Behavioral Neuroscience

The graduate training program in Behavioral Neuroscience at Purdue focuses on understanding physiological, developmental, genetic and experiential mechanisms affecting behavior in animal models. The program is primarily oriented toward doctoral training. However, all students are required to complete a master's degree before continuing on for the doctorate. Faculty in the Behavioral Neuroscience area are currently undertaking studies designed to understand the roles of genes, learning and memory, sensory systems and dietary interventions of energy intake and body weight regulation; to examine neurobiology of eating disorders and stress; to determine how genes contribute to propensity for excess alcohol intake; to examine how neuroinflammation contributes to behavioral deficits in epilepsy; and to determine how the brain processes environmental fear and safety signals.

A number of interdisciplinary programs exists at Purdue also provide valuable training for Behavioral Neuroscience students. Of particular interest is the Purdue University Neuroscience Program. This program organizes regular lecture and colloquium series that bring distinguished neuroscientists to Purdue. In addition, the Purdue Ingestive Behavior Research Center provides seminars, symposia, journal clubs, and a core curriculum for graduate training. The emphasis on interdisciplinary graduate education and the availability of shared, state-of-the-art, facilities and resources set the stage for a wide variety of individual and collaborative research endeavors that are aimed at advancing understanding of the controls of ingestive behavior. 

Faculty Accepting New Graduate Students for Fall 2018: 

Graduate Faculty

  • Amy L. Brewster, Ph.D.

    Dr. Brewster’s research examines mechanisms that underlie molecular and structural dendritic alterations and behavioral deficits in epilepsy

  • Julia A. Chester, Ph.D.

    Dr. Chester’s research focuses on the study of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors that influence development of major mental diseases such as addiction, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia

  • Edward A. Fox, Ph.D.

    Dr. Fox’s research focuses on brain-gut interactions mediated by the vagus nerve that regulate eating and bodyweight

  • Kimberly P. Kinzig, Ph.D.

    Dr. Kinzig’s research interests include neuroendocrine regulation of food intake and body weight, neurobiology of eating disorders and stress

  • Terry L. Powley, Ph.D.

    Dr. Powley’s research is focused on mapping and analyzing the nerve circuits in the brain and the body that control food intake

  • Susan Sangha, Ph.D.

    Dr. Sangha’s research examines mechanisms underlying fear suppression, using in vivo single-unit recording of neurons to examine how memories are formed, accessed and modulated.

  • Susan E. Swithers, Ph.D.

    Dr. Swithers’s research aims to understand the roles of learning, experience, and diet in the development of regulation of food intake and body weight as well as the influence of diet on cognitive performance in females.

Research Faculty

  • Robert J. Phillips, Ph.D.

    Dr. Phillips focuses on the autonomic nerve circuits with which the brain coordinates gastrointestinal tract functions and regulates food intake.

Affiliated Faculty

Courtesy Appointment:

Post-Doctoral Researchers

Departmental Bridge Topics

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