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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Psychology

Faculty & Staff Directory

Charles F. Mactutus

Department of Psychology
University of South Carolina

Office: Barnwell 544
Phone Number: (803) 777-2825
Vitae: Download PDF

Dr. Mactutus' major research interests are in the areas of cognitive processes and their dysfunction in disease and addictions. 

Dr. Mactutus’ research group is very active with trainees at undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels.  Students are expected to present their discoveries at major meetings (Society for Neuroscience; International Behavioral Neuroscience Society; Internationa Society for Developmental Psychobiology; Society for Neuroimmune Pharmacology, etc.) on a regular basis. His trainees are now employed in the pharmaceutical industry, at major research universities, and in distinguished clinical/academic positions. He is on the executive committee of the prestigious NIH funded Biomedical-Behavioral Training Grant, a vehicle for supporting students interested in the neurological basis of behavior ( 

Dr. Mactutus is currently Professor of Psychology mentoring trainees in the area of Behavioral Neuroscience. He has served as Department chair, 2005-2008, during which time he helped to shepherd the faculty through three top-ten nationally ranked accomplishments. Dr. Mactutus extended his background in Experimental Psychology with post-doctoral training in Neurotoxicology and Pharmacology at The Johns Hopkins University, and served as a scientist in the intramural program at NIH(NIEHS) for six years before joining the academic ranks. Dr. Mactutus has been a PI on NIH grants from the NIEHS, NICHD, and NIDA, and has participated on other NIH grants funded through NIDA, NIMH and NIA. His current funded projects are through NICHD and NIDA. Dr. Mactutus has been a charter member of an NIH Study Section, and serves on and ad hoc basis on others.  He has also served the U.S.E.P.A. as a Scientific Advisory Panel member on Developmental Neurotoxicity. He is an active ad hoc reviewer and currently serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Developmental Neurobiology and HIV/AIDS-Research and Palliative Care. Dr. Mactutus recently elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of distinguished contributions to the field of experimental psychology, particularly for basic and applied studies of animal cognition to neurobehavioral teratology and developmental neurotoxicology.

 With our focus on NeuroAIDS, using the viral proteins tat and gp120, we have been studying pediatric AIDS, HIV-1 cognitive impairments, and potential neuroprotective agents that may underlie the apparent gender differences in HIV-1 infection.  One main current project capitalizes upon the availability of the non-infectious HIV-1 transgenic (HIV-1Tg) rat, a unique and exciting opportunity that offers tremendous yet unexplored potential in neuroAIDS research. Besides providing a thorough quantitative assessment of cognitive, motor, and behavioral deficits along the trajectory of disease progression to cognitive disorders, the impact of the research will provide the foundation and guidance for the field for future evaluation of CNS therapeutics to treat neurocognitive dysfunction.

Ten Recent Publications (student authors are underlined):

Moran, LM., Booze RM, Mactutus CF. (2013). Time and time again: Temporal processing demands implicate perceptual and gating deficits in the HIV-1 transgenic rats. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol, e-pub ahead of print. Link

Bertrand, S.J., Mactutus, C.F., Aksenova, M.V., Epsensen-Sturges, T.D., Booze, R.M. (2013). Synaptodendtritic recovery following HIV-1 Tat exposure: Neurorestoration by phytoestrogens. J Neurochem, e-pub ahead of print. Link

Moran,  L.M., Booze, R.M., Webb, K.M., Mactutus, C.F. (2013) Neurobehavioral alterations in HIV-1 transgenic rats: evidence for dopaminergic dysfunction. Exp Neurol. 239:139-47. 2013. Link

Bertrand, S.J., Aksenova, M.V., Mactutus, C.F., Booze, R.M. (2013). HIV-1 Tat protein variants: Critical role for the cysteine region in synaptodendritic injury. Exp Neurol, e-pub ahead of print. Link

Landhing M. Moran, Rosemarie M. Booze, Charles F. Mactutus. (in press). Animal Models: Behavior and Pathology: Preclinical Assessment of the Putative Cognitive Deficits in HAND. In H. Xiong and H.E. Gendelman (Eds.), Current Laboratory Methods in Neuroscience Research. Springer, New York.

Gomez, A.M., Midde, N.M., Mactutus, C.F., Booze, R.M., Zhu, J. (2012) Environmental enrichment alters nicotine-mediated locomotor sensitization and phosphorylation of DARPP-32 and CREB in rat prefrontal cortex.  PLoS One. 7(8):e44149. PMID: 22952905 Free PMC Article

Adams, S.M., Aksenova, M.V., Aksenov, M.Y., Mactutus, C.F., Booze, R.M. (2012) Soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein exert anti-apoptotic actions via a selective ER-mediated mechanism in neurons following HIV-1 Tat(1-86) exposure.  PLoS One. 7(5):e37540.  PMID: 22629415 Free PMC Article

Moran, L.M., Aksenov, M.Y., Booze, R.M., Webb, K.M., Mactutus, C.F. (2012) Adolescent HIV-1 transgenic rats: evidence for dopaminergic alterations in behavior and neurochemistry revealed by methamphetamine challenge.  Curr HIV Res. 10(5):415-24.  PMID: 22591365 Free PMC Article

Aksenov, M.Y., Aksenova, M.V., Mactutus, C.F., Booze, R.M. (2012) D1/NMDA receptors and concurrent methamphetamine+ HIV-1 Tat neurotoxicity. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol.  7(3):599-608.  PMID: 22552781 Link

Patel, D.A., Booze, R.M., Mactutus, C.F. (2012) Prenatal cocaine exposure alters progenitor cell markers in the subventricular zone of the adult rat brain. Int J Dev Neurosci. 30(1):1-9. PMID: 22119286 Link


1: Scientific Significance

Ten most significant peer-reviewed publications.

Mactutus, C.F., Riccio, D.C., and Ferek, J.M.:  Retrograde amnesia for old reactivated) memory:  Some anomalous characteristics.  Science  204: 1319‑1320, 1979. PMID:572083..

Mactutus, C.F., Ferek, J.M., George, C.A., and Riccio, D.C.: Hypothermia‑induced amnesia for newly acquired and old reacti­vated memories: Commonalities and distinctions. Physiol. Psychol. 10: 79‑95, 1982. Accession #:1983-09936-001

  • Mactutus and his colleagues (Science, 1979; Physiological Psych., 1982) reported the seminal findings that form the basis of the current focus on reconsolidation of memory.  Consolidation is a process through which labile memories are made persistent.  When reactivated or retrieved, a consolidated memory may be rendered labile again and undergo reconsolidation [Dudai, 2004; Society for Neuroscience symposium 2003]. Reconsolidation offers the grossly unappreciated unique opportunity to manipulate memory after it is formed, and may therefore provide a means of treating drug-conditioned memories, as form the basis of addiction, as well as other intrusive memories associated with phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Mactutus, C.F. and Fechter, L.D.: Prenatal carbon monoxide expo­sure: Learning and memory deficits.  Science  223: 409‑411, 1984. PMID:6691152.

Mactutus, C.F. and Fechter, L.D.:  Moderate prenatal carbon monox­ide exposure produces persistent, and apparently permanent, memory deficits in rats.  Teratology  31: 1‑12, 1985. PMID:4039076.

  • The toxic and physiologic effects of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure have been well appreciated since the pioneering investigations in the late 19th century by Haldane (1895). However, for specific subpopulations, such as the developing fetus, little was known of the consequences of chronic exposure to low concentrations of CO. Chronic exposure to mild CO (e.g., maternal cigarette smoking) during prenatal development disrupts acquisition/retention of conditioned avoidance responding in juvenile rats, reflects an associative impairment, and is without overt teratological effect (Science, 1984; Teratology, 1985). The implications of this research were broadcast on NBC news, Washington Post, London Times, etc., occurring on the 20th anniversary of the placement of the Surgeon General’s warning on cigarette packages.

Carman, H.M. and Mactutus, C.F.: Ontogeny of spatial navigation in rats: A role for response requirements.  Behav. Neurosci. 115: 870-879, 2001. PMID:11508726.

Carman, H.M. and Mactutus, C.F.:  Proximal versus distal cue use: The role of visual acuity in the preweaning rat. Neurobiol. Learn. Mem., 78: 332-346, 2002. PMID:12431421.

  • The ontogeny of spatial learning and memory, putatively mediated by the hippocampal formation, has been widely held to be a late maturing and post-weaning occurrence in rodent models.  Mactutus and his postdoctoral trainee, Heidi Carman, demonstrated in a series of four publications, that this conceptualization is not accurate and, further, have redefined the functional capability of the immature preweaning hippocampus for guiding complex spatial navigation. 

Mactutus CF, Herman AS, Booze RM.  Chronic intravenous model for studies of drug (Ab)use in the pregnant and/or group-housed rat: an initial study with cocaine. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 16:183-91, 1994. PMID: 8052193.

Booze RM, Lehner AF, Wallace DR, Welch MA, Mactutus CF.  Dose-response cocaine pharmacokinetics and metabolite profile following intravenous administration and arterial sampling in unanesthetized, freely moving male rats.  Neurotoxicol Teratol. 19: 7-15, 1997. PMID:9088006.[

  • Beginning with the introduction of an innovative preclinical model for noninvasive chronic intravenous administration of drugs of abuse during pregnancy, and a systematic dose-response study of cocaine pharmacokinetics, across a series of 20 subsequent publications, we were first to identify a true teratogenic effect (i.e., the neurons being most susceptible to disruption at the time of their genesis) in the central nervous system for the attentional disorders in offspring following recreational maternal cocaine use. Specifically, we have identified an apoptotic cascade and the major molecular components underlying the teratogenic effect of cocaine in the central noradrenergic system. This work was highlighted as one of the key invited symposia at the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, San Juan, PR (2003) and by invited presentation at the annual Winter Neurochemistry Conference, in Solden, Austria (2003), and within a special edition on developmental aspects of addiction in the International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience (2004). 

Fitting S, Booze RM, Hasselrot U and Mactutus CF. Differential long-term neurotoxicity of HIV-1 proteins in the rat hippocampal formation: a design-based stereological study. Hippocampus, 18: 135-47, 2008. PMID: 17924522.

Ferris MJ, Frederick-Duus D, Fadel J, Mactutus CF, Booze RM. The HIV-1-associated protein, Tat(1-86), impairs dopamine transporters and interacts with cocaine to reduce nerve terminal function: A no-net-flux microdialysis study. Neuroscience. 159: 1292-1299, 2009. PMID: 19344635.

  • Through a series of 30+ publications, we have identified a new mechanism (and potential therapeutic approach) for HIV/drug abuse, resulting in two U.S. patent applications, 11/913,519 and 12/620,170. The basis for the therapeutic approaches derives from our in vitro and in vivo studies of the neurotoxic response(s) to the HIV-1 viral proteins, TAT and gp120, the constitutive expression of these proteins in transgenic HIV-1 rats, and the consequent cognitive dysfunction characteristic of NeuroAIDS and pediatric AIDS.


2: Chairship

Top Ten Department Accomplishments (2005-2008)

10. Staff:  Hiring and retention of key departmental staff, e.g., including our tremendous administrative and budgeting personnel, our IT personnel, and our undergraduate student services office. 

9. Renovation

A. Current space:  Planning, funding and orchestration (yet in progress) of the reconfiguration and upgrading of the Barnwell and Hamilton space to include the Walsh conference room, a common first/second year graduate student office, new computer room facilities, and upgraded A/C in Hamilton laboratories.

B. Current Facilities: New ‘green’ copy machine to facilitate all departmental functions; upgrading of all faculty office computers to <3 years old. 

8.  Centers:   

A. Grand opening celebration of the new Psychological Services Center for community service, graduate student training, research, and classes.  The facility was established as a cost center with 92% of the revenue returned to the facility.

B. Continued growth and development of the McCausland MRI Center for Brain Imaging.  Its establishment as an NIH cost center, and its pilot cost-share program, will further assist in providing for its stability.

7. New Space:  Following the acquisition of the new Psychological Services Center last year, continued expansion of research space for the department with the acquisition of an entire floor of space at 1233 Washington Street.

6. Faculty:  With the latestunanimous adoption of our 3-year faculty hiring plan, we hired another five faculty, including senior tenured faculty (Lynn Weber, Jennifer Vendemia) and untenured assistant (Svetlana Shinkareva, Shauna Cooper) and associate (Pat Malone) level faculty.  Orchestration of an eight slot faculty recruitment effort for the upcoming year, met with the timely recruitment of Amanda Fairchild in quantitative psychology early in the current year hiring cycle (December 2007).  Appointment of Heather Kitzman-Ulrich, Ph.D. and Jun Zhu, M.D., Ph.D. as research assistant and associate professors, respectively, further enhanced our faculty ranks. Thus, a total of 20 faculty across all ranks and title series were appointed from 2005-2008!

5. Enhancement of Educational Mission 

A. Undergraduate Students: Reduced average class size in the undergraduate curriculum by 10% across the last 3 years. Psychology students represented 24.2% of presenters at Discovery Day (also true across last 3 years!); 26x have won awards over those 3 years.  The Magellan was awarded to 14 psychology majors, up 466% from the prior year.  Psychology majors awarded degrees numbered 220 in CY07!

B. Graduate Students: Continuing improvements in the quality, number and funding of our graduate students.  Number graduated in CY07 included 19 Ph.D. candidates!

4. Budget: 

A. A000: We exceed our yearly credit hour production quota by 6%, for a total of ~24000, the basis for the college budget.

B. Alumni Giving: Development of a departmental “Case” statement for fund raising. 

3. National Research Enhancement:  We continued to significantly expand our extramural funding base with the acquisition of new national level grants by our untenured faculty (Benjamin Hankin, Steven Harrod, Lee Van Horn, Dawn Wilson) and adjunct faculty (Jeanne Shinskey).

2. Diversity:  Enhancement of faculty diversity within the department at all levels, with the hiring of tenure track faculty (Shauna Cooper), instructors (Kendra Cussac and Leslie Bessellieu), and temporary faculty (Stephanie Boyd; Alicia Hall).  Our sponsoring of the 24th annual Multicultural Symposium and initiation of the Clinical-Community program diversity colloquium series.

1. National Recognition:

A. Academic Analytics assessment of university faculty with objective, analytical data on faculty productivity, ranked our clinical-community among the top 10 programs nationwide for the second year in a row!

B. According to the latest NSF data (based on FY06 data) which is collected on some 650 colleges and universities every year, the Psychology Department at the University of South Carolina has attained a top 10 ranking nationwide in federally funded R&D expenditures (the other side of grants, often viewed as a more stable index)!  The significance of this metric is tremendous -- S&E R&D expenditures are the single greatest factor loading across both principal components from which the Carnegie Foundation calculates its yearly ranking universities.  This reflects our commitment to being one of the top Psychology departments in the nation, with a rather meteoric rise from 64th place in FY03 (see below).

C. We were awarded one of only three NIH institutional T32 training grants in the Biomedical-Behavioral Training Grant Program (Prinz and Booze, PIs).