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Faculty Detail    
Campus Address SC 835C Zip 0017
Phone  (205) 996-9373
Other websites

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Primary  Psych - Behavioral Neurobiology  Psych - Behavioral Neurobiology Professor Adjunct

Biographical Sketch 
Dr. Roberts attended college and graduate school at the University of California, Irvine. There she received a BS and PhD in biology. She then did a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School. She was on faculty at Harvard for a year before being recruited to the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, part of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Dr. Roberts spent 17 years at the MPRC, where she rose through the ranks to become a tenured full professor and the Director of the Maryland Brain Collection. She also had a joint appointment in the Department of Anatomy. Dr. Roberts joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in February, 2007 as the Kathy Ireland Endowed Chair. She is the Director of the Alabama Brain collection and Brain Tissue Coordinator for the Tourette’s Syndrome Association. Dr. Roberts holds secondary appointments in several other departments, and is a faculty member in the Graduate School.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology  Member  
Society for Neuroscience  Member 

Research/Clinical Interest
Neuropathology in the basal ganglia in schizophrenia
Dr. Roberts' research is on the neuropathology of the basal ganglia and its connections in schizophrenia. As part of this, she studies the normal comparative anatomy of the basal ganglia and its connections in human, rodent and tree shrew brain. One of the main focuses of the lab is the ultrastructure of the postmortem human brain in health and disease.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Perez-Costas E, Melendez-Ferro M, Rice MW, Conley RR, Roberts RC (2012) Dopamine pathology in schizophrenia: analysis of total and phosphorylated tyrosine hydroxylase in the substantia nigra. Front Psychiatry, 3:31.   22509170 
McCollum LA, Roche JK, Roberts RC (2012) Immunohistochemical localization of enkephalin in the human striatum: A postmortem ultrastructural study. Synapse, 66(3):204-219.   22297119 
Somerville SM, Conley RR, Roberts RC (2012) Striatal mitochondria in subjects with chronic undifferentiated vs. chronic paranoid schizophrenia. Synapse, 66(1):29-41.   21905126 
Rice MW, Roberts RC, Melendez-Ferro M* Perez-Costas E*(2011) Neurochemical characterization of the tree shrew dorsal striatum. Front Neuroanat, 5:53.   21887131 
Somerville SM, Lahti AC, Conley RR, Roberts RC (2011) Mitochondria in the striatum of subjects with schizophrenia: relationship to treatment response. Synapse, 65(3):215-224.   20665724 
Barksdale KA, Perez-Costas E, Gandy JC, Melendez-Ferro M, Roberts RC*, Bijur GN* (2010) Mitochondrial viability in mouse and human postmortem brain. FASEB J, 24(9):3590-3599  20466876 
Perez-Costas E, Melendez-Ferro M, Roberts RC (2010) Basal ganglia pathology in schizophrenia: dopamine connections and anomalies. J Neurochem, 113(2):287-302.   20089137 
Roberts RC, Roche JK, Conley RR, Lahti AC (2009) Dopaminergic synapses in the caudate of subjects with schizophrenia: relationship to treatment response. Synapse, 63(6):520-530.   19226604 
Roberts RC, Roche JK, Conley RR (2008) Differential synaptic changes in the striatum of subjects with undifferentiated versus paranoid schizophrenia. Synapse, 62(8):616-627.   18509852 
Roberts, RC, Roche, JK, Somerville S, Conley RR (2011) Ultrastructural Distinctions Between Treatment Responders and Non-Responders in Schizophrenia: Postmortem Studies of the Striatum, in Mental Illnesses - Evaluation, Treatments and Implications, Prof. Luciano L’Abate (Ed.), pp. 261-286. ISBN: 978-953-307-645-4, InTech, Available from:   

schizophrenia, basal ganglia, dopamine, glutamate, mitochondria, human postmortem brain, ultrastructure, brain banking