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    By Alpha|By Interest|Emeritus

Jill Becker, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist, MBNI
Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry
Senior Neuroscience Scholar
Reproductive Sciences Program

1050 MBNI Building
205 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5720





Current Research Interests:

The goal of my research is to understand the relations between behavior and neuronal activity associated with the ascending dopamine projections to the striatum and nucleus accumbens. Research on this topic has evolved into two major research themes. One theme investigates the role of ovarian hormone modulation of the striatum and accumbens in sexual behavior and motivation to engage in sexual behavior in the female rat. A second theme investigates gender differences in drug abuse. Finally, we are interested in the mechanisms mediating the rapid effects of estradiol in the brain which are fundamental in the sex differences in motivated behaviors.

For more information, please visit the Becker Lab Website.


Selected Publications:

Becker, J.B., McClellan, M. L,Reed, B.G.,
Sex Differences, Gender and Addiction, Journal of Neuroscience Research, (2017). Jan 2;95(1-2):136-147. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23963. PMID: 27870394

Li, P., Becker, J.B., Heitzeg, M.M., McClellan, M.L., Reed, B.G. & Zucker,
Gender differences in the transmission of risk for antisocial behavior problems across generations, Plos One 2017 May 15;12(5):e0177288. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177288.

Becker, J.B.,
Sex Difference in Addiction, Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience 71 (Vol 18, No 4) (2016).

Becker, J.B., Prendergast, B.J., Liang, J.W. ,
Female rats are not more variable than male rats: a meta-analysis of neuroscience studies, Biology of Sex Differences, 2016 7:34 DOI 10.1186/s13293-016-0087-5.

Becker, J.B. and Koob,
GF Sex Differences in Animal Models: Focus on Addiction. Pharmacological Reviews, 2016 Apr;68(2):242-63. PMCID:PMC4813426

Perry, A. N., Westenbroek, C., Jagannathan, L and Becker, J.B.,
The roles of dopamine and a1-adrenergic receptors in cocaine preferences in female and male rats. Neuropsychopharmacology, 2015; 40(12):2696-704. doi: 10.1038/npp.2015.116. PMCID: PMC4864645

Yoest, K.E. Cummings, J.A. and Becker, J.B. ,
Estradiol, dopamine and motivation. Cent Nerv Syst Agents Med Chem. 2014;14(2):83-9. PMID:25540977.

Cummings, J.A., Jagannathan, K., Jackson, L., Becker, J.B. ,
Sex differences in the effects of estradiol in the nucleus accumbens and striatum on the response to cocaine: neurochemistry and behavior, Drug and Alcohol Dependence (2014) 135:22-28. PMCID: PMC3947194

Perry, A. N., Westenbroek, C., and Becker, J. B.,
The Development of a Preference for Cocaine Over Food Identifies Individual Rats with Addiction-like Behaviors (2013) PlosOne 2013 Nov 18;8(11):e79465. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079465.

Cummings, J. A, and Becker, J.B. ,
Quantitative Assessment of Female Sexual Motivation in the Rat: Hormonal Control of Motivation. Journal Neuroscience Methods, (2012) 204(2):227-233.

Zhao W, and Becker, J.B. ,
Sensitization enhances acquisition of cocaine self-administration in female rats: Estradiol further enhances cocaine intake after acquisition. Horm Behav. (2010) 58: 8-12.

Schultz, K.N., von Esenwein, S. A., Hu, M., Bennett, A. L., Kennedy, R. T., Musatov, S., Toran-Allerand, C. D., Kaplitt, M. G., Young, L. J., and Becker, J. B.
Viral Vector-Mediated Over-Expression of Estrogen Receptor–a in Striatum Enhances the Estradiol-induced Motor Activity in Female Rats and Estradiol Modulated GABA Release, Journal of Neuroscience, 2009;  29(6):1897-1903

Thomas, M. B., Hu, M., Lee, T. M., Bhatnagar, S., Becker, J. B.
Sex-specific susceptibility to cocaine in rats pre-exposed to prenatal stress, Physiology and Behavior 2009; 97(2):270-7.

Becker, J. B.
Sexual Differentiation of Motivation: a novel mechanism?  Hormones and Behavior 2009 55:646-654.

Zhao W, Becker, J. B.
Sensitization enhances acquisition of cocaine self-administration in female rats: Estradiol further enhances cocaine intake after acquisition.  Horm Behav. (2010) 58: 8-12.

Becker, J. B. and Hu, M. 
Sex differences in drug abuse.  Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 2008, 29: 36-47.

Becker, J. B., Monteggia LM, Perrot-Sinal TS, Romeo RD, Taylor JR, Yehuda R, and Bale TL. 
Stress and disease: is being female a predisposing factor?  J Neurosci. 2007, 27(44):11851-5.

Becker, J. B., K. Berkley, N. Geary, E. Hampson, J. P. Herman, and E. A. Young (EDS). 
Sex Differences in the Brain: from Genes to Behavior, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Jenkins, W. J. and Becker, J. B.
Dynamic increases in dopamine during paced copulation in the female rat. European Journal of Neuroscience. 18 (2003) 1997-2001.

Jenkins, W. J. and Becker, J. B.
Female rats develop conditioned place preferences for sex at their preferred interval. Hormones and Behavior 43 (2003) 503-507.

Xiao, L., Jackson, L. R. and Becker, J. B.
The effect of estradiol in the striatum is blocked by ICI182,780 but not tamoxifen: pharmacological and behavioral evidence. Neuroendocrinology 77 (2003) 239-245.

Hu, M., Crombag, H. C. Robinson and Becker, J. B.
The biological basis of sex differences in the propensity to self-administer cocaine. Neuropsychopharmacology 29 (2004) 81-85


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