Research opportunities

WELCOME!!! I'm happy that we have sparked your interest in our research program. Students wishing to gaining undergraduate research experience should check out the Undergraduate Research Opportunities section just below.

 

Individuals interested in the graduate program in Neuroscience and Behavior, as well as graduate research opportunities available in my lab should check that section out (see below)

 

Folks interested in a post-doctoral position in the lab should e-mail Dr. Bevins at rbevins1@unl.edu regarding availability. Include a brief statement of interest and CV with that e-mail.

 

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Are you considering applying to graduate or professional school?  If yes, getting significant research experience is critical for the success of your graduate/professional school application. Think you are interested in biomedicine, psychopharmacology, behavioral neuroscience, or biopsychology?  The best way to find out is to get involved in related research.  Focused and highly motivated undergraduate research assistants have always been an important part of the success of the Behavioral Neuropharmacology Laboratory.  This importance is evidenced by their authorship on conference presentations and publications.

A selection of recent student contributions to publications (* indicates undergraduate contribution).

  • Wilkinson JL, Murray JE, Li C*, Wiltgen SM*, Penrod RD*, Berg SA*, & Bevins RA (2006) Interoceptive Pavlovian conditioning with nicotine as the conditional stimulus varies as a function of number of conditioning trials and unpaired sucrose deliveries. Behavioural Pharmacology, 17, 161-172.
  • Murray JE, Wells NR*, Lyford GD*, & Bevins RA (2009) Investigation of endocannabinoid modulation of conditioned responding evoked by a nicotine CS and the Pavlovian stimulus effects of CP 55,940 in adult male rats. Psychopharmacology, 205, 655-665.
  • Reichel CM, Murray JE, Barr JD*, & Bevins RA (2010) Extinction with varenicline and nornicotine, but not ABT-418, weakens conditioned responding evoked by the interoceptive stimulus effects of nicotine. Neuropharmacology, 58, 1237-1245.
  • Murray JE, Walker AW*, Li C*, Wells NR*, Penrod RD*, & Bevins RA (2011) Nicotine trained as a negative feature passes the retardation-of-acquisition and summation tests of a conditioned inhibitor. Learning & Memory, 18, 452-458.
  • Charntikov S, Swalve N, Pittenger S, Fink K*, Schepers S*, Hadlock GC, Fleckenstein AE, Hu G, Li M, & Bevins RA (2013) Iptakalim attenuates self-administration and acquired goal-tracking behavior controlled by nicotine. Neuropharmacology, 75, 138-144.
  • Polewan RJ, Savala SA*, & Bevins RA (2013) Interoceptive conditioning with the nicotine stimulus: Extinction learning as a method for assessing stimulus similarity across doses. Behavioural Pharmacology, 24, 45-54.
  • Charntikov S, deWit N*, & Bevins RA (2014) Interoceptive conditioning with nicotine using extinction and re-extinction to assess stimulus similarity with bupropion. Neuropharmacology, 86, 181-191.
  • Pittenger ST, Zeplin LC*, Dwoskin LP, & Bevins RA (2015) The effect of switching pharmacological intervention during extinction on nicotine-evoked conditioned responding in rats. Psychopharmacology, 232, 4347-4358.
  • Barrett ST, Geary TN*, Steiner AN*, & Bevins RA (in press) Sex differences and the role of dopamine receptors in the reward-enhancing effects of nicotine and bupropion. Psychopharmacology.
  • Charntikov S, Falco AM, Fink K*, Dwoskin LP, & Bevins RA (in press) Sazetidine-A in combination with other ligands affects appetitive responding controlled by nicotine: Import of sex. Neuropharmacology.

A selection of recent student contributions to presentations (* indicates undergraduate contribution).

  • Linkugel JD*, Reichel CM, & Bevins RA (2007, May) Nicotine as a conditioned stimulus: Impact of ADHD medications. 79th Midwestern Psychological Association Conference, IL.
  • Lyford GD*, Murray JE, & Bevins RA (2007, May) Cannabinoid mediation of the interoceptive CS effects of nicotine. 79th Midwestern Psychological Association Conference, IL.
  • Li C*, Linkugel JD*, Fullner JD*, & Bevins RA (2007, November) Imbuing nicotine with inhibitory properties: Evidence that the nicotine drug state can function as a conditioned inhibitor. 37th Annual Meeting of Society for Neuroscience, CA.
  • Linkugel JD*, Sanderson SC*, Reichel CM, & Bevins RA (2007, November) Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist substitution for the conditioned stimulus effects of nicotine. 37th Annual Meeting of Society for Neuroscience, CA.
  • Williams JM*, Lyford GD*, Murray JE, & Bevins RA (2007, November) NMDA receptor channel blockers, but not competitive antagonists, block nicotine-evoked conditioned responding in an appetitive Pavlovian drug discrimination task. 37th Annual Meeting of Society for Neuroscience, CA.
  • Wells NR*, Walker AW*, Li C*, Fullner JD*, Linkugel JD*, Murray JE, & Bevins RA (2008, November) The pharmacological effects of nicotine acquire response inhibition properties through conditioning processes. 38th Annual Meeting of Society for Neuroscience, DC.
  • Wells NR*, Volf NT*, Walker AW*, & Bevins RA (2009, October) Weakening nicotine-evoked conditioned responding: Assessing transfer of extinction learning with bupropion. 39th Annual Meeting of Society for Neuroscience, IL.
  • Tracy ME*, Barrett ST, & Bevins RA (2009, October) The behavioral effects of tramadol in an unbiased place conditioning procedure. 39th Annual Meeting of Society for Neuroscience, IL.
  • Polewan RJ, Tracy ME*, Hoffman L, & Bevins RA (2010, Nov) Conditioned stimulus effects of nicotine and varenicline substitution in female rats. 40th Annual Meeting of Society for Neuroscience, CA.
  • Charntikov S, Wells NR*, Fink KM*, Ihle CC*, & Bevins RA (2011, May) Extinction and re-extinction of a nicotine-evoked CR with bupropion. Society for Quantitative Analysis of Behavior, CO.
  • Walker AW*, Li C*, Murray JE, & Bevins RA (2012, Jan) An interoceptive nicotine stimulus functions as a conditioned inhibitor in rats: Implications for modulating tobacco addiction. 32nd Annual Australian Neuroscience Society Conference, Gold Coast, Queensland.
  • Charntikov S, Fink K*, Schepers S*, Durham CE, Dwoskin LP, & Bevins RA (2013, March) Investigation of combination treatments in an animal preclinical model of interoceptive conditioning with nicotine. 2013 Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco. MA.
  • Pittenger S, Zeplin LC*, & Bevins RA (2013, Nov) The effect of switching pharmacological intervention on nicotine-evoked conditioned responding in extinction. 43nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, CA.
  • Barrett ST, Geary TN*, Steiner AN*, Pudiak CM, & Bevins RA (2015, February) Nicotine, bupropion, and varenicline enhance reinforcer demand in male and female rats.  Annual Meeting of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco, PA.
  • Barrett S, Lyon SR*, Pittenger ST, Duszenko N*, & Bevins RA (2015, Oct) Evaluating the reward-enhancing effects of nicotine on ethanol self-administration in male and female rats. 45th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, Chicago, IL.
  • Barrett ST, Thompson BM*, Pittenger ST, Larsen CE*, Emory JR*, & Bevins RA (2016, Nov) Nicotine alters demand for alcohol reinforcement in male and female Sprague-Dawley and Wistar rats.  46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.
  • Thompson BM*, Barrett ST, Emory JR*, Larsen CE*, Peer AM*, Pittenger ST, & Bevins RA (2016, Nov) Interoceptive conditioning and reversal learning with the nicotine and varenicline stimulus. 46th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

If you are interested, contact Dr. Bevins (rbevins1@unl.edu); include in that e-mail why you are interested, your major, and how much longer you will be at UNL or in Lincoln (we have also trained students from Nebraska Wesleyan!)  The type of research conducted in the lab requires at least a 2-semester (or 1 semester/summer) committment, and there is the potential to develop your own honors thesis. Here are some recent ones:

  • Jill Rosno (2007) Nicotine as a conditioned stimulus: Extinction learning in rat models. Honors Thesis: Department of Psychology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Ayako Masuda (2008) Effects of mecamylamine on nicotine as an occasion setter in a Pavlovian drug discrimination task in rats. Honors Thesis: Department of Psychology, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Nicole Wells (2009) Weakening nicotine-evoked conditioned responding: Assessing transfer of extinction learning with bupropion. Honors Thesis: Department of Psychology, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Andrew Walker (2010) Training nicotine as a negative feature results in retarded acquisition of a nicotine-evoked conditioned response in an appetitive Pavlovian conditioning task in rats. Honors Thesis: Department of Psychology, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Tra-My Hoang (2011) Investigating the effects of bupropion on sucrose-response in female rats. Honors Thesis: Department of Psychology, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Amy Steiner (2014) Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer with nicotine as an interoceptive stimulus. Honors Thesis: Department of Psychology, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln.
  • Shelby Lyon (underway)
  • Christopher Larsen (underway)

Doctoral Training in Neuroscience & Behavior

Considering graduate school in behavioral neuroscience, behavioral pharmacology, or biopsychology?  Consider the highly individualized training program in the Behavioral Neuropharmacology Laboratory at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Established in 1996 in the Department of Psychology, we use preclinical animal models to behavioral and pharmacological processes related to drug use and addiction.  Since this time, my graduate students have contributed significantly to projects examining drugs as conditional cues, behavioral and neuropharmacological processes mediating conditioned sensitization, similarity between drug and novelty reward, individual differences in response to drugs, potential immune- and pharmaco-therapies against drug addiction, and interoceptive conditioning processes.  Support during graduate training typically comes from a combination of research assistantships, usually funded by grants, and teaching assistantships from the Department of Psychology.  This balance can prepare you to be competitive for a variety of post-doctoral career options.  Applications are submitted online.

 

If interested…

 

- Explore our laboratory, the Psychology Department, and the Neuroscience and Behavior Program

 

- Read a few of our recent papers (complete pub list)

 

- Get a graduate student’s perspective by contacting a former or current graduate student.

 

- Contact Dr. Bevins (rbevins1@unl.edu) with your interest and any questions about the lab or program.