Faculty Mentors

Jill Becker, PhD

Biopsychology Area Chair
Patricia Y Gurin Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Molecular Neuroscience Institute 
University of Michigan

Dr. Jill Becker is a Professor of Psychology and Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute at the University of Michigan. Her research laboratory focuses on sex differences in and sexual differentiation of the neural systems mediating drug abuse and motivation for over thirty years.  Her early research laid the groundwork for these studies by demonstrating that there is a sex difference in dopamine release from the striatum, and has gone on to elucidate the mechanisms mediating the rapid and direct effect of estradiol on the striatum of females. Experiments Dr. Becker’s laboratory investigate the effects of psychomotor stimulants on behavior in rat and how ovarian hormones act in the brain to influence drug taking behaviors. More recently, Dr. Becker has been studying the neural mechanisms mediating sex differences in preference for cocaine and cocaine-taking behavior in the laboratory rat. Methods employed include in vivo microdialysis and fast scan cyclic voltammetry as well as drug self-administration and operant conditioning paradigms. In all experimental programs, Dr. Becker’s research seeks to tie the behavioral measures to underlying neurobiological mechanisms and her laboratory is currently funded by grants from the NIH and NSF.

Selected Publications:

Becker, J. B. (2022). Sex differences in addiction. Dialogues in clinical neurosciencePMID: 28179811;PMCID: PMC5286725.

Sanchis‐Segura, C., & Becker, J. (2016). Why we should consider sex (and study sex differences) in addiction research. Addiction Biology.

Becker, J. B., McClellan, M., & Reed, B. G. (2016). Sociocultural context for sex differences in addiction. Addiction Biology.

Becker, J. B., Molenda, H., & Hummer, D. L. (2001). Gender differences in the behavioral responses to cocaine and amphetamine. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences937(1), 172-187.