Justin Rhodes

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Justin S. Rhodes
Born (1972-03-26) March 26, 1972 (age 45)
New York City, United States
Residence Champaign, Illinois
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Alma mater University of Wisconsin-Madison, Stanford University
Scientific career
Fields Psychology, neuroscience
Institutions University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Doctoral advisor Theodore Garland, Jr.

Justin S. Rhodes (born March 26, 1972) is an American neuroscientist and an associate 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, the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, and the Neurotech group at Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology.[1] After receiving a Bachelor of Science in biology at Stanford University, Rhodes obtained a PhD in zoology in 2002 from University of Wisconsin-Madison, under the supervision of Theodore Garland, Jr.. 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.


Rhodes research interests relate 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.[2] A major goal of this research would be to understand the biological organization, from gene and protein expressions, that regulate neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

Rhodes was one of the developers of the Drinking in the Dark model in mice. In this model, a specific mouse strain is found to voluntarily drink to the levels of intoxication. Many drugs used to treat alcoholism in humans have been shown to lead to reduced ethanol consumption in mice used in this model.[3][4]

Another interest includes understanding changes in neural circuitry due to drug addiction. Research from his lab has shown that adult and adolescent mice given equal amounts of cocaine display significant differences in locomotor stimulation.[5] His research has also shown that voluntary behaviors such as exercise could activate the same neurobiological pathways as alcohol and drug addiction.[6] Most recently, his lab is investigating the impact of exercise on drug associative learning.[7] As a career project, Rhodes tries to understand the evolution of behavior by selectively breeding for hyperactivity in mice. The overall goal is to identify how genes regulate multiple levels of biological organization.[8]

Currently, Rhodes has also established a marine biology laboratory to research brain plasticity in clownfish undergoing sex change as a result of removal of the largest female from the group.[9][10]

Awards and honors[edit]

Notable publications[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Justin Rhodes". Department of Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  2. ^ "How Exercise Could Lead to a Better Brain" (Article). New York Times. 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  3. ^ Gupta, T; Syed, YM; Revis, AA; Miller, SA; Martinez, M; Cohn, KA; Demeyer, MR; Patel, KY; Brzezinska, WJ; Rhodes, JS (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): 1992–1998. PMID 18782337. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2008.00787.x. 
  4. ^ 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. PMID 17273875. doi:10.1007/s00213-007-0711-5. 
  5. ^ "Teen brain less sensitive to cocaine?". Futurity. 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-04. [third-party source needed]
  6. ^ "Rhodes Probes Causal Mechanisms of Voluntary Behavior". Beckman Institute. 2007. Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2011-01-04. [third-party source needed]
  7. ^ "How Exercise Can Prime the Brain for Addiction". New York Times. 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-12. 
  8. ^ Rhodes, JS. "Research". Beckman Institute. Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  9. ^ "Explorer's Guide: Anemone Clownfish". Shedd Aquarium. Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 
  10. ^ "Nemo Meets Neuroscience". Beckman Institute. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  11. ^ "IBANGS Awards". International Behavioural and Neural Genetics Society. Retrieved 2011-01-04. 

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