Theodore Constantine Dumas

Theodore Constantine Dumas

Theodore Constantine Dumas

Associate Professor

Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience: Neural substrates of memory, neural and cognitive development, stress and behavioral control, real-time brain activity focus in a multidisciplinary setting

Ted Dumas is an Associate Professor of Psychology who balances education and research to discover novel relationships between neural network activities and cognitive abilities and disseminate knowledge to students of all ages. Dr. Dumas received his B.S. degree at the University of Connecticut and double majored in Physiology and Neurobiology (Life Sciences Dept.) and Psychology. Having found his career niche in basic research, he then attended the University of Virginia where he earned his first individual NIH fellowship and received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program in the Department of Psychology. He then moved across the country to work as an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Robert Sapolsky at Stanford University focusing on gene therapy techniques designed to prevent and promote recovery from brain injury. His second postdoctoral fellowship was at the University of Oregon with Dr. Clifford Kentros where he contributed to a large effort to produce novel transgenic mouse lines for the study of learning and memory. Dr. Dumas also delivers 6-hour continuing education seminars for health professionals on a national circuit and is heavily involved in engaging undergraduate and secondary school students in state-of-the art neuroscience. His laboratory has been funded by the Department of Defense, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Institutes of Health.

Current Research

Late postnatal emergence of spatial learning and memory (AMPA and NMDA receptors), real-time neural network activity in relation to spatial navigation (electrophysiological and optical recording in vivo), behavioral and neural regulation of the transition from attentive to automatic task performance, early life stress and adult cognitive ability, tardigrades as a model to understand the necessity for ongoing metabolism in memory storage, human spatial navigation tracking app development.

Selected Publications

McHail, D.G., Dumas, T.C. (2020) Hippocampal gamma rhythms during Y-maze navigation in the juvenile rat. Hippocampus. 30(5):505-525.

Zhou, S., DeFranco, J.P., Blaha, N.T., Dwivedy, P., Culver, A., Nallamala, H., Chelluri, S., Dumas, T.C. (2019) Aversive conditioning in the tardigrade, Dactylobiotus dispar. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition. 45(4):405-412.

Keith, R.E., Azcarate, J.M., Keith, M.J., Hung, C.W., Badakhsh, M.F., Dumas, T.C. (2018) Direct intracellular signaling by the carboxy terminus of NMDA receptor GluN2 subunits regulates dendritic morphology in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. Neuroscience. 396:138-153.

Valibeigi N., McHail D.G., Carmen L. Kimball C.L., Dumas T.C. Barnes Maze Testing in Juvenile Rats. (2018) Bio-protocol. 8(22):1-12.

Dumas, T.C., Uttaro, M.R., Barriga, C., Brinkley, T., Halavi, M., Wright, S.N., Ferrante M., Evans, R.C., Hawes, S.L., Sanders, E.M. (2018) Removal of area CA3 from hippocampal slices induces postsynaptic plasticity at Schaffer collateral synapses that normalizes CA1 pyramidal cell discharge. Neuroscience Letters. 678:55-61.

Sanders, E.M., Nyarko-Odoom, A.O., Zhou, K.C., Nguyen, M.A., Liao, H.H., Keith, M., Pyon, J., Kozma, A., Sanyal, M., McHail, D.G., Dumas T.C. (2018) Separate functional properties of NMDARs regulate distinct aspects of spatial cognition. Learn. Mem. In press.

McHail, D.G., Valibeigi, N., Dumas, T.C. (2018) Barnes maze for juvenile rats delineates the emergence of spatial navigation ability. Learn. Mem. 25(3):138-146.

Stoneham ET, McHail DG, Boggs KN, Albani SH, Carty JA, Evans RC, Hamilton KA, Saadat VM, Hussain S, Greer ME, Dumas TC. (2017) Functional perturbation of forebrain principal neurons reveals differential effects in novel and well-learned tasks. Brain Res. 1671:1-13.

Simon DM, Charkhkar H, St John C, Rajendran S, Kang T, Reit R, Arreaga-Salas D, McHail DG, Knaack GL, Sloan A, Grasse D, Dumas TC, Rennaker RL, Pancrazio JJ, Voit WE. (2017) Design and demonstration of an intracortical probe technology with tunable modulus. J. Biomed. Mater. Res. A. 105(1):159-168.

Knaack, G.L., McHail, D.G., Borda, G., Beom, S.K., Peixoto, N., Cogan, S.F., Dumas, T.C., Pancrazio, J.J. (2016) In vivo Characterization of Amorphous Silicon Carbide as a Biomaterial for Chronic Neural Interfaces. Front. Neurosci. Neural Tech. 10:301.

Gardner, R.S., Uttaro, M.R., Fleming, S.E., Suarez, D.F., Ascoli, G.A., Dumas, T.C. (2016) Differential Arc expression in the hippocampus and striatum during the transition from attentive to automatic navigation on a plus maze. Neurobiol. Learn. Mem. 131:36-45.

Charkhkar, H., Knaack, G.L., McHail, D.G., Mandal, H.S., Peixoto, N., Rubinson, J.F., Dumas, T.C., Pancrazio, J.J. (2016) Chronic intracortical neural recordings using microelectrode arrays coated with PEDOT-TFB. Acta Biomaterialia. 32:57-67.

Hawes, S.L., Evans, R.C., Unruh, B.A., Benkert, E.E., Gillani, F., Dumas, T.C., Blackwell, K.T. (2015) Multimodal Plasticity in Dorsal Striatum While Learning a Lateralized Navigation Task. J. Neurosci. 35(29):10535-49.

Albani, S.H., Andrawis, M.M, Abella, R.J., Fulghum, J., Vafamand, N., Dumas, T.C. (2015) Behavior in the elevated plus maze is differentially affected by testing conditions in rats under and over three weeks of age. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 9:31.

Mandal, H.S., Kastee, J., McHail, D.G., Rubinson, J.F., Pancrazio, J.J., Dumas, T.C. (2015) Improved Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) for neural stimulation. Neuromodulation. 18(8):657-63.

McHail, D.G. and Dumas, T.C. (2015) Multiple forms of metaplasticity at a single hippocampal synapse during late postnatal development. Dev. Cog. Neurosci. 12:145-154.

Mandal, H.S., Kastee, J., McHail, D.G., Rubinson, J.F., Pancrazio, J.J., Dumas, T.C. (2015) Improved Poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) for neural stimulation. Neuromodulation. 18:657-663.

*Albani, S.H., *McHail, D.G., Dumas, T.C. (2014) Developmental studies of the hippocampus and hippocampal-dependent behaviors: Insights from interdisciplinary studies and tips for new investigators. (*authors contributed equally) Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 43C:183-190.

Mandal, H.S., Knaack, G.L., Charkhkar, H., McHail, D.G., Kastee, J., Dumas, T.C., Peixoto, N., Rubinson, J.F., Pancrazio, J.J. (2014) Improving the performance of poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) for brain machine interface applications. Acta Biomaterialia, 10:2446-2454.

Gardner, R.S., Uttaro, M.R., Fleming, S.E., Suarez, D.F., Ascoli, G.A., Dumas, T.C.  (2013) A secondary working memory challenge preserves primary place strategies despite over-training. Learn. Mem. 20(11):648-56

*Blair, M.G., *Nguyen, N.N-Q., Albani, S.H., L'Etoile, M.M., Andrawis M.M., Owen, L.M., Oliveira, R.F., Johnson, M.W., Purvis, D.L., Sanders, E.M., Stoneham, E.T., Dumas, T.C. (2013) Developmental changes in structural and functional properties of hippocampal AMPA receptors parallels the emergence of deliberative spatial navigation in juvenile rats (*authors contributed equally). J. Neurosci. 33:12218-28.

Sanders, E.M., Nguyen, M.A., Zhou, K.C., Hanks, M.E., Yusuf, K.A., Cox, D.N., & Dumas T.C. (2013) Developmental modification of synaptic NMDAR composition and maturation of glutamatergic synapses: Matching postsynaptic slots with receptor pegs. Biol. Bull. 224:1-13.

Dumas, T.C. (2012) Postnatal alterations in induction threshold and expression magnitude of long-term potentiation and long-term depression at hippocampal synapses. Hippocampus. 22:188-99.

Dumas, T.C., Gillette, T., Ferguson, D., Hamilton, K. & Sapolsky, R.M. (2010) Anti-glucocorticoid gene therapy reverses the impairing effects of elevated corticosterone on spatial memory, hippocampal neuronal excitability, and synaptic plasticity. J. Neurosci. 30:1712-1720.

Stoneham, E.M., Sanders, E.M., Sanyal, M., & Dumas, T.C. (2010) Late postnatal maturation of long-lasting activity-dependent synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. Biol. Bull. 219:81-99.

Expanded Publication List

Dumas, T.C., (2020) If Food Could Talk: Stories from Thirteen Precious Foods Endangered by Climate Change, Koehler Books. ISBN 978-1-64663-237-4

Grants and Fellowships




Thomas and Kate Miller Jeffress Memorial Trust Fund

4-VA Initiative

American Housing Foundation

CHSS Faculty Research Development Award

Courses Taught

NEUR592, NEUR621 -  Synaptic Plasticity

The formal concept of a functionally related change in synaptic transmission is not new and can be traced back at least to the first half of the 1900s (Hebb, 1949). Since the discoveries of experience-induced cortical changes in developing cats (Hubel and Weisel, 1965) and electrically evoked potentiation of synaptic transmission in rabbits in 1973 (Bliss and Lomo, Bliss and Gardner-Medwin, 1973), the study of synaptic plasticity has grown exponentially and has been implicated both in normal brain function and pathological conditions. In this course, we focus on the mechanisms that support activity-dependent synaptic plasticity and how it relates it to normal brain function and development. Later in the semester, we talk about how dysregulation of synaptic plasticity is implicated in pain, addiction, and memory loss in aging.

NEUR701 -  Neurophysiology Laboratory

This is a physiology laboratory course that meets once per week for a 6-hour session. The goal is for you to learn basic laboratory techniques that are used in contemporary physiological neuroscience. Additionally, you will perform anatomical experiments to correlate function with structure and assess behavior. You will be required to perform the experiments successfully, keep notes, and write a paper with corresponding grades for each dimension of the research. I will provide as little oversight as possible and there will be numerous experiments that are not prefaced by demonstrations. Thus, you will learn by performing the experiments yourselves and by working as a group to come up with solutions to problems. While primarily a neurophysiology lab, you will also perform anatomical and behavioral experiments.

NEUR327, BENG327 -  Cellular, Neurophysiological, and Pharmacological Neuroscience

This is a core neuroscience course. At the end of the course, students will understand basic concepts of cellular and physiological neuroscience. Much of the context for the course will be neuropharmacology in so far as drugs have been effective in elucidating the cell biology of individual neurons and functional activity of brain circuits. The scope of the course will include an in depth survey of neuronal properties, including cellular anatomy and membrane function, electrical properties of neurons, intracellular and intercellular signaling, and synaptic plasticity.

PSYC460, PSYC 461, NEUR689 -  Special Topics in Neuroscience

PSYC559, NEUR592 - Behavioral Chemistry

This is a basic course on the neuroscience of behavior. At the end of the course, students will understand basic concepts of cellular and physiological neuroscience and with examples of how they relate to behavior, cognition, and affect. Some of the course content will be neuropharmacology in so far as drugs have been effective in elucidating the how individual neurons work and the functional activity of brain circuits. As shown by the Nobel work by Eric Kandel, John O’Keefe and Edvard and May-Britt Moser, physiology is key to understanding how neural circuits produces thought and behavior. The scope of the course will include an in depth survey of neuronal properties, including cellular anatomy, electrical properties of neurons, intracellular and intercellular signaling, and synaptic plasticity followed by a more holistic view of behavior based on neuropsychiatric disorders and treatments.

PSYC592, NEUR461 - Neuronal Aspects of Cognitive Development

This is a basic course on relationships between brain and cognitive development. At the end of the course, students will understand basic concepts of neuron and neuronal circuit maturation that enable complex cognitive abilities in humans and animal models. This course is student presentation based and highly interactive. After a few instructor lectures to set the context, each student takes one class period to present a PowerPoint presentation on a pertinent topic.

PSYC461, NEUR592 - Animal Behavior

This 3-credit course will explore human and non-human animal cognition from evolutionary and behavioral perspectives. In addition to the required text (Animal Cognition), students will read peer-reviewed articles to get a more accurate perspective of the cognitive abilities that are shared by disparate species and those that are particular to a given animal. 

UNIV495 - Undergraduate Research Scholars Program


B.S. University of Connecticut (Physiology and Neurobiology; Psychology)

M.S. University of Virginia (Physiological Psychology)

Ph.D. University of Virginia (Physiological Psychology)

Recent Presentations

Stress-related Disorders (sponsored by the Institute for Brain Potential); Jamestown, NY; Erie, PA; Pittsburgh, PA

Stress-related Disorders Live Webinar from George Mason University (sponsored by the Institute for Brain Potential)

Calming an Overactive Mind (sponsored by the Institute for Brain Potential); Asheville, NC; Fayetteville, NC; Greenville, NC; Wilmington, NC; Newport News, VA; Richmond, VA; Charlottesville, VA; Lynchburg, VA; Roanoke, VA; Aberdeen, MD; Silver Spring, MD;  Waldorf, MD;  Annapolis, MD;  Salisbury, MD.

In the Media

"Buried Alive in Arlington" (Scientific Contributor), The Alexandria Gazette, 04/10/2017