Josephine M. Johns, Ph.D.

Associate ProfessorJohns
Department of Psychiatry
Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies

Office | 424 Taylor Hall
Email | jjohns@med.unc.edu
Lab Website | Behavioral Pharmacology, Toxicology, Teratology, and Neuroendocrinology


Research Interests

In our laboratory, we study the effects of drugs of abuse, particularly psychostimulants, on maternal behavior and aggression and how prenatal exposure to drugs alters the behavioral and biological development of offspring in a rodent model. Our research techniques range from behavioral to molecular, which allows us in collaboration with other scientists, to examine these issues from many different perspectives. We also collaborate on human research projects focusing on the endocrine determinants of social/maternal behavior, particularly following drug use. The interaction between oxytocin and drugs of abuse as it relates to these effects plays a prominent role in our work. Our recent projects have also included studies using an alcohol/nicotine combined gestational treatment model to examine effects on maternal behavior, offspring alcohol preference and oxytocin system changes.

Recent Publications

Click here for a full list of publications from PubMed

    Delayed developmental changes in neonatal vocalizations correlates with variations in ventral medial hypothalamus and central amygdala development in the rodent infant: Effects of prenatal cocaine. Cox ET, Hodge CW, Sheikh MJ, Abramowitz AC, Jones GF, Jamieson-Drake AW, Makam PR, Zeskind PS, Johns JM. Behav Brain Res. 2012 Aug 4. [Epub ahead of print]

    The translational role of diffusion tensor image analysis in animal models of developmental pathologies. Oguz I, McMurray MS, Styner M, Johns JM.Dev Neurosci. 2012;34(1):5-19. Epub 2012 May 24.

    Prenatal Cocaine Disrupts Serotonin Signaling-Dependent Behaviors: Implications for Sex Differences, Early Stress and Prenatal SSRI Exposure.Williams SK, Lauder JM, Johns JM. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2011 Sep;9(3):478-511.

    Chronic cocaine exposure during pregnancy increases postpartum neuroendocrine stress responses. Williams SK, Barber JS, Jamieson-Drake AW, Enns JA, Townsend LB, Walker CH, Johns JM. J Neuroendocrinol. 2012 Apr;24(4):701-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2826.2012.02291.

    Development of translational methods in spectral analysis of human infant crying and rat pup ultrasonic vocalizations for early neurobehavioral assessment. Zeskind PS, McMurray MS, Garber KA, Neuspiel JM, Cox ET, Grewen KM, Mayes LC, Johns JM. Front Psychiatry. 2011;2:56. Epub 2011 Oct 24.

    Use of High Resolution 3D Diffusion Tensor Imaging to Study Brain White Matter Development in Live Neonatal Rats. Cai Y, McMurray MS, Oguz I, Yuan H, Styner MA, Lin W, Johns JM, An H. Front Psychiatry. 2011;2:54. Epub 2011 Oct 10.

    Disruption of maternal parenting circuitry by addictive process: rewiring of reward and stress systems. Rutherford HJ, Williams SK, Moy S, Mayes LC, Johns JM.Front Psychiatry. 2011;2:37. Epub 2011 Jul 6.

    Cocaine Exposure and Children's Self-Regulation: Indirect Association via Maternal Harshness. Eiden RD, Schuetze P, Veira Y, Cox E, Jarrett TM, Johns JM.Front Psychiatry. 2011;2:31. Epub 2011 May 31.

    Combined norepinephrine/serotonergic reuptake inhibition: effects on maternal behavior, aggression, and oxytocin in the rat. Cox ET, Jarrett TM, McMurray MS, Greenhill K, Hofler VE, Williams SK, Joyner PW, Middleton CL, Walker CH, Johns JM. Front Psychiatry. 2011;2:34. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

    Effects of chronic and intermittent cocaine treatment on dominance, aggression, and oxytocin levels in post-lactational rats. Johns JM, McMurray MS, Joyner PW, Jarrett TM, Williams SK, Cox ET, Black MA, Middleton CL, Walker CH. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2010 Aug;211(2):175-85.