Dr. Katharine Northcutt

Professor of Biology

Director of Neuroscience Program

EducationDr. Katharine Northcutt

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



Research Interest

Dr. Northcutt’s main research interests are the neurobiology and neuroendocrinology of social behavior. She is 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 Dr. Northcutt is also exploring the neural underpinnings of these sex differences. Finally, she is interested in how hormones, including estrogens, androgens, and thyroid hormones, affect the development of typical social behavior.

Recent Publications

  • Northcutt, KV, Leal-Medina, TS, Yoon, YS (2021). Early postnatal hypothyroidism reduces juvenile play behavior, but prenatal hypothyroidism compensates for these effects. Physiology & Behavior, 241: 113594.
  • Northcutt, KV (2021). Cooperative group learning in undergraduate neuroscience: using simulations to complement problem-solving assignments. The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 19(2): A201-209.
  • de Silva, C, Pullen, J, Northcutt, K, and Jenkins J (2019). An authentic research project in animal behavior as an introductory physics laboratory exercise, The Physics Teacher, 57: 618.
  • Northcutt, KV and Nwankwo, V (2018). Sex differences in juvenile rat play differ among rat strains, Developmental Psychobiology, 60: 903–912.
  • 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.

Contact Dr. Katharine Northcutt

(478) 301-2348
Office: Godsey Science Center, Room 326