Dr. Kaliris Salas-Ramirez joined the faculty at the CUNY School of Medicine/ Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education in August of 2011. She has a standing collaboration with Dr. Christian Nelson at Memorial Sloan-Kettering that looks at exercise as a potential intervention for cognitive decline after prostate cancer. This work is funded under the CCNY/MSK Partnership to study cancer and health disparities.
Dr. Salas-Ramirez’s research interests are to understand how drugs of abuse impact the brain at different times of development. Her doctoral dissertation focused on studying how the adolescent brain is different than the adult brain by looking at the immediate and long-term effects of anabolic steroids on social behaviors and neurogenesis in a rodent model. These studies determined that the adolescent brain is more vulnerable to the long-lasting effects of steroids by showing a marked increase in aggressive behaviors in adulthood after adolescent exposure. Her work as a post doc at Sophie Davis extended that work by looking at prenatal, adolescent and adult cocaine exposure and its effects on adult cognition. This work has established that cocaine exposure during prenatal and adolescent development causes long-term cognitive deficits in adult rodents. In addition, another component of her work is to understand sex differences after cocaine exposure. Current and future projects are focused on investigating the mechanisms by which cocaine impacts neural plasticity, that in turn can impact behavior.