Dr. Katharine Northcutt

Associate Professor of Biology

Director of Neuroscience Program

EducationDr. Katharine Northcutt

  • B.S., Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology, Emory University
  • Ph.D., Neuroscience, Michigan State University

Courses Taught

  • Anatomy and Physiology II (BIO 203)
  • Introduction to Biology (BIO 21)
  • Current Issues in Biology (BIO 250)
  • Comparative Animal Physiology (BIO 325)
  • Neurobiology (BIO 435)
  • Understanding Self and Others (INT 101)
  • Capstone Seminar in Neuroscience (NEU 400)



Research Interest

My main research interests are the neurobiology and neuroendocrinology of social behavior. I am particularly interested in neurochemical systems that influence the social interactions of juveniles (particularly play behavior in rats), and the ways that these systems change throughout adolescence, resulting in a decrease in affiliative behavior in adults. In addition, there are marked sex differences in the degree to which play occurs in some rat strains, and I am also exploring the neural underpinnings of these sex differences. Finally, I am interested in how hormones, including estrogens, androgens, and thyroid hormones, affect the development of typical social behavior.

Recent Publications

  • Smith, SG and Northcutt, KV (2018). Perinatal hypothyroidism increases play behaviors in juvenile rats. Hormones and Behavior 98: 1-7.
  • Northcutt, KV (2016). Student-designed service-learning projects in an undergraduate neurobiology course. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, 17: 90-92.
  • Northcutt, KV and Nguyen, JK (2014). Juvenile play behavior elicits Fos expression in dopaminergic neurons of the ventral tegmental area in female rats. Behavioral Neuroscience 128: 178-186.
  • Byron, CD, VanValkinburgh, D, Northcutt, KV, and Young, V (2013). Plasticity in the cerebellum and primary somatosensory cortex relating to habitual and continuous slender branch climbing in laboratory mice (Mus musculus). The Anatomical Record 296: 822-833.
  • Williams, B, Northcutt, KV, Rusanowsky, R, Mennella, T, Quadros-Mennella, P, and Lonstein, JS (2013). Progesterone receptor expression in the brain of the monogamous prairie vole: Sex differences and regulation by gonadal hormones. Brain Research 1499: 12-20.
  • Ahmed, EI, Northcutt, KV, and Lonstein, JS (2012). L-amino acid decarboxylase- and tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive cells in the extended olfactory amygdala and elsewhere in the adult prairie vole brain. Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 43: 76-85.
  • Northcutt, KV and Lonstein, JS (2011). Neuroanatomical projections of the species-specific tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive cells of the male prairie vole bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and medial amygdala. Brain, Behavior and Evolution 77: 176-192.
  • Northcutt, KV and Lonstein, JS (2009). Social contact elicits immediate-early gene expression in dopaminergic cells of the male prairie vole extended olfactory amygdala. Neuroscience 163: 9-22.
  • Pazol, K, Northcutt, KV, Patisaul, HB, Wallen, K, and Wilson, ME (2009). Progesterone and medroxyprogesterone acetate differentially regulate ?4 subunit expression of GABAA receptors in the CA1 hippocampus of female rats. Physiology and Behavior 97: 58-61.
  • Northcutt, KV and Lonstein, JS (2008). Sex differences and effects of neonatal aromatase inhibition on masculine and feminine copulatory potentials in prairie voles. Hormones and Behavior 54(1): 160-169.
  • Morris, JA, Jordan, CL, King, ZA, Northcutt, KV, and Breedlove, SM (2008). Sexual dimorphism and steroid responsiveness of the posterodorsal medial amygdala in adult mice. Brain Research 1190: 115-121.
  • Northcutt, KV, Wang, Z, and Lonstein, JS (2007). Sex and species differences in tyrosine hydroxylase-synthesizing cells of the rodent olfactory extended amygdala. Journal of Comparative Neurology 500(1): 103-115.


Contact Dr. Katharine Northcutt

(478) 301-2348