Randall L. Commissaris Ph.D.

Randall L. Commissaris Ph.D.

Associate Professor



Office location

EACPHS, Room 3126


Pharmaceutical Sciences


Associate Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Degrees and Certifications

1976 BS, Alma College , Alma , Michigan Pharmaceutical Sciences
1981 PhD, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
1981 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine , New Haven , CT

Positions and Employment

1987-present. Associate Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences (Pharmacology), College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Sciences, Wayne State University.

1996-97. Visiting Professor (sabbatical leave), Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Queens Medical College, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, ENGLAND.

1987-present.nAssociate Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences (Adjunct), School of Medicine, Wayne State University.
1983-87. Assistant Professor, Pharmacology (Pharmaceutical Sciences), College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, Wayne State University.
1981-83: Postdoctoral Research Fellow (with Dr. Michael Davis), Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine.

Awards and Honors

Mead Johnson Fellowship for the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), 1982;
"Teacher of the Year", WSU College of Pharmacy, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1995, 1996; 2014
WSU Academic Achievement Award in the Natural Sciences, Detroit Probus Club, 1991;
WSU Faculty Career Development Award, 1991-92;
Burroughs Welcome International Scholars Award, 1996-97;

Primary Research Interest

Distracted Driving - Our research group studies the effects of drugs and other distractions, e.g., texting, on driving performance in a driving simulator.

Behavioral Pharmacology - Our research group is interested in developing a better understanding the neuroanatomical and neuropharmacological mechanisms for the actions of drugs of abuse and drugs used in psychiatry on behavior.

Recent Publications

Recent Past Publications - Behavioral Pharmacology Studies in Rats

Commissaris, R.L., Ardayfio, P.A., McQueen, D.A., Gilchrist, G.A, III and Overstreet, D.H. Conflict behavior and the effects of 8-OHDPAT treatment in rats selectively bred for differential 5-HT1A-induced hypothermia. Pharmac. Biochem. Behav. 67:.199-205, 2000.

Winston, C.R., Leavell, B.J., Ardayfio, P.A., Beard, C. and Commissaris, R.L. A non-extinction procedure for long-term studies of classically conditioned enhancement of acoustic startle in the rat. Physiol Behav. 73(1-2):9-17, 2001.

McQueen, D.A., Overstreet, D.H., Ardayfio, P.A. and Commissaris. R.L. Acoustic startle, conditioned startle potentiation and the effects of 8-OH-DPAT and buspirone in rats selectively bred for differences in 8-OH-DPAT-induced hypothermia. Behav Pharmacol. 12(6-7):509-16, 2001.

Marinetti, L.J., Isenschmid, D.S., Hepler, B.R. and Commissaris, R.L. Response to the presence of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) in postmortem biological fluids. J Anal Toxicol. 25(5):356-7, 2002.

Overstreet, D.H., Commissaris, Randall L., de la Garza, Richard, File, Sandra E., Knapp, Darrin J. and Seiden, Lewis, S. Involvement of 5-HT1A receptors in anxiety-like or depressed-like behavior: Evidence from genetic models. Stress and Serotonin, 6(2):101-110, 2003.

Commissaris, R.L., Fomum, E.A., and Leavell, B.J. The effects of buspirone and alprazolam treatment on the startle-potentiated startle response in the rat. Anxiety and Depression 19(3):146-151, 2004.

Singareddy, R., Uhde, T. and Commissaris, R.L. Differential effects of hypocretins on noise-alone versus potentiated startle responses. Physiol. Behav. 89:650-655, 2006.

Pinelli, N.R., Jantz, A., Smith, Z., Abouhassan, A., Ayar, C., Jaber, N.A., Clarke, A.W., Commissaris, R.L., and Jaber, L.A. Effect of administration time of exenatide on satiety responses, blood blucose and adverse events in healthy volunteers. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 51:165-172, 2010.

Marinetti, L.J., Leavell, B.J., Jones, C.M., Hepler, B.R., Isenschmid, D.S., and Commissaris, R.L. Gamma butyrolactone (GBL) and bamma valerolactone (GVL): Similarities and differences in their effects on the acoustic startle reflex and the conditioned enhancement of startle in the rat. Pharmac. Biochem. Behav. 101(4):602-608, 2012.

Recent Publications - Distracted Driving; Texting, Drugs and Driving

Rumschlag, G, Palumbo, T, Martin, A, Head, D, George, R and Commissaris, RL. The effects of texting on driving performance in a driving simulator: The influence of driver age. Accident Analysis and Prevention 74:145–149, 2015.

Palumbo, TJ, Head, D, Swift, A, Rumschlag, G, Ing, J, Ng, C, Surducan, M, Lahoud, E, Johnson, B, Mackie, B and Commissaris, RL. The effects of texting and DUI simulation on driving performance in a driving simulator. J Ergonomics: http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2165-7556.S3-013;


Research website


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