Justin Rhodes

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Justin S. Rhodes
Born (1972-03-26) March 26, 1972 (age 42)
New York City, United States
Residence Champaign, Illinois
Citizenship United States
Nationality American
Fields Psychology
Institutions University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Alma mater University of Wisconsin-Madison
Stanford University
Doctoral advisor Theodore Garland Jr.

Justin S. Rhodes (born March 26, 1972) is an American neuroscientist and a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[1] He is affiliated with the Neuroscience Program, Program of Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation Biology, Institute for Genomic Biology, and the Neurotech group at Beckman Institute.[2][3][4][5] After receiving a Bachelor of Science in biology at Stanford University, Rhodes went on to purse a PhD in Zoology. Under the supervision of Theodore Garland, Jr., he obtained his PhD in 2002 from University of Wisconsin-Madison. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Oregon Health & Science University, he held a position as an instructor at Lewis & Clark College for a year before accepting a full-time faculty position in 2005 in the biological division of the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois. He is an emerging scientist in the field of neuroscience with research interests in exercise-induced hippocampal neurogenesis, neural circuitry involved in addictive behaviors, and brain plasticity in clownfish.


Dr. Justin Rhodes has a vast array of research interests relating to neuronal plasticity. One interest includes understanding the role of voluntary exercise via wheel running in inducing the formation of new neurons in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. His research in this area has contributed to scientific literature in understanding neurogenesis that is directly related to voluntary wheel-running distances.[6] A major goal with this research would be to understand the biological organization, from gene and protein expressions, that regulate neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

He is also the co-founder of the Drinking in the Dark (DID) model in mice. In this model, a specific mouse strain is found to voluntarily drink to the levels of intoxication.[7] Many drugs used to treat alcoholism in humans have shown to reduced ethanol consumption in mice used for the DID model.[8][9][9]

Another interest includes understanding the impact of drug addiction in changing neural circuitry. Research from his lab has shown that adult and adolescent mice given equal amounts of cocaine display significant differences in locomotor stimulation.[10] His research has also shown that voluntary behaviors such as exercise could activate the neurobiological pathways as alcohol and drug addiction.[11] Most recently, his lab is investigating the role of exercise and its impact of drug associative learning.[12] As a career project, Dr. Rhodes is dedicated to understanding the evolution of behavior by selectively breeding for hyperactive mice. The overall goal is to identify how genes regulate multiple levels of biological organization.[13]

Currently, Rhodes has also established a marine biology laboratory to research and understand brain plasticity in clownfish undergoing sex change as a result of removal of the largest female from the group.[14][15][16]


In addition to his research, Justin Rhodes also teaches neuroscience classes at the University of Illinois.

Awards and Honors[edit]

Representative Publications[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Dr. Rhodes lives with his wife and two sons in Champaign, Illinois. His hobbies include traveling and deep sea diving.


  1. ^ "Justin Rhodes at Department of Psychology" (Official web page). UIUC. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  2. ^ "Justin Rhodes at Department of Neuroscience" (Official web page). UIUC. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  3. ^ "Faculty for PEEC" (Official web page). UIUC. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  4. ^ "Affiliate of IGB" (Official web page). UIUC. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  5. ^ "Faculty for Beckman Institute" (Official web page). UIUC. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  6. ^ "How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain" (Article). New York Times. 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  7. ^ "Alcoholism (test): Biomodels" (Article). Biomodels. 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-20. 
  8. ^ Gupta, T; Syed, YM; Revis, AA; Miller, SA; Martinez, M; Cohn, KA; Demeyer, MR; Patel, KY et al. (2008). "Acute effects of acamprosate and MPEP on ethanol Drinking-in-the-Dark in male C57BL/6J mice". Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research 32 (11): 1992–8. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2008.00787.x. PMID 18782337. 
  9. ^ a b Kamdar, NK; Miller, SA; Syed, YM; Bhayana, R; Gupta, T; Rhodes, JS (2007). "Acute effects of naltrexone and GBR 12909 on ethanol drinking-in-the-dark in C57BL/6J mice". Psychopharmacology 192 (2): 207–17. doi:10.1007/s00213-007-0711-5. PMID 17273875. 
  10. ^ "Teen brain less sensitive to cocaine?" (Article). Futurity. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  11. ^ "Rhodes Probes Causal Mechanisms of Voluntary Behaviors" (Article). Beckman Institute News. 2007. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  12. ^ "How Exercise Can Prime the Brain for Addiction" (Article). New York Times. 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  13. ^ "Rhodes Research" (Article). Beckman Institute. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  14. ^ "Explorer's Guide: Anemone Clownfish" (Article). Shedd Aquarium. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  15. ^ "Nemo Meets Neuroscience" (Article). Beckman Institute. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  16. ^ "Investigating Sex-Changing Clownfish (featuring Justin Rhodes)" (Video). Beckman Institute. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  17. ^ "IBANGS Awards" (Webpage). IBANGS. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  18. ^ "Helen Petit Scholar" (Webpage). Department of Psychology. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  19. ^ "MSP Advisor of Year" (Webpage). College of Medicine - University of Illinois. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 

External links[edit]