Jill Becker, Ph.D.

Research Professor, Michigan Neuroscience Institute
Patricia Y. Gurin Collegiate Professor of Psychology, Chair of Biopsychology, Department of Psychology
Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry
Senior Scholar, Neuroscience Program
Reproductive Sciences Program

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


Areas of Interest

For more than 30 years, Jill Becker has studied sex differences in and sexual differentiation of the neural systems that mediate drug abuse and motivation.

The overarching goal of her research, conducted with laboratory rat models, is to tie behavioral measures to underlying neurobiological mechanisms. The findings from her basic research parallel well what is reported in the clinical literature, for example, that women accelerate drug taking more rapidly than do men. 

Her early research demonstrated that there is a sex difference in dopamine release from the striatum, that this sex difference is affected by neonatal and adolescent hormone manipulations, and that estradiol modulates the release of dopamine in the striatum of female rats.

Current projects in her lab include studying the following in rat models:

  • The effects of psychomotor stimulants on behavior
  • How ovarian hormones act in the brain to influence drug-taking behaviors
  • The neural mechanisms that mediate sex differences in preferences for cocaine and cocaine-taking behavior
  • The brain mechanisms that mediate the effect of estradiol on changing a female’s motivation for food to motivation for a mate

Published Articles or Reviews

The rodent vaginal microbiome across the estrous cycle and the effect of genital nerve electrical stimulation.
Levy M, Bassis CM, Kennedy E, Yoest KE, Becker JB, Bell J, Berger MB, Bruns TM. PLoS One. 2020 Mar 12;15(3):e0230170. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230170. eCollection 2020.

Ovarian Hormones Mediate Changes in Adaptive Choice and Motivation in Female Rats.
Yoest KE, Cummings JA, Becker JB.
Front Behav Neurosci. 2019 Nov 12;13:250. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2019.00250. eCollection 2019.

Analysis of sex differences in pre-clinical and clinical data sets.
Beltz AM, Beery AK, Becker JB. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2019 Dec;44(13):2155-2158. doi: 10.1038/s41386-019-0524-3. Epub 2019 Sep 17. No abstract available.

Estradiol-Induced Potentiation of Dopamine Release in Dorsal Striatum Following Amphetamine Administration Requires Estradiol Receptors and mGlu5.
Song Z, Yang H, Peckham EM, Becker JB. eNeuro. 2019 Feb 13;6(1). pii: ENEURO.0446-18.2019. doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0446-18.2019. eCollection 2019 Jan-Feb.

For a complete list, visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Becker+JB%5BAuthor%5D

Web Sites