Cullinan received his bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from Marquette in 1981 and earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Virginia in 1991. He did post-doctoral research at the University of Michigan's Mental Health Research Institute (1991-1995) before joining the Marquette faculty in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in 1995. His research laboratory, which has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, focuses on stimulatory and inhibitory brain circuits that regulate neuroendocrine responses to stress, and whose dysfunction leads to neuropsychiatric illness. He has authored numerous research articles and book chapters on functional neuroanatomy, stress neurobiology, and neuroendocrinology.
Cullinan teaches courses in anatomy, neuroanatomy and neuroscience to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as to medical and dental students and medical residents. He received the university’s John P. Raynor, S.J., Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in 2002, and the John P. Raynor Professorship in 2006. He also established and directs a unique annual neuroanatomical dissection and neuroscience review course that draws a large national audience to Marquette each summer.
Cullinan established the Integrative Neuroscience Research Center (INRC) in 2001. The INRC serves to promote the exchange of ideas amongst Marquette faculty members, thereby increasing opportunities for collaborative research in neuroscience and neurorehabilitation, acquisition of resources, attraction of high quality faculty and students, and strengthening of educational offerings. The center is comprised of over 30 faculty members and serves students and faculty by providing a richer neuroscience environment, as well as the provision of summer research apprenticeships within the research laboratories of center members. The INRC enables Marquette University to use its collective strength in neuroscience to further establish a reputation for excellence in this highly visible and expanding field.