Associate Professor
Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies
Department of Psychiatry

Office | 6125A Thurston-Bowles Bldg, CB#7178
Email | jbesheer@med.unc.edu
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

Histone deacetylases mediate GABAA receptor expression, physiology, and behavioral maladaptations in rat models of alcohol dependence. Bohnsack JP, Hughes BA, O’Buckley TK, Edokpolor K, Besheer J, Morrow AL. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2018 Feb 27. doi: 10.1038/s41386-018-0034-8. PMID:29520058

Functional role for cortical-striatal circuitry in modulating alcohol self-administration. Jaramillo AA, Randall PA, Stewart S, Fortino B, Van Voorhies K, Besheer JNeuropharmacology. 2018 Mar 1;130:42-53. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.11.035. Epub 2017 Nov 26. PMID:29183687

Functional role for suppression of the insular-striatal circuit in modulating interoceptive effects of alcohol. Jaramillo AA, Agan VE, Makhijani VH, Pedroza S, McElligott ZA, Besheer JAddict Biol. 2017 Sep 27. doi: 10.1111/adb.12551.  PMID:28960802

Glutamate plasticity woven through the progression to alcohol use disorder: a multi-circuit perspective. Hwa L, Besheer J, Kash T. F1000Res. 2017 Mar 21;6:298. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.9609.1. eCollection 2017. Review. PMID:28413623

Sex differences in alcohol self-administration and relapse-like behavior in Long-Evans rats. Randall PA, Stewart RT, Besheer JPharmacol Biochem Behav. 2017 May;156:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2017.03.005. Epub 2017 Mar 25. PMID: 28347737