Dr. Jill B Becker
The goal of my research is to understand the relations between behavior and neuronal activity associated with the ascending dopamine projections to the striatum and nucleus accumbens. Research on this topic has evolved into two major research themes. One theme investigates the role of ovarian hormone modulation of the striatum and accumbens in sexual behavior and motivation to engage in sexual behavior in the female rat. A second theme investigates gender differences in drug abuse. Finally, we are interested in the mechanisms mediating the rapid effects of estradiol in the brain which are fundamental in the sex differences in motivated behaviors.
Research Support: Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship (2020), Rackham Precandidate Research Grant (2018), National Institute on Drug Abuse Diversity Supplement Fellowship (2016)
Chris grew up in Spring Valley, NY, and graduated from UPenn with a B.A. in the Biological Basis of Behavior. After graduating, he spent 3 years as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Heath Schmidt at UPenn, where he studied neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying drug-taking and seeking behaviors. He joined the Biopsychology graduate program and the Becker Lab in the fall of 2018. His research interests include evaluating sex differences in the neural systems mediating motivated behavior and drug abuse. His current project is about characterizing how G-Protein Coupled Receptor-1 (GPER1) activity differentially modulates dopamine signaling in male and female rats' dorsal-lateral striatum (DLS). When Chris isn't in the lab, he enjoys watching movies and video games.
Ivette grew up in Torrance, California, and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology & a B.A. in Spanish from San Diego State University. At SDSU, Ivette worked in Dr. Jennifer Thomas’ lab looking at prenatal exposure to THC & alcohol & its effect on motor coordination. She joined the Biopsychology graduate program & the Becker Lab in Fall 2019. Her research interests include understanding the relationship between social behavior and drug-taking behavior. Her current project looks at how different housing conditions can affect dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens and methamphetamine self-administration. When she’s not in the lab, Ivette enjoys baking & exploring nature.
Brandon D Luma
Brandon has been working as a tech in the Becker Lab since 2003. He enjoys helping others with their science dreams. He likes to design tools, equipment, and efficient ways of coordinating experiments.
Hobbies include music, fixing the truck, and house.
Kristin came to Ann Arbor from Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she graduated with a Biology degree from Calvin University in 2018. During her time at Calvin, Kristin participated in grassland bird conservation and habitat restoration, which introduced her to research and reinforced her love of working with animals. She has enjoyed observing the role animals play not only in the natural world, but also in education as she worked at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, and now in research here in the Becker Lab. Outside of the lab, Kristin likes summer backpacking, cross-stitching, and snuggles with her cat.
Hibah Mirza Chughtai
Hibah came to Ann Arbor from New Delhi, India, and graduated in 2022 with degrees in Physics and Psychology from the University of Michigan. During her time at Michigan, she was involved in physics laboratories and helped develop experiments in the Department of Physics. That, combined with her involvement in psychopathology courses and neuropsychology projects led her to working at the Becker Lab. When not at work, she enjoys writing, spending time with her tabby cat and fixing old computers.
Current Undergraduate Students