Our Faculty

Melanie Leussis

Chair, Department of Psychology; Associate Professor of Psychology

Contact Information


Office Hours

Office: Administration Building, Room 421D

Office hours: Monday, and Wednesday, 10:00 a.m.-11:45 a.m., by appointment also


Ph.D., Boston College; B.S., University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University


Prior to joining Emmanuel College, I was a postdoctoral research fellow in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, working at McLean Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and The Broad Institute.  Since joining the faculty at Emmanuel College in 2012, I continue to pursue basic research in psychiatric disease while having the pleasure of introducing students to diverse topics in neuroscience and psychology, as well as to the process of conducting research.

What I Love About Emmanuel:

I love that students at Emmanuel College interact with their professors--they always say hello when you meet in the hallway and readily stop by your office when they want or need to chat. 

Courses I Teach

  • PSYC2209 Physiological Bases of Behavior
  • PSYC2801 Research Methods and Statistics I
  • PSYC2802 Research Methods and Statistics II
  • PSYC3205 Neuroendocrinology

Publications + Presentations


  • Leussis, MP, Berry-Scott, EM, Saito, M, Jhuang, H, de Haan, G, Alkan, O, Luce, CJ, Madison, JM, Sklar, P, Serre, T, Root, DE, Petryshen, TL.  (2012).  The ANK3 bipolar disorder gene regulates psychiatric-related behaviors that are modulated by lithium and stress.  Biol Psychiatry, 73(7): 683-90
  • Leussis, MP, Madison, JM, Petryshen, TL.  (2012).  Ankyrin 3: genetic association with bipolar disorder and relevance to disease pathophysiology.  Biol Mood Anxiety Disord, 2(1):18.  doi: 10.1186/2045-5380-2-18.
  • Leussis, MP, Freund, N, Brenhouse, HC, Thompson, BS, Andersen, SL.  (2012).  Depressive-like behavior in adolescents after maternal separation: Sex differences and controllability.  Dev Neurosci, 34:210-7.
  • Leussis MP, Frayne ML, Saito M, Berry EM, Aldinger KA, Rockwell GN, Hammer Jr RP, Baskin-Hill AE, Singer JB, Nadeau JH, Sklar P, and Petryshen TL.  (2009).  Genomic survey of prepulse inhibition in mouse chromosome substitution strains.  Genes Brain Behavior, 8:806-816.
  • Leussis, MP, and Heinrichs, SC.  (2009).  Quality of rearing guides the expression of behavioral and neural seizure phenotypes in El mice. Brain Research, 1260: 84-93.
  • Leussis, MP, Lawson, K, Stone, K, and Andersen, SL.  (2008).  The enduring effects of an adolescent social stressor on synaptic density: Part II: Poststress reversal of synaptic loss in the cortex by adinazolam and MK-801. Synapse, 62:185-192.
  • Leussis, MP, and Andersen, SL.  (2008).  Is adolescence a sensitive period for depression? Behavioral and neuroanatomical findings from a social stress model.  Synapse,62:22-30.
  • Korbey, S, Heinrichs, SC, and Leussis, MP.  (2008).  Seizure susceptibility and locus ceruleus activation are reduced following environmental enrichment in an animal model of epilepsy. Epilepsy and Behavior, 12:30-38.
  • Leussis, MP, and Heinrichs, SC.  (2007).  Temporal ontogeny of circuit activation prior to the onset of seizure susceptibility in EL/Suz mice.  Neuroscience, 145:33-41.
  • Leussis, MP, and Bolivar, VJ. (2006).  Habituation: a review of the behavior, neurobiology, and genetics.  Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 30: 1045-1064.
  • Leussis, MP, and Heinrichs, SC.  (2006).  Routine tail suspension husbandry facilitates onset of seizure susceptibility in EL mice.  Epilepsia, 47: 801-804.
  • McFadyen-Leussis, MP, and Heinrichs, SC.  (2005).  Seizure-prone EL/Suz mice exhibit physical and motor delays and heightened locomotor activity in response to novelty during development.   Epilepsy & Behavior, 6: 312-319.
  • McFadyen-Leussis, MP, Lewis, SP, Bond, TY, Carrey, N, and Brown, RE.  (2004).  Prenatal exposure to methylphenidate hydrochloride decreases anxiety and increases exploration in mice.  Pharmacology Biochemistry Behavior, 77: 491-500.
  • McFadyen, MP, Kusek, G, Bolivar, VJ, and Flaherty, L.  (2003).  Differences among eight inbred strains of mice in motor ability and motor learning on a rotorod.  Genes, Brain and Behavior, 2: 214-219.


  • Leussis MP, Berry-Scott E, de Haan G, Richards KR, Sklar P,  Petryshen TL. (2011, May).  Characterizing the role of ankyrin 3 in regulating bipolar-related behaviors.  Proceedings of the Society of Biological Psychiatry (symposium presentation); San Francisco, CA, USA.
  • Leussis, MP, Berry-Scott, EM, Jhuang, H, Saito, M, Ilsley, K, Poggio, T, Sklar, P, Serre, T, Petryshen, TL.  (2011, September).  Role of Ankyrin 3 in Regulating Bipolar-related Behaviors.  Proceedings of the World congress on Psychiatric Genetics (symposium presentation); Washington DC.
  • Leussis, MP, Berry-Scott, E, Sklar, P, Richards, K, de Haan, G, Riley, MM, and Petryshen, TL.  (2010, October).  Characterization of the Ankyrin 3 Bipolar Disorder Risk Gene in Mice.  (Abstract presented at the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics, Athens, Greece).
  • Leussis, MP, Berry-Scott, E, de Haan, G, Riley, MM, Richards, K, and Petryshen, TL. (2010, May).  Characterization of the Ankyrin 3 Bipolar Disorder Risk Gene in Mice.  (Abstract presented at the annual meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, New Orleans, LA).
  • Leussis, MP, de Haan, G, Berry-Scott, E, Richards, K, Riley, MM, and Petryshen, TL. (2010, May).  Behavioral and neurobiological characterization of Ank3, a bipolar disorder risk gene.  (Abstract presented at the annual meeting of the International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society, Halifax, NS, Canada).
  • ECOR Postdoctoral Fellowship from the MGH Fund for Medical Discovery (2011).
    Grant title: Role of the bipolar disorder risk gene Ankyrin 3 in resilience to stress and depression.
    Role: Principal Investigator.

Research Focus

My research focuses on animal models of psychiatric disease.  My goal is to examine how genes and the environment interact during critical periods of development to alter an individual's susceptibility to disease.  By looking at changes in both brain and behavior in mouse models, we can better understand the contribution of genetic and environmental factors to psychiatric disease.  Further, by identifying animal models with high validity, we are better able to search for new and more efficacious treatment options that are desperately needed in psychiatry.  Undergraduate students contribute to this research in a number of diverse and important ways--my research would not be possible without them!

Explore Emmanuel

Let's Get Started.

Emmanuel is a place where students broaden their sense of what’s possible and prepare for inspiring careers in an ever-changing world. Be here.