Dr. Dragana Claflin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and an Associate Graduate Faculty member in the Biomedical Sciences PhD program. She is one of the core faculty for the undergraduate concentration in Behavioral Neuroscience within the Department of Psychology. Dr. Claflin also works closely with colleagues at Miami University in Oxford, OH where she serves on student thesis and dissertation committees and holds the position of Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology.
Dragana (Ivkovich) Claflin received a B.A. in Biopsychology from Vassar College where she began her research career studying evoked potentials during speed/ accuracy tasks. She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology/ Behavioral Neuroscience, from the University of Southern California under the guidance of Dr. Richard F. Thompson. Her dissertation research focused on the role of motor cortex in rabbit eyeblink conditioning and the learning /performance distinction following brain injury. As a postdoc at Duke University (with Dr. Carol Eckerman) and at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park, NC (with Dr. Mark Stanton) she extended her training to human development and developmental psychobiology. This collaboration re-introduced eyeblink conditioning with human infants as a valuable tool for today’s researchers interested in neuropsychological development and learning disorders. At the same time, she conducted parallel developmental studies in infant rats yielding a research program exploring the dissociation between learning dependent on cerebellar-brainstem structures (delay conditioning) and learning dependent on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (trace conditioning).
Today, Dr. Claflin's lab is focused on the enduring effects of early life experiences on subsequent associative learning as assessed by eyeblink classical conditioning as well as contextual fear conditioning (in collaboration with Dr. Jennifer Quinn at Miami Univeristy of Ohio). Recent publications have reported lasting impairments of learning in juvenile rats administered corticosterone and enhancement of fear learning in adulthood following juvenile stress pre-exposure.
Along the way Dr. Claflin worked as a research assistant at the Monell Chemical Senses Center and the Laboratory of Neuropsychology at the National Institutes of Health. Over the years she worked with catfish, rats, rabbits, primates, human infants and college students.