Laura Elena O’Dell, Ph.D.

”Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.”

-Albert Szent-Györgyi (1893-92), Hungarian-born US biochemist.


Ph.D. Arizona State University
M.S. Arizona State University
B.A. Texas A & M University

Research Statement

Dr. O’Dell is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). She received her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Arizona State University. She conducted post-doctoral training at Amethyst Technologies and The Scripps Research Institute, where she was also a staff scientist. In recent years, Dr. O’Dell’s research program is focused on the neural mechanisms that promote tobacco use in vulnerable populations, such as adolescents, females, and persons with diabetes. Her laboratory combines neurochemical and molecular approaches with behavioral models to study the neural basis of addiction to substances, such as nicotine and alcohol. Her research program is supported by a R01 grant from the NIDA and a Basic Science Award from the American Diabetes Association.

About Me

Professor O’Dell has a deep interest in promoting students from diverse backgrounds, including minorities, women, low-income and first generation students. She understands the importance of educating students at many levels to increase their cultural capital to succeed in an academic setting. Her research program is built on a strong student-mentor foundation, and part of her mission is to instill confidence in her students to propel them towards success.