Christopher K. Cain, Ph.D.

Christopher K. Cain, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
Emotional Brain Institute

Christopher Cain received his BA in Neuroscience & Behavior from Wesleyan University in Middletown CT in 1995. Following that, he worked in the Behavioral Pharmacology departments of CytoTherapeutics Inc. (Providence, RI) and Neurogen Corporation (Branford, CT) for two years each. These positions mainly entailed testing novel drugs designed to treat pain, anxiety and memory impairments. In 2004, he received his PhD from UCLA’s Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, where he studied fear extinction with Dr. Mark Barad. In 2010, Dr. Cain completed his training as a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Joseph LeDoux’s laboratory at NYU’s Center for Neural Science, where he studied a number of avoidance-related learning phenomena. Dr. Cain currently has a lab at the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research and is a Research Associate Professor at the NYU School of Medicine (Child & Adolescent Psychiatry).

  • Cota-Robles Fellow, Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, UCLA, 1999
  • Pre-doctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award (F31 MH065809), NIMH, 2002-2004
  • Samuel Eiduson Student Lecturer, Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, UCLA, 2003
  • Post-doctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award (F32 MH077458), NIMH, 2006-2009
  • NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Award (R21 MH097125), NIMH, 2012-2015
  • Brain circuits of outcome-dependent vs. habitual avoidance (R01 MH114931), NIMH, 2017-2022

Select Publications

  • Cain CK. Beyond Fear, Extinction, and Freezing: Strategies for Improving the Translational Value of Animal Conditioning Research. Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2023 Aug 3. PubMed PMID: 37532965.

  • Laughlin LC, Moloney DM, Samels SB, Sears RM, Cain CK. Reducing shock imminence eliminates poor avoidance in rats. Learn Mem. 2020 Jul;27(7):270-274. PubMed PMID: 32540916.

  • Cain CK. 2019. Avoidance problems reconsidered. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences 26: 9-17.

  • McCue MG, LeDoux JE, Cain CK. 2014. Medial amygdala lesions selectively block aversive pavlovian-instrumental transfer in rats. Front Behav Neurosci 8: 329.

  • Cain CK, Sullivan GM, LeDoux JE. 2013. The Neurobiology of Fear and Anxiety: Contributions of Animal Models to Current Understanding. In Neurobiology of Mental Illness,  (ed. DS Charney, JD Buxbaum, P Sklar, EJ Nestler). Oxford University Press, New York.

  • Lazaro-Munoz G, LeDoux JE, Cain CK. 2010. Sidman instrumental avoidance initially depends on lateral and basal amygdala and is constrained by central amygdala-mediated Pavlovian processes. Biol Psychiatry 67: 1120-1127.

  • Lazzaro SC, Hou M, Cunha C, LeDoux JE, Cain CK. 2010. Antagonism of lateral amygdala alpha1-adrenergic receptors facilitates fear conditioning and long-term potentiation. Learn Mem 17: 489-493.