Joyce Besheer, Ph.D.

Associate ProfessorJoyce Besheer, Ph.D.
Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies
Department of Psychiatry

Office | 6125A Thurston-Bowles Bldg, CB#7178
Email |
Lab Website | Besheer Lab
Biographical Sketch | PDF


Research Interests

My research interests include studying the neurobiological mechanisms underlying alcoholism and addiction. These interests include studying the neurobiology of the subjective/interoceptive effects of alcohol, nicotine, and nicotine and alcohol combined. All drugs of abuse share the common attribute that they produce subjective/interoceptive effects in humans (for example, the feeling of “drunkenness” or “high”). Understanding these underlying mechanisms is important because subjective drug effects can contribute to ongoing drug taking and relapse. Our preclinical work takes a multidisciplinary approach to examine how stress can impact sensitivity to the subjective effects of alcohol, alcohol drinking and relapse, with a mechanistic focus on adaptations in the underlying neurobiology. I am also interested in how drug states/cues (such as alcohol and nicotine) can come to control behavior and impact these cues have on ongoing drinking and relapse. Together, these studies have numerous implications for the development of therapeutic interventions in alcoholism and for identifying factors that influence pathological behavioral processes in addiction, such as drug taking and relapse.

Recent Publications

Click here to see the full list of Publications from PubMed

Modulation of sensitivity to alcohol by cortical and thalamic brain regions.  Jaramillo AA, Randall PA, Frisbee S, Besheer J. Eur J Neurosci. 2016 Oct;44(8):2569-2580. doi: 10.1111/ejn.13374.  PMID:27543844

The nicotine + alcohol interoceptive drug state: contribution of the components and effects of varenicline in rats.  Randall PA, Cannady R, Besheer J. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2016 Aug;233(15-16):3061-74. doi: 10.1007/s00213-016-4354-2.  PMID:27334469

 Gabapentin potentiates sensitivity to the interoceptive effects of alcohol and increases alcohol self-administration in rats.  Besheer J, Frisbee S, Randall PA, Jaramillo AA, Masciello M. Neuropharmacology. 2016 Feb;101:216-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2015.09.027.  PMID:26415538

Activation of mGluR2/3 following stress hormone exposure restores sensitivity to alcohol in rats.  Jaramillo AA, Randall PA, Frisbee S, Fisher KR, Besheer J. Alcohol. 2015 Sep;49(6):525-32. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2015.03.008.  PMID:26142564

The role of varenicline on alcohol-primed self-administration and seeking behavior in rats.  Randall PA, Jaramillo AA, Frisbee S, Besheer J. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Jul;232(14):2443-54. doi: 10.1007/s00213-015-3878-1. PMID:25656746