Behavioral Neuroscience


The behavioral neuroscience (BNS) laboratories are run by faculty members Matt McMurray, Jenn Quinn, and Anna Radke. We use animal models (rats and mice) to explore the neural mechanisms of learning and memory, emotion, reward and motivation, and decision making. We are interested in understanding how environmental exposures (e.g., stress or drug exposure) during development or adulthood alter these circuits and lead to conditions such as addiction and post-traumatic stress disorder. Our overlapping research interests allows for a high degree of productive collaboration within BNS. Collaboration with our colleagues in the Psychology Department is also a strong focus.

The BNS laboratories are located in the basement of the Psychology Building, with ample space for behavioral experiments (operant boxes, fear conditioning, mazes, open field, place conditioning, forced swim), a separate wet lab (immunohistochemistry, PCR, ELISAs, western blot, and bright field microscopy), and access to a state-of-the-art animal facility and equipment offered through the Center for Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics and Center for Advanced Microscopy and Imaging. We utilize cutting-edge techniques such as in vivo electrophysiology and chemogenetic manipulation of neural activity. 

Graduate students in the BNS laboratories work closely with their primary research advisor as well as other BNS faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Students interested in joining one of the BNS labs should apply to the Brain Cognitive and Developmental Sciences program.