Department of Psychology Title The Ohio State University

Behavioral Neuroscience Program


In addition to the seven full-time faculty in the Psychology Department, the Behavioral Neuroscience (BN) group also benefits from clinical, cognitive and social neuroscience faculty in the department, as well as faculty in allied departments who conduct research on the biological mechanisms underlying behavior. The Ohio State University has one of the largest Behavioral Neuroscience groups in the US. Several research themes in BN are currently represented at Ohio State including Behavioral Pharmacology, Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuroendocrinology, Behavioral Genetics, Learning and Memory, Sensory Neuroscience, Neural Trauma and Regeneration, and Neuroethology and Behavioral Ecology.

Behavioral Neuroscience Faculty

John Bruno: Professor, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1980 (Biopsychology). Neurobiology of executive cognitive functions such as attention and working memory. Neurochemical mechanisms underlying cognitive dysfunctions in schizophrenia; with an emphasis on the regulation of prefrontal acetylcholine and glutamate release Development and validation of animal models of executive function deficits and the identification of novel medications that will enhance cognitive function. Neural and behavioral plasticity after damage to the developing nervous system. (Joint appointment with Neuroscience and Psychiatry) Psychology Building 57, 292-1770;

Laurence Coutellier: Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Justus Liebig University of Giessen, Germany, 2008 (Behavioral Genetics). Role of genetic and environmental factors in the development of neural circuits regulating social and cognitive functions. Special focus on mouse models of autism and schizophrenia, prefrontal cortex-dependent memory, social anxiety, GABAergic circuits. (Joint appointment with Neuroscience) Psychology Building 53, 688-227;

Bennet S. Givens: Associate Professor, Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1989 (Behavioral Neuroscience). Physiology and Pharmacology of cognitive processes; neural mechanisms underlying ethanol-induced cognitive deficits; electrophysiological correlates of memory and attention in rat (Joint appointment with Neuroscience) Psychology Building 55, 292-0385;

Elizabeth Kirby: Role of adult neural stem and progenitor cells in hippocampal function and response to injury. Special focus on the secretome of undifferentiated endogenous stem and progenitors in the adult hippocampus and it's role in neuroprotection after injury. Hippocampal-dependent behavior and cognition. Psychology building 55;
Kathryn Lenz: Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2009. (Psychology & Neuroscience). Understanding the mechanisms that shape brain development and lifelong behavior, with a focus on the interactions between nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Investigating how hormones and innate immune cells in the brain, such as microglia and mast cells, contribute to normal brain development and sex differences in the brain. (Joint appointment with Neuroscience) Psychology Building 45; 292.8565;
Benedetta Leuner: Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Rutgers University, 2005 (Biopsychology). Experience and hormone driven changes in brain structure and function. Specific interests focus on the hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex; adult neurogenesis, dendritic spine alterations and dendritic remodeling; cognitive, emotional and social behaviors including learning, memory, attention, anxiety, reproduction and maternal care; and neuropeptide hormones, particularly oxytocin. (Joint appointment with Neuroscience) Psychology Building 51, 292-5218;

Derick Lindquist: Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Yale University, 2004 (Behavioral Neuroscience). Research explores the neurobiology of learning and memory, focusing on particular brain substrates activated in response to the acquisition and expression of Pavlovian or classical conditioning. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) rat model used to explore ethanol’s neurotoxic effects on forebrain neurodevelopment and function in adult rats. (Joint appointment with Neuroscience) Psychology Building 49, 292-2236;
Joseph E. Steinmetz: OSU Executive Vice President and Provost, Ph.D., Ohio University, 1983 (Psychology). Research examines in how neurons in the brain change during learning and memory. Research is largely at the vertebrate systems level, studying how neurons and groups of neurons interact within specific areas of the brain to produce behavioral function and cognition. The cerebellum and hippocampus have been of particular interest. Techniques include chronic recording of single cell activity, infusions of pharmacological agents into discrete brain regions, and temporary inactivation of brain structures and systems in awake, behaving mammals. 186 University Hall;
Gary L. Wenk: Professor, Ph.D., University of Cincinnati, 1980 (Neurotoxicology). Research is focused upon the consequences of chronic brain inflammation, aging and animal models of Alzheimer's disease. He has been interviewed about his work by many magazines and radio stations, including NPR, WBZ, WJR & WABC, numerous local and national television programs, including CNN, and was recently interviewed by Lucasfilm, Ltd. and Amanada Productions for a 2-hr TV documentary on the topic of cognitive enhancers. Psychology Building 47, 688-3404;

Behavioral Neuroscience Emeritus Faculty

Gary G. Berntson

Professor (Emeritus) Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1971. (Psychology and Life Sciences) Brainstem functions; autonomic nervous system; cardiovascular psychophysiology; psychobiology of fear and anxiety; ontogeny and phylogeny of cognitive processes; levels of functional organization within the central nervous system. (Joint appointment with Pediatrics and Psychiatry) Psychology Building 235, 292-1749;

Behavioral Neuroscience Joint Appointment Faculty

A. Courtney DeVries

Professor of Neuroscience; Ph.D. University of Maryland. Effects of stress on the histological and behavioral consequences of experimental stroke; stoke-induced behavioral alterations; role of stress hormones in motivated behaviors; psychobiology and behavioral endocrinology.

Randy J. Nelson

Professor of Neuroscience; Chair, Department of Neuroscience; Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley. Interactions among the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems on health; inflammatory disorders; development of the immune function and seasonal coping; brain plasticity; behavioral neuroendocrinology and seasonal behavior.

Herbert Newton

Professor, College of Medicine. M.D. State University of New York at Buffalo, 1984. Clinical Interests: Neuro-oncology, brain tumors, spinal cord tumors, chemotherapy, GBM, gliomas, molecular biology, neuro-sarcoidosis, brain metastases, spinal cord compression. Research Interests: Brain tumors, chemotherapy, molecular therapeutics, clinical trials.

John F. Sheridan

Professor of Oral Biology; Ph.D. Rutgers. Psychoneuroimmunology; viral immunology; cytokine and chemokine gene expression during infection (influenza, herpes simplex and coxsackie viruses); stress-induced modulation of anti-viral immune responses and viral pathogenesis; aging and the immune response to viral infection; aging and gene expression during wound healing; patterns and kinetics of gene expression for cytokines, chemokines and growth factors during cutaneous wound healing. Joint appointment in Psychology.

Joseph B. Travers

Professor of Oral Biology; Ph.D. University of Wyoming, 1979. Sensorimotor neurophysiology; neuroanatomy; neuropharmacology; brainstem function. Joint appointment in Psychology.

Susan P. Travers

Professor of Oral Biology; Ph.D. University of Wyoming, 1980. Sensory neurophysiology; gustatory information processing; taste/eating/drinking; oral tactile and thermal sensations. Joint appointment in Psychology.

See the Neuroscience major website for a full listing of OSU Neuroscience faculty.