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.
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 JB. 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 JB, 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.
J. B. Becker, 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