The University of Texas at Dallas School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Catherine A. Thorn

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Synaptic and circuit dynamics underlying basal ganglia dependent motor learning & habit formation; coordination of multiple memory systems

Curriculum Vitae


Email: [email protected]
Phone: 972-883-7234
Office: BSB_13.331
Campus Mail Code: BSB 14
Website: Motor and Habit Learning Lab


Dr. Thorn’s research examines how learning-related changes in neural activity within the cortex and basal ganglia support memory encoding and behavioral performance improvement. Her work is particularly focused on understanding the synaptic mechanisms underlying neural dynamics and cross-structure communication, both within cortico-basal ganglia loops and across competing learning and memory systems. Her lab uses in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology combined with optogenetics, pharmacology and rodent behavior to characterize learning-related neural activity at multiple levels of investigation — from single synapses to behaving animal. Dr. Thorn earned her bachelor’s degree from Georgia Tech and master’s and doctoral degrees from MIT.

Recent and Selected Representative Publications

Recent Articles in Peer-Refereed Journals

Lebois, E.P., Thorn, C.A., Edgerton, J.R., Popiolek, M., Xi, S. (2017) Muscarinic receptor subtype distribution in the central nervous system and relevance to aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropharmacology. Review.

Davoren et al. (2017) Design and synthesis of γ- and δ-lactam M1 positive allosteric modulators (PAMs): Convulsion and cholinergic toxicity of an M1-selective PAM with weak agonist activity. J Med Chem.

Thorn C.A., Popiolek M., Stark E., Volfson D., Edgerton, J.R. (2017) Differential effects of M1 and M4 activation on excitatory synaptic transmission in hippocampus CA1. Hippocampus.

Sherman, M.A., Lee, S., Law, R., Haegens, S., Thorn, C.A., Hamalainen, M.S., Moore, C.I., Jones, S.R. (2016) Neural mechanisms of transient neocortical beta rhythms: Converging evidence from humans, computational modeling, monkeys and mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA.

Thorn C.A., Graybiel, A.M. (2014) Differential entrainment and learning-related dynamics of spike and local field potential activity in the densorimotor and associative striatum. J. Neurosci.