Randall Commissaris, Ph.D.

Randall Commissaris, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Office Location

EACPHS, Room 3126






Pharmaceutical Sciences

Randall Commissaris, Ph.D.

Degrees and Certifications

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

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: Associate 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Courses taught by Randall Commissaris, Ph.D.

Winter Term 2024

Fall Term 2023

Winter Term 2023

Fall Term 2022

Winter Term 2022

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