Cognitive Disorders Research Laboratory

The Cognitive Disorders Research Laboratory (CDRL) is located in the Department of Neurosciences at the University of Toledo Medical Center. The mission of the CDRL is to explore the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders with marked cognitive deficits. The laboratory is currently focused on testing specific hypotheses related to schizophrenia and traumatic brain injury. We hypothesize that changes in glutamate reuptake are altered in both of these illnesses, reflecting abnormalities of the expression, localization, and function of glutamate transporters. Robert Smith, MD/PhD Director of the CDRL and Chir of the Department of Neurosciences (effective 8-1-2018), is a board certified psychiatrist who will see patients at the University of Toledo in the Department of Psychiatry. The overarching goal of the CDRL is to ask and answer the largest possible questions in translational neuroscience, using a combination of human postmortem brain tissues and animal models to test specific hypotheses related to the pathophysiology of disease.


Robert Smith, MD, PhD

Professor and Chair
Director, Cognitive Disorders Research Laboratory

Dr. McCullumsmith studied biochemistry (BS) at Indiana University, then pursued joint MD, PhD degrees at the University of Michigan. Following a research-track residency in Psychiatry at the University of Michigan, he joined the faculty and began to study abnormalities of glutamate transporter expression in severe mental illness. Dr. McCullumsmith was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure while at the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobiology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. He relocated to the University of Cincinnati in 2013 where he served as the Associate Vice Chair for Translational Research at UC and the Medical Director of the Outpatient Mental health Division at the Cincinnati VAMC. In 2017 he was promoted to full Professor with tenure. Dr. McCullumsmith and his team are relocating to the University of Toledo Medical Center in August of 2018, where he will serve are the Chair of the Department of Neurosciences, as well as the Research Director of the Neurosciences Institute at UTMC.

Sinead O'Donovan, PhD

Research Assistant Professor
Director of Translational studies, Cognitive Disorders Research Laboratory

Sinead received her undergraduate degree in Neurosciences from Trinity College, the University of Dublin, Ireland.  She conducted her PhD thesis, "The Molecular, Cellular and Behavioral Effects of Electroconvulsive Stimulation in the Rodent," with the Neurobiology of Depression research group in the Depat. of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin.  This project examined the effects of electroconvulsive stimulation on rat hippocampal and frontal cortex proteomes.  It also established a novel animal model of ECS administration, ultra-brief pulse stimulation, to aid in studying the parameters of this treatment for severe depression.  In 2014, Sinead joined the McCullumsmith laboratory in the Dept. of Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati as a postdoctoral fellow, continuing her work in translational neuroscience.  This research focused on abnormalities of glutamate transporters (EAAT2) in schizophrenia, using postmortem tissue.  It also highlighted the necessity of examining cell-specific and subcellular-level alterations in molecular systems in severe mental illness.  Using methods such as laser capture microdissection, significant, cell-subtype specific changes in EAAT2 and it's splice variants, particularly EAAT2b, were identified in corticothalamic regions in schizophrenia.  In addition, she is interested in the aberrant metabolism of the adenosine system in disease.  Adenosine modulates the glutamate and dopamine neurotransmitter systems which are dysregulated in schizophrenia and contribute to the positive, negative and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia.  In Summer 2018, Sinead will take up a position of Research Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Neurosciences at The University of Toledo, continuing her research in dysregulated molecular mechanisms of severe mental illness.

Emily Devine, BS

Research Associate
Manager, Cognitive Disorders Research Laboratory

Emily earned a BS in neurobiology from the University of Cincinnati in 2016.  During her undergraduate career, she spent two years researching Parkinson's disease where she analyzed ultrasonic vocalizations in rat models as a way to study dysarthria and cognitive function during disease progression.  Emily joined the Cognitive Disorders Research Laboratory in September 2016 and quickly became the lead laser capture microdissection technician, using this technique along with QPCR to explore glutamate transported expression in schizophrenia.  In the summer of 2018, Emily will relocate to the University of Toledo Medical Center in August of 2018 where she continue her work with the laboratory. 



Sullivan CR, Koene RH, Hasselfeld K, O'Donovan SM, Ramsey A, McCullumsmith RE. (2018) Neuron-specific deficits of bioenergetic processes in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia. Mol Psychiatry, Epub ahead of print.

O'Donovan SM, Sullivan C, Koene R, Devine E, Hasselfeld K, Moody CL, McCullumsmith RE. (2018) Cell-subtype specific changes in adenosine pathways in schizophrenia. Neuropsychopharmacology, Epub ahead of print.

Sullivan CR, O'Donovan SM, McCullumsmith RE, Ramsey A. (2018) Defects in bioenergetics coupling in schizophrenia. Biol Psychiatry, 83(9):739-750.

O'Donovan SM, Sullivan CR, McCullumsmith RE. (2018) The role of glutamate transporters in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders. NPJ Schizophr, 3(1):32.


McGuire JL, Depasquale EA, Funk AJ, O'Donnovan SM, Hasselfeld K, Marwaha S, Hammond JH, Hartounian V, Meador-Woodruff JH, Meller J, McCullumsmith RE. (2017) Abnormalities of signal transduction networks in chronic schizophrenia. NPJ Schizophr, 3(1):30.

LaCrosse AL, O'Donovan SM, Sepulveda-Orengo MT, McCullumsmith RE, Reissner KJ, Schwendt M, Knackstedt LA. (2017) Contrasting the role of xCT and GLT-1 upregulation in the ability of ceftriaxone to attenuate the cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking and normalize AMPA receptor subunit expression. J Neurosci. 37(24):5809-5821.

Funk AJ, Mielnik CA, Koene R, Newburn E, Ramsey AJ, Lipska BK, McCullumsmith RE. (2017) Postsynaptic density-95 isoform abnormalities in schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull. 43 (4): 891-899.

Dorsett CR, McGuire JL, DePasquale EA, Gardner AE, Floyd CL, McCullumsmith RE. (2017) Glutamate neurotransmission in rodent models of traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma.34(2):263-272.

Dorsett CR, McGuire JL, Niedzielko TL, DePasquale EA, Meller J, Floyd CL, McCullumsmith RE. (2017). Traumatic brain injury induces alterations in cortical glutamate uptake without a reduction in glutamate transporter-1 protein expression. J Neurotrauma.34(1):220-234.


McCollum LA, McCullumsmith RE, Roberts RC. (2016) Tyrosine hydroxylase localization in the nucleus accumbens in schizophrenia. Brain Struct Funct.221(9):4451-4458.

Pinner AL, Tucholski J, Haroutunian V, McCullumsmith RE, Meador-Woodruff JH. (2016) Decreased protein S-palmitoylation in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res.177(1-3):78-87.

McMeekin LJ, Lucas EK, Meador-Woodruff JH, McCullumsmith RE, Hendrickson RC, Gamble KL, Cowell RM. (2016) Cortical PGC-1α-dependent transcripts are reduced in postmortem tissue from patients with schizophrenia. Schizophr Bull. 42(4):1009-17.

McCullumsmith RE, O'Donovan SM, Drummond JB, Benesh FS, Simmons M, Roberts R, Lauriat T, Haroutunian V, Meador-Woodruff JH. (2016) Shaping plasticity: Alterations in glutamate transporter localization as a pathophysiological mechanism in severe mental illness. Mol Psychiatry.21(6):723.

McCullumsmith RE, O'Donovan SM, Drummond JB, Benesh FS, Simmons M, Roberts R, Lauriat T, Haroutunian V, Meador-Woodruff JH. (2016) Cell-specific abnormalities of glutamate transporters in schizophrenia: sick astrocytes and compensating relay neurons? Mol Psychiatry 21(6):823-30.

Dean B, Gibbons AS, Boer S, Uezato A, Meador-Woodruff J, Scarr E, McCullumsmith RE. (2016) Changes in cortical N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and post-synaptic density protein 95 in schizophrenia, mood disorders and suicide. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 50(3):275-83.

Heaven MR, Funk AJ, Cobbs AL, Haffey WD, Norris JL, McCullumsmith RE, Greis KD. (2016) Systematic evaluation of data-independent acquisition for sensitive and reproducible proteomics-a prototype design for a single injection assay. J Mass Spectrom.51(1):1-11.

Latest News

The Cognitive Disorders Research Laboratory relocated

The Cognitive Disorders Research Laboratory (CDRL) is relocated from the University of Cincinnati to the University of Toledo Medical Center in August of 2018. The CDRL director, Dr. Robert Smith, serves as the Chair of the Neurosciences Department at UTMC, where the CDRL is located.

Job Postings for the Cognitive Disorders Research Laboratory

The Cognitive Disorders Research Laboratory (CDRL) is looking to hire Postdoctoral fellows and laboratory assistants. 

Find more information on the UToledo Jobs Website


The following positions are located under the staff tab.  Please search by their posting number:

#39469 (Postdoc- E-Phys)
#39451 (Postdoc- Bioinformatics)
#39449 (Postdoc- Kinomics)
#39467 (Postdoc- Proteomics)
#39470 (Lab Research Tech)

Last Updated: 6/27/22