I am a behavioral neuroscientist with basic research interests in the neurobiology of cognition and applied interests in neurodegenerative movement disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease as well as neurodevelopmental disorders like autism spectrum disorder. I earned a B.A. in Psychology from Mercyhurst University and a Ph.D. in Cognition and Neural Science from the University of Utah. I was a postdoctoral fellow at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology prior to coming to St. Lawrence University in 2005. I regularly teach courses in Introductory Psychology, Introduction to Biological Psychology, and Animal Behavior with lab, as well as seminars in Behavioral Neuroscience and Human Neuropsychology. Recently, I taught a Neuroscience of Fear summer course in Rome, Italy. My research uses targeted brain manipulations in rodents to understand the function of neuroanatomical areas like the hippocampus and basal ganglia in spatial, temporal, and motor behaviors. Lately, my students and I have been focusd on using different types of rat and mouse models of human neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders to assess the effectiveness of custom designed anti-oxidant nanoparticles in protecting against the motor and cognitive decline characteristic of those conditions. I have recently served the university as secretary of Faculty Council and currently am a member of the Institutional Strategy and Assessment Committee.
*denotes undergraduate student author
Heckman K.L., Estevez A.Y., DeCoteau W.E., *Vangellow S., *Ribeiro S., *Chiarenzelli J., Hays-Erlichman B., and Erlichman J.S., Variable in Vivo and in Vitro Biological Effects of Cerium Oxide Nanoparticle Formulations. Frontiers in Pharmacology. 2020. 10: 1599. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2019.01599, 2020.
DeCoteau, W.E., Heckman, K.L., Estevez, A.Y., Reed, K.J., Costanzo, W., Sandford, D., *Studlack, P., *Clauss, J., *Nichols, E., *Lipps J., *Parker, M., Hays-Erlichman, B., Leiter, J.C., and Erlichman, J.S., Cerium oxide nanoparticles with antioxidant properties ameliorate strength and prolong life in mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Nanomedicine. 2016; 12: 2311-2320.
Estevez A.Y., DeCoteau W.E., Heckman, K.L., and Erlichman, J.S. (2015). Toward a synthetic view of the therapeutic use of cerium oxide nanoparticles for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders. In Oxidative Stress: Diagnostics, Prevention, and Therapy Volume 2. (Vol. 1200, pp. 431-461). (ACS Symposium Series; Vol. 1200). American Chemical Society.
Heckman, K.L., DeCoteau, W.E., Estevez, A.Y., Reed, K.J., Costanzo, W., Sanford, D., Leiter, J.C., *Clauss, J., *Knapp, K., *Gomez, C., *Mullen, P., *Rathbun, E., *Prime, K., *Marini, J., *Patchefsky, J., Patchevsky, A.S., Hailstone, R.K., and Erlichman J.S., Custom Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles Protect Against a Free Radical Mediated Autoimmune Degenerative Disease in the Brain. ACS Nano, 2014; 7: 10582–10596.
For a complete list of Dr. DeCoteau’s publications on PubMed click here.