Dr. Christine M. Tenk

Dr. Christine Tenk

Job Title:

 Associate Professor, Psychology


 Full-Time Faculty




 519.432.8353 x28242


 Ursuline Hall 342

Academic Background

  • Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, Western University 
  • Ph.D., Neuroscience, Western University 
  • M.Sc., Neuroscience, Western University 
  • Hon.BSc., Biology & Psychology, University of Toronto 

Representative Publications

  • Tenk, C.M. & Mackay, L. (2019). Degree of food processing influences memory of food images in females. Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73, P3-34. 
  • Tenk, C. M., & Felfeli, T. (2017). Sucrose and fat content significantly affect palatable food consumption in adolescent male and female rats. Appetite, 118, 49-59. 
  • Tenk, C.M., Wilson, H., Zhang, Q., Pitchers, K.K. & Coolen, L.M. (2009). Sexual reward in male rats: Effects of sexual experience on conditioned place preferences associated with ejaculation and intromissions. Hormones and Behavior, 55, 93-97. 
  • Tenk, C.M., Foley, K.A., Kavaliers, M., & Ossenkopp, K.-P. (2007). Neonatal immune system activation with lipopolysaccharide increases behavioural sensitization to the dopamine agonist, quinpirole, in adult female but not male rats. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 21, 935-945. 

Representative Conferences 

  • Tenk, C.M. (2020, April 29). You’ve got a friend in me: creating connection and community in a large class [Talk]. Waterloo Teaching & Learning Conference, Waterloo, ON. (Conference canceled)  
  • Campbell, H., Sutton, J., Tenk, C.M., Twynstra, J. (2019, July 3-5). Success in an Ever-Changing World: Teaching and Learning Strategies for Incorporating Affective and Values-based Learning Outcomes into Science Classrooms [Talk]. Western Conference on Science Education, London, ON 
  • Tenk, C.M. (2016, May 11-13). Mindless eating in our toxic food environment [Keynote address]. Ontario Society of Nutrition Professionals in Public Health (OSNPPH) Nutrition Exchange. Toronto, ON.  

Areas of Teaching 

  • Behavioural and cognitive neuroscience 
  • Psychology of eating 
  • Statistics 
  • Psychopharmacology 
  • Biological psychology 

Research Specialization(s)

Life is good. Humans are biologically wired to respond to life’s pleasures. Primary rewards like food, sex, and social connection are naturally valuable because they are essential for the survival of one’s self and offspring. Other rewards, like drugs and money, hijack the same neural circuits causing similar pleasurable responses. I have always found people’s response to and experience of rewards fascinating. Early in my career, I researched responses to drug, sex and food reward using animal models. Later, I began investigating people and their responses to rewarding foods. More recently, I expanded my research to explore social connection. Social connection is not just rewarding, it is critically linked to our well-being. My research characterizes social connection and its outcomes in order to improve individual well-being and success especially in the context of teaching and learning.  

Awards and Recognition

  • 2014 Brescia's Excellence in Teaching Award 

Other Relevant Information

  • Concurrent appointment: Adjunct Research Professor, Department of Psychology, Western University