Jeff Beeler

Jeff Beeler - Professor -  profile photo

Research Interests

  • Dopamine, basal ganglia, corticostriatal plasticity, systems/circuit level investigation in awake-behaving animals, addiction, obesity, anorexia nervosa, mouse models


  • Ph.D. in Neurobiology, University of Chicago
  • M.S.W. in Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)

Office Hours

By Appointment

My lab focuses on behavioral flexibility and motivation with a focus on dopamine mechanisms in the basal ganglia.  We use mouse genetic, viral and pharmacological tools to dissect the neural substrates mediating behavior, with an emphasis on using semi-naturalistic homecage paradigms to study adaptive behavior.  The lab is currently in the process of setting up physiological techniques to better assess underlying mechanisms in the behavior we are studying, including optogenetics and cyclic voltammetry and, through collaboration, slice electrophysiology. There are two umbrella projects within the lab: (1) Aberrant learning and plasticity associated with dopamine denervation, including its role in the symptoms, course and treatment of PD and, (2) an alternative hypothesis on dopamine that suggests the primary function of dopamine is to adapt energy expenditure to the energy economy in which the organism finds itself.  Within this latter project, the emphasis is on obesity and addiction.

Professional Affiliations

  • Society for Neuroscience

Courses Taught

  • Molecular Neuroscience, Clinical Psychopharmacology, Neuroscience II


  • Gnazzo, F.G., Mourra, D., Guevara, C. and Beeler, J.A. (2021). Chrinic food restriction enhances dopamine mediated intracranial self-stimulation. NeuroReport, 32(13), pp1128-1133.
  • Beeler, J.A. and Burghardt, N.S. (2021). Activity-based Anorexia for Modeling Vulnerability and Resilience in Mice. Bio-proticol 11(9): e4009. DOI: 10.21769/BioProtoc.4009.
  • Beeler, J.A., and Burghardt, N.S. (2021). Commenatry on Vulnerability and Resilience to Activity-Based Anorexia and the Role of Dopamine. Journal of Experimental Neurology, 2, 21-28.
  • Beeler, J.A., Mourra, D., Zanca, R.M., Kalmbach, A., Gellman, C., Klein, B.Y., Ravenelle, R., Serrano, P., Moore, H., Rayport, S., et al. (2020). Vulnerable and Resilient Phenotypes in a Mouse Model of Anorexia Nervosa. Biological Psychiatry S0006322320317443.
  • Mourra, D. Gnazza, F., Cobos, S. and Beeler J.A, (2020) Striatal dopamine D2 receptors regulate cost sensitivity and behavioral thrift. Neuroscience, 425, pp. 134-145. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2019.11.002.
  • Beeler, J.A. and Dreyer, J.K. (2019) Synchronicity: The role of midbrain dopamine in whole-brain coordination. eNeuro, 6(2). doi: 10.1523/ENEURO.0345-18.2019
  • Koranda, J. and Beeler, J.A. (2019). Nicotine in aberrant learning and corticostriatal plasticity. In The Neuroscience of Nicotine: Mechanisms and Treatment. Ed., V.R. Preedy, Elseivier, Inc., pp. 181-189
  • Beeler, J.A., and Mourra, D. (2018). To Do or Not to Do: Dopamine, Affordability and the Economics of Opportunity. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience 12.
  • Meyers, A.M., Mourra, D., and Beeler, J.A. (2017). High fructose corn syrup induces metabolic dysregulation and altered dopamine signaling in the absence of obesity. PLoS ONE 12.
  • Xia, J, Meyers, A.M., and Beeler, J.A. (2017). Chronic nicotine alters corticostriatal plasticity in the striatopallidal pathway mediated by NR2B-containing silent synapses. Neuropsychopharmacology, Nov; 42(12):2314-2324. Epub 2017 May 2.
  • Koranda, J., Krok, A.C., Xu, J., McGehee, D.S., Beeler, J.A., Zhuang, X. (2016). Chronic nicotine mitigates aberrant inhibitory motor learning induced by motor experience under dopamine deficiency, J Neurosci. 36 (19), 228-5240.  
  • Jakowec, MW, Wang, Z, Holschneider, D, Beeler J, Petzinger, GM (2016) Engaging cognitive circuits to promote motor recovery in degenerative disorders: Exercise as a learning modality. Journal of Human Kinetics, v52, 35-51.
  • Beeler, JA, Faust, RP, Turkson, S, Ye, H. and Zhuang, X. (2016). Low dopamine D2 receptor increases vulnerability to obesity via reduced physical activity not increased appetitive motivation. Biological Psychiatry, 79(11), 887-897.
Jeff Beeler - Professor -  profile photo

Office Hours

By Appointment