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

Randall L. Commissaris Ph.D.

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