Curriculum Vitae


Thomas Elston

“We are ever in the process of becoming.”


Ph.D Neuroscience, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

B.S. Neuroscience (Honors), Baylor University, Waco, TX (2014)

Seminar in International Diplomacy, Sociological Deviance, and Dutch Art History; Maastricht University, Maastricht, Limburg, The Netherlands (2011)

Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (2010-2013)


Research Experience

David Bilkey Lab for Brain and Behaviour (2014 to present)

In conjunction with the Brain Health and Research Center

University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ

A combination of in-vivo electrophysiological, molecular, and behavioral methods to investigate the molecular mechanisms of neural synchrony in learning, memory, and decision making.  

Joaquin Lugo Lab for Developmental Epilepsy

Baylor University, Waco, TX

Molecular, behavioral, and imaging techniques investigating how seizures during different periods of neurodevelopment result in long-term changes in learning and memory, social behavior, and repetitive/stereotyped behaviors and the neural mechanisms that mediate these changes (mTOR and MAPK signaling pathways and how these changes lead to alterations in potassium channels and other synaptic proteins).

Publications and Presentations

Elston TW, Pandian A, Smith GD, Holley AJ, Gao N, Lugo JN (2014) Aniracetam Does Not Alter Cognitive and Affective Behavior in Adult C57BL/6J Mice. PLoS ONE 9(8): e104443. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0104443

Keynote address: Berlin Economic Forum (2014) ‘Neural Synchrony and Psychiatric Disease’, Berlin, Germany. <>

Poster Presentation: (2013) Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA

Baylor URSA Scholar presentation during Baylor URSA Scholar week: presenting my undergraduate thesis topic (“Cognition Enhancement via Nootropic Molecules”).

Baylor University Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Activities (URSA) grant recipient (2013).


Research Awards

PhD scholarship from University of Otago Department of Psychology ($25k/yr; Sept. 2014-Present).

Baylor University Undergraduate Research  Student Award (URSA) for investigating ‘The effect of Aniracetam, a nootropic, on behavior’ ($5k, 2013).

Teaching Experience:

Research Teaching and Mentoring: teaching students rodent behavioural training, in vivo electrophysiology, and computer programming (Jan. 2015-Present).

Technical Expertise

Animal Behavior: Rodent handling and training in working memory, reference memory, anxiety, social behavior, executive function, and operant tasks. I also develop new tasks. 

In-vivo electrophysiology:  Stereotaxic surgical implantation of microdrives and electrodes for single unit and local field potential recordings in awake-behaving rats targeting hippocampal subregions (CA1, CA3, DG), medial prefrontal cortex, orbitofrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and the ventral tegmental area. Recording single units and local field potentials in awake-behaving rats, spike sorting, and perfusions.

Computer programming: Matlab for analysis of behavioral, single unit, and local field potential data. Arduino Development Environment for Arduino microcontrollers for data collection and maze control (ie, doors, touch screens, lasers, etc).


Research Interests

Molecular mechanisms of neural synchrony in learning, memory, and decision making.