Behavioral Neuroscience

Section 1

Behavioral Neuroscience (Biological Division)

Program Description

The members of the Behavioral Neuroscience program area use neuroscience techniques mostly (but not exclusively) in animals to understand how the brain works to produce behavior. The program is strongly research oriented and each student works directly with a faculty mentor. Topics that individual researchers explore include neural plasticity, hormonal effects on neural development, adolescence, drugs of abuse and addiction, mechanisms of eating, behavior, and the effects of exercise. The faculty and students in Behavioral Neuroscience interact with other program areas in Psychology as well as the campus-wide Neuroscience Program.


The curriculum is tailored to the individual student's interests and goals. The only course requirements are those set by the department and the weekly Proseminar in Psychology for Behavioral Neuroscience. Most students take courses in the various biology departments outside of Psychology as part of the department's minor requirement. Participation in research is emphasized and each student presents a first year project by the end of their third semester in graduate school.

Facilities and Resources

Faculty laboratories are either in the Psychology Building or in the interdisciplinary Beckman Institute. There are animal housing facilities in both buildings. In addition, all faculty and students have access to group facilities for such techniques as electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Affiliated Departments, Programs and Institutes

All of the faculty in Behavioral Neuroscience are also members of the campus-wide Neuroscience Program. There are also close ties to the interdisciplinary Beckman Institute and to several departments within the Schools of Molecular and Cellular Biology and of Integrative Biology. Faculty and students in Behavioral Neuroscience also interact with the Institute for Genomic Biology.

Behavioral Neuroscience Faculty

Joshua Gulley, Associate Professor

User Photo

Neurobiology of drug and alcohol addiction, with an emphasis on behavioral and physiological analyses of brain reward pathways in animal models of drug taking and repeated drug exposure.

Office: Room 515 | (217) 265-6413 |

Janice M. Juraska, Professor

Photo of Janice M. Juraska

The effects of sex, hormones (especially gonadal) and the environment on brain structure and of behavioral abilities in rats across during development, adolescence and aging.

Office: Room 509 | (217) 333-8546 |

Nu-Chu Liang, Assistant Professor

Photo of Assistant Professor Nu-Chu Liang

Mechanisms of aberrant eating behaviors, reward and motivation, orosensory reward processing, stress effects on feeding and diet preference/choice.

Office: Room 513 | (217) 244-7873 |

Robert Wickesberg, Associate Professor


To discover the cues that are used to recognize speech, we examine how speech is encoded in the peripheral auditory system.

Office: Room 511 | (217) 333-1147 |


Associated Faculty

Michael Coles, Professor Emeritus

Michael Coles

The utility of measures of brain activity, derived using non-invasive procedures, in understanding human cognitive function.

Office: Room 509 | (217) 333-2122 |

Emanuel Donchin, Professor Emeritus

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Electrocortical measures and cognitive activities. Current research is concerned with the interpretation of components of the event related brain potential (ERP) as manifestations of cognitive activity.

Prof. Donchin is currently at the University of South Florida| (813) 974-0466 |

Roberto Galvez, Teaching Assistant Professor, Carle Illinois School of Medicine

Photo of Assistant Professor Roberto Galvez

Analysis of learning induced neocortical plasticity and the underlying mechanism(s) throughout development and in neurological disorders.

Office: Room 2351 Beckman Institute | (217) 244-0391 |

Joseph G. Malpeli, Professor Emeritus


Neurophysiology of the mammalian visual system.

Office: Room 530 | (217) 265-6207 |


Facilities Information

Building Remodeling Projects

Click on the title to check out these pictures from the classroom remodeling project in the basement. A second project to replace the elevators will begin in September. Beginning with the freight elevator, each elevator will be out of service for three months. To get quickly from one floor to another, and improve your fitness, we will encourage the use of the stairs. The repainting of the northeast stairwell has been completed, and the painter is starting on the southwest stairwell.