes an impairment in memory, which may be due to decreased copper. Current studies are examining memory, affiliative behaviors and circadian rhythms and the role of inflammation and zinc transporters in AD mice. The work on extinction has shown that increased levels of zinc, which may act through reducing copper levels, lead to an inability to extinguish a learned fear normally, a possible factor in PTSD.

Dr. Flinn was the chair of the Department of Psychology from 1984 to 1995. During her tenure, the department was ranked as one of the most improved programs by the National Chronicle of Higher Education. After stepping down as chair, she became the coordinator of the biopsychology concentration and developed the concentration in biopsychology in the PhD in psychology. In 2006, she took over the newly approved undergraduate BS in neuroscience. The first students graduated in 2009, and there are now over 200 students in the program.

Professional Experience

Director Undergraduate Neuroscience Program 2006-present
Director Biopsychology Program 1995-2006
Chairman, Department of Psychology 1984-1995

Selected Publications

Thompson, R.B., Reffatto,V., Bundy, J.G., Flinn, J.M., Lanzirotti, A., Jones, A.E., McPhailg, D.S., Fearn, S., Boldtd, K.,Ueffingd, M., Ratub, S.S., Pauleikhoff, L., Bird, A.C., Lengyel, I. (2015) Identification of hydroxyapatite spherules provides new insight into sub-retinal pigment epithelial deposit formation in the aging eye.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A. 112(5):1565 – 70. 

Maguire L., Wanschura P.B., Battaglia M.M., Howell, S.N., Flinn, J.M.  (2014). Participation In Active Singing Over A 4-Month Period Leads To Cognitive Improvements In A Group of Patients with Dementia. J. Am. Geriatr. Soc. 63(4):815-6. 

Flinn, J.M., Bozzelli, P.L., Adlard, P.A., Railey, A.M. (2014). Spatial memory deficits in a mouse model of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease are caused by zinc supplementation and correlate with amyloid-beta levels. Frontiers in Aging.  2014, Oct 22; 6:74.  

Graybeal, J.J.,  BozzelliP.L.,  Graybeal, L.G., McKnightP.E.,  CoxD.N.,  (2014) FlinnJ.M. Human ApoE ε4 alters circadian rhythm activity, IL-1β and GFAP in CRND8 mice.  J. Alzheimers Dis. 2015; 43(3):823-34.  

Davidson, D., Chrosniak, L D., Wanschura, P. B Flinn, J.M.  (2014) Indications  of   Reduced Prefrontal Cortical Function in Chronically Homeless Adults. J. Comm. Ment. Hlth. 50:548-552. 

Flinn, J.M.,  Kakalec, P., Tappero, R., Jones,  B.J., Lengyel, L. (2014)  Correlations  in distribution and concentration of calcium, copper and iron with zinc in isolated extracellular deposits associated with age-related macular degeneration. Metallomics.  6 (7):  1223-1228.

Railey, A.M., Groeber, C.M., Flinn, J.M. (2011) The Effect of Metals on Spatial Memory in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease. J. Alzheimer’s Dis. 24(2) 375-381

Railey, A.M., Micheli, T.L.,Wanschura, P.B., Flinn, J.M. (2010). Alterations in fear response and spatial memory in pre- and post- natal zinc supplemented rats: remediation by copper. Physiology and Behavior. 100(2):95-100.

Linkous, D. H.. Adlard P.A., Wanschura P.B., Conko K.M. and Flinn J.M. (2009).The effects of enhanced zinc on spatial memory and plaque formation in transgenic mice. J, Alzheimer’s Disease. 18(3) 541-551.

Linkous, D.H., Flinn, J.M., Koh, J.Y., Lanzirotti, A., Bertsch, P., Jones, B.F., Fredrickson, C.J. (2008). Evidence that the ZNT-3 protein controls the total amount of elemental zinc in synaptic vesicles. J. Histochem. and Cytochem. 56(1):3-6.

Graybeal, J.J.,  Bozzelli, P.L.,  Graybeal, L.G.,  McKnight, P.E.,  Cox, D.N.,  Flinn, J.M. Human ApoE ε4 alters circadian rhythm activity, IL-1β and GFAP in CRND8 mice.   In press,  J . Alz Dis. 

Flinn, J.M.,  Bozzelli, P.L.,  Adlard,  P.A.,  Railey, A.M. Spatial memory deficits in a mouse model of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease are caused by zinc supplementation and correlate with amyloid-beta levels. In press,  Frontiers in Aging.

Participation In Active Singing Over A 4-Month Period Leads To Cognitive Improvements In A Group Of Patients With Dementia.  Maguire L., Wanschura P.B., Battaglia M.M., Howell .SN., Flinn J.M.  Accepted in J.Am. Gerontol Soc.

Davidson, D., Chrosniak, L D., Wanschura, P. B Flinn, J.M.  (2014) Indications of Reduced Prefrontal Cortical Function in Chronically Homeless Adults.  Journal of Community and Mental Health. 50:548-552

Flinn, J.M.,  Kakalec, P., Tappero, R., Jones,  B.J., Lengyel, L. (2014) Correlations in distribution and concentration of calcium, copper and iron with zinc in isolated extracellular deposits associated with age-related macular degeneration.  Cover article,  Metallomics.  6 (7):  1223-1228.

Expanded Publication List

Thompson, R.B., Reffatto, V., Bundy, J.G., Flinn, J.M., Lanzirotti, A. Jones, A.E., McPhailg, D..S., Fearn, S., Boldtd, K., M. Ueffingd, M., Ratub, S.S., Pauleikhoff, L., Bird, A.C., I. Lengyel I.(2015)  Identification of hydroxyapatite spherules provides new insight into sub-retinal pigment epithelial deposit formation in the aging eye. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A. 112(5):1565-70 

Maguire L., Wanschura P.B., Battaglia M.M., Howell, S.N., Flinn, J.M. (2014). Participation In Active Singing Over A 4-Month Period Leads To Cognitive Improvements In A Group Of Patients With Dementia. J. Am. Geriatr. Soc. 63(4):815-6 

Flinn, J.M., Bozzelli, P.L., Adlard, P.A., Railey, A.M. (2014) Spatial memory deficits in a mouse model of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease are caused by zinc supplementation and correlate with amyloid-beta levels. Frontiers in Aging. 2014, Oct 22; 6:74.

Graybeal, J.J., Bozzelli, P.L., Graybeal, L.G., McKnight, P.E., Cox, D.N., (2014) Flinn, J.M. Human ApoE ε4 alters circadian rhythm activity, IL-1β and GFAP in CRND8 mice. J. Alzheimers Dis. 2015;43(3):823-34.

Davidson, D., Chrosniak, L D., Wanschura, P. B Flinn, J.M. (2014) Indications of Reduced Prefrontal Cortical Function in Chronically Homeless Adults. J. Comm. Ment. Hlth. 50:548-552.

Flinn, J.M., Kakalec, P., Tappero, R., Jones, B.J., Lengyel, L. (2014) Correlations in distribution and concentration of calcium, copper and iron with zinc in isolated extracellular deposits associated with age-related macular degeneration. Metallomics. 6 (7): 1223-1228.

Railey, A.M., Groeber, C.M., Flinn, J.M. (2011) The Effect of Metals on Spatial Memory in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease. J. Alz. Dis. 24(2) 375-381

Railey, A.M., Micheli, T.L., Wanschura, P.B., Flinn, J.M. (2010) Alterations in fear response and spatial memory in pre- and post- natal zinc supplemented rats: remediation by copper. Physiol and Behav. 100(2):95-100.

Linkous, D. H.. Adlard P.A., Wanschura P.B., Conko K.M., Flinn J.M. (2009) The effects of enhanced zinc on spatial memory and plaque formation in transgenic mice. J. Alzheimer’s Disease. 18(3) 541-551.

Linkous, D.H., Flinn, J.M., Koh, J.Y., Lanzirotti, A., Bertsch, P., Jones, B.F., Fredrickson, C.J. (2008). Evidence that the ZNT-3 protein controls the total amount of elemental zinc in synaptic vesicles. J Histochem Cytochem. 56(1):3-6

McDonald, C.G., Butler, A.B., Joffe, C., Flinn, J.M. (2007) Abnormal flash visual evoked potentials in malnourished infants:  An evaluation using principal component analysis. Clinical Neurophysiology . 118(4):896-900, 2007

Lengyel, I., Flinn, J.M., Peto, T., Linkous, D.H., Cano, K., Bird, A.C., Lanzirotti, A., Frederickson, C.J., van Kuijk, F.G.G.M. (2007) High concentration of zinc in sub-retinal deposits. Experimental Eye Research. 84(4):772-80.

Jackson, B., Harper, S., Smith, L.N., Flinn, J.M. (2006) Elemental mapping and quantitative analysis of Cu, Zn, and Fe in rat brain sections by laser ablation ICP-MS. Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry. 384(4) 951-7. 2006.

Chrosniak, L.D., Smith, L.N., Flinn, J.M., McDonald, C., Jones, B.F. (2006) Effects of enhanced zinc and copper in drinking water on spatial memory and fear conditioning. J. Geochemical Exploration.88(1-3): 91-94.

Flinn, J.M., Hunter, D., Linkous, D.H., Lanzirotti, A., Smith, L., Brightwell, J.J., Jones, B.F. (2005) Enhanced zinc consumption causes memory deficits and increased brain levels of zinc. Physiology and Behavior. 83 (5) 793-803.

Marinkovic, N.S., Chance, M.R., Dokken, K.M., Davis, L.C., Linkous, D.H., Flinn, J.M. (2005) Synchrotron Infrared Specctroscopy at NSLS beamline U2B. American Laboratory. 23(1) 12-13.

Linkous, D.H., Smith, L.N., Conko, K.M., Jones, B.F., Flinn, J.M. (2004) Differential effects of zinc association in drinking waters on spatial memory. Metal Ions in Biology and Medicine. 8: 390-395

Chandhoke, M. Southall, J. M. Flinn.Dopamine Receptor Subtype Density, as Function of Age in Aplysia californica. (2001) Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology pt B 130: 461-466.

Flinn, J.M., Morvan, J., Jones, B.F. (2000) Enhanced Levels of Zinc in Drinking Water Adversely Affect Spatial Learning in Rats. Metal Ions in Biology and Medicine. 6:450-452.

J.M. Flinn C. Hong V. Chandhoke and R.W. Holt (1998) Serotonin Levels as a Function of Age in Aplysia californica. Invertebrate Neuroscience. 4 (1):253-260, 1998

M.D. Southall, J.M. Flinn, R.W. Holt, and V. Chandoke. (1997) Age Dependent Changes in Serotonin and Dopamine Receptors in Aplysia californica. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. 118C (2):137-141.

M. Flinn, A. B. Barnet, S. Lydick, J. Lackner. (1993) Infant Malnutrition Affects Cortical Auditory Evoked Potentials. Perceptual and Motor Skills 76: 1359-1362, 1993. 

Weiss, J. M. Flinn, and A. Barnet. (1985) Multiple Electrode Recordings from Severely Malnourished Infants. I Proceedings of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 7th Annual Conference. 401-403.

Multiple Electrode Recordings from Severely Malnourished Infants. I. Weiss, J. M. Flinn, and A. Barnet. Proceedings of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 7th Annual Conference. 401-403, 1985.

M. Flinn, A. Barnet, I. Weiss, R. Dicus, and A. D. Kirsch. (1983) The Use of Phase for Assessment of Brain Damage in Malnourished Infants. Proceedings of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 5th Annual Conference. 539-542. 

J. M. Flinn, A. Barnet, I. Weiss, R. Dicus, and A. D. Kirsch. (1983) The Use of Phase for Assessment of Brain Damage in Malnourished Infants Proceedings of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, 5th Annual Conference. 539-542.

M. Flinn, A. D. Kirsch, and E. A. Flinn, Correlations Between Frequency Components of the Visual Evoked Responses and Intelligence. (1977) J. Physiol Psych. 5 (1) 11- 15.

M. Flinn, P. B. Gupta, and T. A. Litovitz. (1974). Mechanism of Ultrasonic Absorption in the Binary Liquid System Lead-Bismuth, Journal of Chemical Physics 60 (11) 4390-4395.

M. Flinn, J. Jarzynski, and T. A. Litovitz. (1971) Mechanism of Volume Viscosity in Molten Bismuth and Lead, Journal of Chemical Physics 54 (10): 4330-4340.

Courses Taught

PSYC 376 Brain and Behavior

PSYC 472 Biological bases of Alzheimer’s Disease

PSYC 558 Neuronal Bases of Learning and Memory

Education

George Washington University Ph.D. Psychology 1974 
Catholic University of America Ph.D. Physics   1969
University of California at Los Angeles M.Sc. Physics      1962
Oxford University B.A.Physics 1960

Recent Presentations

Increased zinc levels in 129S1 inbred mouse strain as seen through x-ray spectroscopy. Groeber, C.M., Tappero, R., Flinn, J.M.

Infared and X-Ray Spectroscopy: Colocalization of Metals and Protein Conformations in Alzheimer’s Plaques. Flinn, J.M., Koscho, J., Gideons, E., Groeber, C.M., Railey, A., Bohon, J.

The effects of supplemented zinc on the extinction of conditioned fear in older rats. Knaack, G.L. Perez-Casillas T. J. Micheli, T. L., Brown E. T., Erchov, S. C., Lim, Y. B. Flinn, J. M.

In the Media

Honors and Awards

University Undergraduate Mentoring Award 2015
Distinguished Faculty Award, George Mason University 1990, 1983
English-Speaking Union Fellow, University of California       1960-1962
City of Birmingham Scholarship 1957-1960

Research Grants Awarded

Principal Investigator (Since 2000)

Behavioral and inflammatory changes in a mouse model of late onset Alzheimer's disease. PI; co PIs, Natalia Peixoto, Dan Cox. $40,000, Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Fund. (ARDRAF) Virginia.

Brookhaven National labs, General User Agreement for X27A and X26A beamlines,2010-2013. An examination of the role of zinc and other metals in Alzheimer’s disease, macular degeneration, and 129 mice.

Brookhaven National labs, General User Agreement for X27A beamline, 2007-2009. An examination of the role of zinc and other metals in Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration.

Brookhaven National Labs 2001-02 (General User Agreement for X26A beamline, renewed 2003-07, An examination of the role of zinc and other metals in memory and Alzheimer’s disease.

Brookhaven National labs, General User Agreement for U2B beamline, 2007-2009. An examination of the effect of metals on amyloid conformation in a mouse model oF Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Fund 2005 (ARDRAF): $25,000. The Effect of Zinc and Iron in Drinking Water on Memory, Amyloid Configuration and Plaque Development in Transgenic Mice.

United States Geological Survey, The effect on Learning and Memory of High Zinc Levels in Drinking Water. 2001, $10,000: 2000, $11,000: 1997, $11,000.

Dissertations Supervised

Caitlin M. Groeber, An Investigation into the Role of Iron, Copper, and Gender in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease (2013)

Stefanie N. Howell, A Longitudinal Investigation into the Effects of Zn and Cu on Spatial Learning/memory and Social Preference in a Mouse Model of LOAD (2016)