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Parrish Waters - University of Mary Washington. Fredericksburg, VA, US

Parrish Waters Parrish Waters

Associate Professor | University of Mary Washington

Fredericksburg, VA, UNITED STATES

Dr. Parrish Waters’ areas of expertise include neuroscience, physiology, hormone axis function, stress physiology and sensory perception.





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Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Parrish Waters’ major area of expertise is neuroscience, but his interests in physiology are broad, and include hormone axis function, stress physiology and sensory perception. His post-doctoral training includes a Fellowship with the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence in Berlin, Germany. Before that, he held a research mentoring fellowship at the College of Charleston, and a research fellowship at the Medical University of South Carolina.

His current research investigates neuroendocrine differences that result from and contribute to an animal’s position in social hierarchies. His research at UMW involves laboratory mice, and is chronicled on his website, www.parrishwaters.com.

Dr. Waters teaches Human Anatomy and Human Physiology annually, and also contributes to Research Methods and Biostatistics and topical senior seminar courses. Finally, he has taught two different freshman seminars, The Human Animal and Our Addicted World.

Areas of Expertise (7)


Scientific Writing

Molecular Biology

Stress Physiology

Human Physiology

Sensory Perception

Hormone Axis Function

Accomplishments (6)

Jepson Fellowship at the University of Mary Washington

2021 - 2022

Faculty Development Fellowship with the UMW Digital Learning Support

2019 - 2020

Faculty Development Fellowship with the UMW Division of Teaching and Learning Technologies

2018 - 2019

Excellence Award for best post-doctoral poster presentation, Exposition of Research, MUSC


Recognition of social impact and excellence in research, Soc for Neuroscience Pub Ed Committee


Louella E Cable Memorial Research Scholarship, University of South Dakota

2004 - 2007

Education (2)

University of South Dakota: Ph.D., Biology 2007

University of North Carolina: B.A., Biology 1997

Affiliations (3)

  • Virginia Academy of Science : Long-Term Planning Committee Member, 2020 - Present
  • UMW Sabbaticals, Fellowships, and Faculty Awards Committee : Chair, 2019-2020
  • UMW Biology Honors Committee : Chair 2018-2020

Media Appearances (4)

A Conversation Around Formative Feedback ft. Parrish Waters

Explorance Podcast  radio


In this episode, Explorance Product Analyst Nitin Sharma speaks with Parrish Waters, Assistant Professor at the University of Mary Washington. He gives a bit of background regarding how he got into teaching and what brought him to Mary Washington. We also touch on how formative feedback is used in his classroom. Parrish realized early on in his career that he could get more value in having students provide input on his teaching throughout the semester instead of just on end of term evaluations.

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Looking Back on This Year's Classroom Experiments

Inside Higher Ed  online


Last fall, professors told us about their plans to experiment this year with technology-enabled teaching. Now they reflect on the successes and shortcomings. Parrish Waters, assistant professor of biology, University of Mary Washington. What he tried: Encouraging student engagement with help from a formative assessment tool, which he'd used in the classroom previously, but without a cohesive strategy.

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Test-Driving New Classroom Tech Initiatives

Inside Higher Ed  online


Professors share what they're doing differently in the classroom this fall -- and how they'll measure the success of their experiments. Parrish Waters, assistant professor of biology, University of Mary Washington. What's new: I am using a formative assessment tool (BluePulse) in my Human Anatomy course this semester. This tool is not new to me, but I am taking steps to methodize my implementation of this tool this semester and will examine if student participation with this tool is related to the class’s performance in, and satisfaction with, the course.

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Reading your module’s pulse with Bluepulse 2 – the tool to capture anonymous student feedback

Abertay Teaching and Learning Enhancement Blog  online


We’ve learned a lot about how to introduce the tool and use it effectively and have reached out to Dr. R. Parrish Waters from University of Mary Washington for some ideas as he has been using Bluepulse with his students for over a year. Abertay staff have also provided tips on how they have used the tool.

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Research Grants (7)

Faculty Travel Grant

University of Mary Washington 

2018, for travel to the Society for Neuroscience National Conference

Faculty Research Grant

University of Mary Washington 

2019, Identifying qualities of social dominance in mice

Faculty Travel Grant

University of Mary Washington 

2017, for travel to the Conference for Undergraduate Research

Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research

Health Resources in Action 

2017, Visualizing big data to determine the effects of physical exercise on social ethology, social rank and neurophysiology in laboratory mice

Postdoctoral Academic Career Development Award

SC EPSCoR Program 

2011, NIH P20 RR016461

Pilot Research Project Grant

Neuroscience Center of Biomedical Research Excellence 

2004, NIH P20 RR15567. Neural Mechanisms of Behavior

Pilot Research Project Grant

Neuroscience Center of Biomedical Research Excellence 

2002, NIH P20 RR15567. Monoaminergic Responses to Selection for Treadmill Endurance and Physical Activity in Rats

Articles (5)

The olfactory bulbectomy disease model: A Re-evaluation

Physiology & Behavior

David M Coppola, R. Parrish Waters

2021 The olfactory bulbectomized rodent has long been one of the preferred animal models of depression and certain other neuropsychiatric diseases. In fact, it is considered unparalleled, by some, in the search for antidepressant medication and the literature generated about the model is prodigious. We have revisited the "syndrome" of behavioral sequela following bulbectomy choosing ecologically valid tests likely to be underpinned with evolutionarily preserved neural circuits. Our test battery included measurements of activity, intermale aggression, pleasure seeking, stress/fear and non-spatial memory.

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Interdisciplinary research experience in computer science and biological sciences

Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges

Parrish Waters, Jennifer A. Polack

2020 Interdisciplinary research is critical to modern-day research. Today researchers should be able to work across disciplinary boundaries seemingly. However, without any practical experience, students graduating from Universities have minimal experience or training. This paper describes one interdisciplinary project that involved several computer science and biological science students and two mentors from each discipline. We description the project, the computer science perspective, the biological science perspective and a conclusion.

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How to Give an Excellent STEM Job Talk

The Chronicle of Higher Education

Russ E. Carpenter and R. Parrish Waters

2019 For Ph.D.s on the job market in the sciences, no element of the hiring process is more important for making or breaking your prospects than the job talk. At some point in the 2019-20 hiring season — once you’ve made the long journey from application packet to Skype interview to campus visit — you will have to deliver a job talk. It will play a large part in determining the next decade or more of your career.

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Assessment of a proposed "three-criteria" cocaine addiction model for use in reinstatement studies with rats


R. Parrish Waters, David Moorman, Amy B. Young Matthew Feltenstein

2013 Relapse is a primary obstacle in the treatment of addiction disorders, and as such, understanding this phenomenon is a major effort of clinical and preclinical studies of cocaine addiction. A recently developed protocol uses laboratory rats to model cocaine addiction by examining three criteria of addiction-like behaviors (persistent seeking in the absence of drug, high motivation for drug, and resistance to punishment during drug seeking) to detect subjects that possess an addiction phenotype.

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Selection for increased voluntary wheel-running affects behavior and brain monoamines in mice

Brain Research

R.Parrish Waters, R.B. Pringle, G.L. Forster, K.J. Renner, J.L. Malisch, T. Garland, Jr., and J.G. Swallow

2013 Selective-breeding of house mice for increased voluntary wheel-running has resulted in multiple physiological and behavioral changes. Characterizing these differences may lead to experimental models that can elucidate factors involved in human diseases and disorders associated with physical inactivity, or potentially treated by physical activity, such as diabetes, obesity, and depression. Herein, we present ethological data for adult males from a line of mice that has been selectively bred for high levels of voluntary wheel-running and from a non-selected control line, housed with or without wheels.

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