Elinor L. Sullivan, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Oregon National Primate Research Center
  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry, School of Medicine


Dr. Sullivan received her Ph.D. in Physiology from OHSU in 2000 and her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Willamette University. She received her postdoctoral training at the University of California San Francisco and OHSU. Dr. Sullivan is currently an Associate Professor in the Division of Neuroscience at the Oregon National Primate Research Center, the Department of Psychiatry at Oregon Health & Science University, and in the Department of Human Physiology at the University of Oregon. Dr. Sullivan is actively involved in training future scientists through her teaching and mentoring of University of Oregon graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Sullivan’s research examines the impact of maternal nutrition and metabolic state on the behavioral regulation and brain development of offspring.



  • B.A., 2000, Willamette University
  • B.A., 2000, Willamette University
  • Ph.D., 2006, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Ph.D., 2006, Oregon Health & Science University

Honors and awards

  • May 2016 Outstanding Scholarship Award, University of Portland
  • November 2015 Authored manuscript “Maternal High-Fat Diet and Obesity Impact Palatable Food Intake and Dopamine Signaling in Nonhuman Primate Offspring” selected as one of the top four entries to be included in the Third Annual Obesity Journal Symposium.
  • January 2015 Provost’s Initiative for Undergraduate Research Award - ($1,000) University of Portland.
  • November 2014 The Impact of Maternal Diet on Offspring Behavioral Regulation, Butine, $1,166.00
  • May 2010 Award for Best Post-Doctoral Talk. Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience.
  • July 2009 Pat Simons Travel Award Grant to attend the Annual Meeting of The Obesity Society. The Obesity Society.
  • October 2008 Travel Award to attend NIH’s Neuroimaging in Obesity Research Workshop. National Institute of Health
  • May 2008 Award for Top-Ranked Post-Doctoral Fellowship of 2007. Bay Area Division of the American Heart Association.
  • September 2006 Stipend support from Molecular Approaches to Mental Health Fellowship Program, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA.
  • May 2006 Award for best poster presentation at the Student Research Forum, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR.
  • April 2006 Travel award to attend Annual Meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Oregon Chapter of Society for Neuroscience.
  • November 2005 Nominated to the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Science Program for Excellence in Science.
  • May 2005 Stipend support from Reproductive Training Grant, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR.
  • April 2004 Travel award to attend Annual Meeting of the Oregon Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience. Oregon Chapter of Society for Neuroscience.

Areas of interest

  • Behavioral Regulation
  • Brain Development
  • Developmental Programming
  • Maternal Nutrition
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Serotonin


Selected publications

  • Thompson JR, Gustafsson HC, DeCapo M, Bagley J, Dean T, Takahashi D, Kievit P, Sullivan EL. Western Diet, Metabolic State, and Inflammation: Modeling developmental influences on offspring behavior in non-human primates. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 2018 April 23. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2018.00161.
  • Thompson JR, Valleau JC, Barling AN, Franco JG, DeCapo M, Bagley JL, Sullivan EL. Exposure to a High-Fat Diet during Early Development Programs Behavior and Impairs the Central Serotonergic System in Juvenile Non-Human Primates. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2017 Jul 21;8:164. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2017.00164. eCollection 2017. PubMed PMID: 28785241; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5519527. 
  • Rivera HM, Kievit P, Kirigiti MA, Bauman LA, Baquero K, Blundell P, Dean TA, Valleau JC, Takahashi DL, Frazee T, Douville L, Majer J, Smith MS, Grove KL, Sullivan EL. Maternal high-fat diet and obesity impact palatable food intake and dopamine signaling in nonhuman primate offspring. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Nov;23(11):2157-64. doi: 10.1002/oby.21306. PubMed PMID: 26530932; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4636015.
  • Sullivan EL, Holton KF, Nousen EK, Barling AN, Sullivan CA, Propper CB, Nigg JT. Early identification of ADHD risk via infant temperament and emotion regulation: a pilot study. J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2015 Sep;56(9):949-57. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12426. Epub 2015 May 12. PubMed PMID: 25968589.


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