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Keith A. Trujillo, Ph.D.
Dr. Keith A. Trujillo

2017 ​Outstanding Faculty
Social and Behavioral Sciences and Public Service

Keith A. Trujillo ,Ph.D.

California State University San Marcos
Professor of Psychology
Director, Office for Training, Resea​​rch and Education in the Sciences

Major Accomplishments:​

  • Leads several national programs aimed at increasing diversity in the sciences
  • Published research on the discovery of the role of the neurotransmitter glutamate in drug tolerance and dependence, named a “citation classic”
  • Recipient of numerous awards, including the President’s Outstanding Faculty Award for Scholarly and Creative Activity, CSU San Marcos (2001); the National Award for Research (2003) and the National Award of Excellence in Mentorship (2005), both from the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse (2005); and the Award for Education in Neuroscience, from the Society for Neuroscience (2013)

Keith A. Trujillo, Ph.D., has been a professor in the Department of Psychology at California State University San Marcos for more than 22 years and has served as director of the Office for Training, Research and Education in the Sciences (OTRES) for the past seven.

Dr. Trujillo is committed to mentoring and training underrepresented minority students in the STEM disciplines. As the director of OTRES, Trujillo oversees programs aimed at helping students succeed in the sciences and as professional researchers. OTRES’s student program includes financial support and a robust array of activities specifically designed to encourage empowerment, self-efficacy and identity as a scholar, specifically among first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students.

In addition to his work at CSU San Marcos, he is also co-director of the Summer Program in Neuroscience, Ethics and Survival (SPINES), which strives to increase diversity in neuroscience by providing professional development and networking opportunities to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups. Trujillo is also the principal investigator of a $1 million grant supporting SPINES at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Trujillo’s 1991 research article on the role of the neurotransmitter glutamate in drug tolerance and dependence is one of the most-cited papers in the field of pain relief. The article and subsequent papers have contributed significantly to the understanding of brain plasticity in response to drugs, with relevance to pain, analgesia and addiction.

​Trujillo received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine and his bachelor’s from California State University, Chico.

“You can’t be what you can’t see," notes Trujillo. "Many students from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups have little exposure or understanding of graduate studies or careers in research. Through my work, I open their eyes to potential careers that take them beyond their undergraduate work, and I provide the tools and resources they need to seriously pursue these careers.”​