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Robert D. Hienz, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Robert D. Hienz, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Research Interests: Auditory perception in animals; Effect of drugs on perceptual and motor function in non-human primates; Human immunodeficiency virus and drug use; Behavioral pharmacology and drug abuse; Effects of space flight on human performance more

Contact for Research Inquiries

Bayview Medical Campus
Behavioral Biology Research Center
Suite 3000
Phone: 410-550-2788
Fax: 410-550-2780



  • Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Additional Training

University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington, 1973

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Research activities at Johns Hopkins are aimed at the development and application of a rodent model for assessing the risks to astronauts of living in the space radiation environment on cognitive, neurobehavioral, sensory, and motor function. An additional grant from NASA extended this research to evaluate short-term and long-term effects of solar particle event (SPE) and galactic cosmic ray (GCR) radiation on neurobehavioral function, and thus determine the likely effects of space radiation on cognitive functioning in astronauts during long-term lunar and planetary exploration missions.

Selected Publications

View all on Pubmed

Hienz, R.D., Brady, J.V., Gooden, V.L., Vazquez, M.E., and Weed, M.R. Neurobehavioral effects of head-only gamma radiation exposure in rats. Radiation Research. 2008, 170: 292-298

Davis, C.M., DeCicco-Skinner, K.L., Roma, P.G., Hienz, R.D. Individual differences in attentional deficits and dopaminergic protein levels following exposure to proton radiation. Radiation Research. 2014, 181: 258-271. PMID: 24611657

Davis, C.M., Roma, P.G., Armour, E., Gooden, V.L., Brady, J.V., Weed, M.R., Hienz, R.D. Effects of X-ray radiation on complex visual discrimination learning and social recognition memory in rats. PloS One, 2014, 9(8): e104393. PMID: 25099152

Davis, C. M., Roma, P. G., & Hienz, R. D. (2015). A rodent model of the human psychomotor vigilance test: Performance comparisons. J Neurosci Methods. 2016 Feb 1;259:57-71. PubMed PMID: 26639896

Davis, C.M., DeCicco-Skinner, K.L., Hienz, R.D. Deficits in sustained attention and changes in dopaminergic protein levels following exposure to proton radiation are related to basal dopaminergic function. PLoS One. 2015;10(12):e0144556. PubMed PMID: 26658810; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4684339

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

  • Astronauts may suffer brain damage during a Mars mission, study suggests,, May 4, 2015
  • Astronaut twins to test effects of space on cognition, The Philadelphia Inquirer (McClatchy DC), March 25, 2015
  • Some Astronauts at Risk for Cognitive Impairment, Animal Studies Suggest, Science Daily, April 23, 2014
  • How Going to Space Can Mess With the Astronaut Brain, The Atlantic, April 23, 2014
  • Johns Hopkins Scientist Gets NASA Grant For Research on Deep-Space Flight Missions, BmoreMedia, August 21, 2012

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