Christie L. Sahley, Ph.D.

Professor; Associate Head and Office of the Provost, Purdue University


Christie L. Sahley’s research focuses on associative learning, the way in which casual relationships are extracted from the environment and allow animals to modify their behavior on the basis of learned associations between cues and consequences. Her lab uses a combination of behavioral, cellular, pharmacological, anatomical, biophysical, and modeling techniques to investigate the mechanism of the associative process. The major portion of Sahley’s research is done using the leech. Her lab has extended its research to the recovery of behavior and behavioral plasticity following traumatic injury. The leech affords an opportunity for close study of regeneration mechanisms that successfully lead to functional recovery of learning ability. An understanding of these mechanisms could have important clinical relevance.

In her leadership role in the Purdue School of Science, Sahley works closely with Science Counseling on a number of student issues, such as graduation requirements, credit transfers, readmissions, and change of degree objectives. She also works directly with the counselors in International Studies programs, and is the contact person for students entering the freshman Honors Program. She is involved in numerous committees, including the Faculty Council, Recruitment, Special Cases for the School of Science, TRAX Advisory Board, and Study Abroad/IASTE. Sahley is the Faculty Representative to Purdue University Big Ten Athletics and a member of the Athletic Affairs Committee. Working toward the recruitment and retention of women in the sciences, she is also actively involved in the Women in Science Program.