Justin S. Rhodes's directory photo.

Justin S. Rhodes


Primary Affiliation

Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition


Status Affiliate Faculty

Home Department of Psychology

Phone 265-0021


Address 2061 Beckman Institute, 405 North Mathews Avenue

  • Biography

    Justin S. Rhodes received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Oregon Health & Science University and an instructor at Lewis & Clark College. He is presently an Assistant Professor in the University of Illinois Department of Psychology, Neuroscience Program, Institute for Genomic Biology and a full-time faculty member in the Beckman Institute NeuroTech Group. His fields of research interests are behavior genetics and neurobiology of motivation and addiction, and effects of exercise on brain function and cognition using mice as a model organism.

  • Research

    Dr. Rhodes is broadly interested in exploring how genes and environment affect voluntary behavior. His early research involved a selective breeding experiment in which mice were bred to display extremely high levels of voluntary physical exercise on running wheels. Results of pharmacological studies and brain imaging suggested that the neural basis of high running shared many features in common with that of motivation to self-administer drugs of abuse. One of the main focuses of his current research program is to study the extent to which the physiological bases of natural forms of motivation (such as motivation for food, sex or exercise) overlap with drug-induced motivation.

    Current projects include:

    1. Using high-resolution brain imaging (immunohistochemical detection of c-Fos and Zif268) to identify brain regions that become activated when mice are placed into an environment where they had previously received a drug of abuse and comparing these responses to when a natural reward, such as food or exercise, is used for the conditioning.
    2. Continuing to develop mouse models that self administer intoxicating doses of ethanol to study the neural and genetic basis of excessive alcohol drinking.
    3. Using selective breeding to develop lines of mice that display extremely high levels of physical activity in their home cages to study effects of genetic hyperactivity on learning and memory, aging, stress, responses to drugs of abuse and more generally to identify the genetic basis of hyperactivity and relationship to drug addiction.
    4. Studying the effects of exercise on the morphology and physiology of the mouse brain to understand how exercise can improve learning and memory with an emphasis on relating the animal research to current human findings. Techniques include pharmacology, brain imaging, gene expression profiling, selective breeding, comparisons across standard inbred strains, and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping.

    Dr. Rhodes' research is currently funded by NIH/NIAAA.

  • 2016

    • Pence, B. D.; Gibbons, T. E.; Bhattacharya, T. K.; Mach, H.; Ossyra, J. M.; Petr, G.; Martin, S. A.; Wang, L.; Rubakhin, S. S.; Sweedler, J. V.; McCusker, R. H.; Kelley, K. W.; Rhodes, J. S.; Johnson, R. W.; Woods, J. A., Effects of Exercise and Dietary Epigallocatechin Gallate and Beta-Alanine on Skeletal Muscle in Aged Mice. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism 2016, 41, (2), 181-190.


    • Cognitive Function. Faseb Journal 2015, 29.
    • Conrad, M. S.; Harasim, S.; Rhodes, J. S.; Van Alstine, W. G.; Johnson, R. W., Early Postnatal Respiratory Viral Infection Alters Hippocampal Neurogenesis, Cell Fate, and Neuron Morphology in the Neonatal Piglet. Brain Behavior and Immunity 2015, 44, 82-90.
    • Hamilton, G. F.; Majdak, P.; Miller, D. S.; Bucko, P. J.; Merritt, J. R.; Krebs, C. P.; Rhodes, J. S., Evaluation of a C57bl/6j X 129s1/Svimj Hybrid Nestin-Thymidine Kinase Transgenic Mouse Model for Studying Exercise-Induced Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis. Brain Plasticity 2015 83-95.
    • Hamilton, G. F.; Rhodes, J. S., Animal Models of Exercise-Brain Interactions, In Exercise-Cognition Interaction: Neuroscience Perspectives. McMorris, T., Ed.; Conner, M., San Diego, CA, 2015, Ch. 3, 43-58.
    • Hamilton, G. F.; Rhodes, J. S., Exercise Regulation of Cognitive Function and Neuroplasticity in the Healthy and Diseased Brain. Progress in Molecular Biology and Translation 2015, 135, 381-406.
    • Il Park, S.; Shin, G.; Banks, A.; McCall, J. G.; Siuda, E. R.; Schmidt, M. J.; Chung, H. U.; Noh, K. N.; Mun, J. G. H.; Rhodes, J.; Bruchas, M. R.; Rogers, J. A., Ultraminiaturized Photovoltaic and Radio Frequency Powered Optoelectronic Systems for Wireless Optogenetics. Journal of Neural Engineering 2015, 12, (5).
    • Rendeiro, C.; Rhodes, J. S.; Spencer, J. P. E., The Mechanisms of Action of Flavonoids in the Brain: Direct Versus Indirect Effects. Neurochemistry International 2015, 89, 126-139.
    • Romanova, E. V.; Rubakhin, S. S.; Ossyra, J. R.; Zombeck, J. A.; Nosek, M. R.; Sweedler, J. V.; Rhodes, J. S., Differential Peptidomics Assessment of Strain and Age Differences in Mice in Response to Acute Cocaine Administration. Journal of Neurochemistry 2015, 135, (5), 1038-1048.


    • Kelly, S. A.; Rezende, E. L.; Chappell, M. A.; Gomes, F. R.; Kolb, E. M.; Malisch, J. L.; Rhodes, J. S.; Mitchell, G. S.; Garland, T., Exercise Training Effects on Hypoxic and Hypercapnic Ventilatory Responses in Mice Selected for Increased Voluntary Wheel Running. Experimental Physiology 2014, 99, (2), 403-413.
    • Yaeger, C.; Ros, A. M.; Cross, V.; Deangelis, R. S.; Stobaugh, D. J.; Rhodes, J. S., Blockade of Arginine Vasotocin Signaling Reduces Aggressive Behavior and C-Fos Expression in the Preoptic Area and Periventricular Nucleus of the Posterior Tuberculum in Male Amphiprion Ocellaris. Neuroscience 2014, 267, 205-218, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.02.045.


    • Dabe, E. C.; Majdak, P.; Bhattacharya, T. K.; Miller, D. S.; Rhodes, J. S., Chronic D-Amphetamine Administered from Childhood to Adulthood Dose-Dependently Increases the Survival of New Neurons in the Hippocampus of Male C57bl/6j Mice. Neuroscience 2013, 231, 125-135.
    • Garcia-Fuster, M. J.; Rhodes, J. S.; Mandyam, C. D., The Role of Dentate Gyrus Neurogenesis in Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Neural Plasticity 2013 2, DOI: 10.1155/2013/584382.
    • Kohman, R. A.; Bhattacharya, T. K.; Kilby, C.; Bucko, P.; Rhodes, J. S., Effects of Minocycline on Spatial Learning, Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Microglia in Aged and Adult Mice. Behavioural Brain Research 2013, 242, 17-24.
    • Kohman, R. A.; Bhattacharya, T. K.; Wojcik, E.; Rhodes, J. S., Exercise Reduces Activation of Microglia Isolated from Hippocampus and Brain of Aged Mice. Journal of Neuroinflammation 2013, 10, 9, DOI: 10.1186/1742-2094-10-114.
    • Kohman, R. A.; Rhodes, J. S., Neurogenesis, Inflammation and Behavior. Brain Behavior and Immunity 2013, 27, 22-32.
    • Rhodes, J., Exercise-Induced Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis. Alcoholism-Clinical and Experimental Research 2013, 37, 275A-275A.


    • Clark, P. J.; Bhattacharya, T. K.; Miller, D. S.; Kohman, R. A.; DeYoung, E. K.; Rhodes, J. S., New Neurons Generated from Running Are Broadly Recruited into Neuronal Activation Associated with Three Different Hippocampus-Involved Tasks. Hippocampus 2012, 22, (9), 1860-1867.
    • Clint, E. K.; Sober, E.; Garland, T.; Rhodes, J. S., Male Superiority in Spatial Navigation: Adaptation or Side Effect? Quarterly Review of Biology 2012, 87, (4), 289-313.
    • Kohman, R. A.; Clark, P. J.; DeYoung, E. K.; Bhattacharya, T. K.; Venghaus, C. E.; Rhodes, J. S., Voluntary Wheel Running Enhances Contextual but Not Trace Fear Conditioning. Behavioural Brain Research 2012, 226, (1), 1-7.
    • Kohman, R. A.; DeYoung, E. K.; Bhattacharya, T. K.; Peterson, L. N.; Rhodes, J. S., Wheel Running Attenuates Microglia Proliferation and Increases Expression of a Proneurogenic Phenotype in the Hippocampus of Aged Mice. Brain Behavior and Immunity 2012, 26, (5), 803-810.
    • Mustroph, M. L.; Chen, S.; Desai, S. C.; Cay, E. B.; Deyoung, E. K.; Rhodes, J. S., Aerobic Exercise Is the Critical Variable in an Enriched Environment That Increases Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Water Maze Learning in Male C57bl/6j Mice. Neuroscience 2012, 219, 62-71.


    • Bulwa, Z. B.; Sharlin, J. A.; Clark, P. J.; Bhattacharya, T. K.; Kilby, C. N.; Wang, Y. Y.; Rhodes, J. S., Increased Consumption of Ethanol and Sugar Water in Mice Lacking the Dopamine D2 Long Receptor. Alcohol 2011, 45, (7), 631-639.
    • Clark, P. J.; Kohman, R. A.; Miller, D. S.; Bhattacharya, T. K.; Brzezinska, W. J.; Rhodes, J. S., Genetic influences on exercise-induced adult hippocampal neurogenesis across 12 divergent mouse strains. Genes Brain and Behavior 2011, 10, (3), 345-353. 
    • Kohman, R. A.; Rodriguez-Zas, S. L.; Southey, B. R.; Kelley, K. W.; Dantzer, R.; Rhodes, J. S., Voluntary Wheel Running Reverses Age-Induced Changes in Hippocampal Gene Expression. PLoS One 2011, 6, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022654.
    • Mulligan, M. K.; Rhodes, J. S.; Crabbe, J. C.; Mayfield, R. D.; Harris, R. A.; Ponomarev, I., Molecular Profiles of Drinking Alcohol to Intoxication in C57BL/6J Mice. Alcoholism-Clinical and Experimental Research 2011, 35, (4), 659-670.
    • Mustroph, M. L.; Stobaugh, D. J.; Miller, D. S.; DeYoung, E. K.; Rhodes, J. S., Wheel Running Can Accelerate or Delay Extinction of Conditioned Place Preference for Cocaine in Male C57BL/6J Mice, Depending on Timing of Wheel Access. European Journal of Neuroscience 2011, 34, (7), 1161-1169.
    • Zombeck, J. A.; DeYoung, E. K.; Brzezinska, W. J.; Rhodes, J. S., Selective Breeding for Increased Home Cage Physical Activity in Collaborative Cross and Hsd:ICR Mice. Behavior Genetics 2011, 41, (4), 571-582.


    • Johnson, Z. V.; Revis, A. A.; Burdick, M. A.; Rhodes, J. S., A similar pattern of neuronal Fos activation in 10 brain regions following exposure to reward- or aversion-associated contextual cues in mice. Physiology & Behavior 2010, 99, (3), 412-418.
    • Clark, P. J.; Kohman, R. A.; Miller, D. S.; Bhattacharya, T. K.; Haferkamp, E. H.; Rhodes, J. S., Adult hippocampal neurogenesis and c-Fos induction during escalation of voluntary wheel running in C57BL/6J mice. Behavioural Brain Research 2010, 213, (2), 246-252. 
    • Zombeck, J. A.; Lewicki, A. D.; Patel, K.; Gupta, T.; Rhodes, J. S., Patterns of Neural Activity Associated with Differential Acute Locomotor Stimulation to Cocaine and Methamphetamine in Adolescent Versus Adult Male C57bl/6j Mice. Neuroscience 2010, 165, (4), 1087-1099.
    • Zombeck, J. A.; Swearingen, S. P.; Rhodes, J. S., Acute locomotor responses to cocaine in adolescents vs. adults from four divergent inbred mouse strains. Genes Brain and Behavior 2010, 9, (8), 892-898.


    • Clark, P. J.; Brzezinska, W. J.; Puchalski, E. K.; Krone, D. A.; Rhodes, J. S., Functional Analysis of Neurovascular Adaptations to Exercise in the Dentate Gyrus of Young Adult Mice Associated With Cognitive Gain. Hippocampus 2009, 19, (10), 937-950.
    • Crabbe, J. C.; Metten, P.; Rhodes, J. S.; Yu, C. H.; Brown, L. L.; Phillips, T. J.; Finn, D. A., A Line of Mice Selected for High Blood Ethanol Concentrations Shows Drinking in the Dark to Intoxication. Biological Psychiatry 2009, 65, (8), 662-670.
    • Zombeck, J. A.; Gupta, T.; Rhodes, J. S., Evaluation of a pharmacokinetic hypothesis for reduced locomotor stimulation from methamphetamine and cocaine in adolescent versus adult male C57BL/6J mice. Psychopharmacology 2009, 201, (4), 589-599.


    • Clark, P. J.; Brzezinska, W. J.; Thomas, M. W.; Ryzhenko, N. A.; Toshkov, S. A.; Rhodes, J. S., Intact neurogenesis is required for benefits of exercise on spatial memory but not motor performance or contextual fear conditioning in C57BL/6J mice. Neuroscience 2008, 155, (4), 1048-1058.
    • Gupta, T.; Syed, Y. M.; Revis, A. A.; Miller, S. A.; Martinez, M.; Cohn, K. A.; Demeyer, M. R.; Patel, K. Y.; Brzezinska, W. J.; Rhodes, J. S., Acute Effects of Acamprosate and MPEP on Ethanol Drinking-in-the-Dark in Male C57BL/6J Mice. Alcoholism-Clinical and Experimental Research 2008, 32, (11), 1992-1998.
    • Zombeck, J. A.; Chen, G. T.; Johnson, Z. V.; Rosenberg, D. M.; Craig, A. B.; Rhodes, J. S., Nueroanatomical specificity of conditioned responses to cocaine versus food in mice. Physiology & Behavior 2008, 93, (3), 637-650.


    • Kamdar, N. K.; Miller, S. A.; Syed, Y. M.; Bhayana, R.; Gupta, T.; Rhodes, J. S., Acute effects of Naltrexone and GBR 12909 on ethanol drinking-in-the-dark in C57BL/6J mice. Psychopharmacology 2007, 192, (2), 207-217.
    • Rhodes, J. S.; Ford, M. M.; Yu, C. H.; Brown, L. L.; Finn, D. A.; Garland, T.; Crabbe, J. C., Mouse inbred strain differences in ethanol drinking to intoxication. Genes Brain and Behavior 2007, 6, (1), 1-18.


    • Krugner-Higby, L.; Girard, I.; Welter, J.; Gendron, A.; Rhodes, J. S.; Garland, T., Clostridial enteropathy in lactating outbred Swiss-derived (ICR) mice. Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science 2006, 45, (6), 80-87.


    • Rhodes, J.S.; Best, K.; Belknap, J.K.; Finn, D.A.; Crabbe, J.C., Evaluation of a simple model of ethanol drinking to intoxication in C57BL/6J mice. Physiology & Behavior 2005, 84, 53-63.
    • Rhodes, J.S.; Crabbe, J.C., Gene expression induced by drugs of abuse. Current Opinion in Pharmacology 2005, 5, 26-33.
    • Rhodes, J.S.; Gammie, S.C.; Garland, T., Jr., Neurobiology of mice selected for high voluntary wheel running activity. Integrative and Comparative Biology 2005, 45, 438-455.
    • Rhodes, J.S.; Ryabinin, A.E.; Crabbe, J.C., Patterns of brain activation associated with contextual conditioning to methamphetamine in mice. Behavioral Neuroscience 2005, 119, 759-771.


    • Bronikowski, A.M.; Rhodes, J.S.; Garland, T., Jr.; Prolla, T.A.; Awad, T.; Gammie, S.C., The hippocampal gene expression profile of mice selectively bred for increased voluntary exercise. Evolution 2004, 58, 2079-2086.


    • Rhodes, J.S.; van Praag, H.; Jeffrey, S.; Girard, I.; Mitchell, G.S.; Garland, T., Jr.; Gage, F.H., Exercise increases hippocampal neurogenesis to high levels but does not improve spatial learning in mice bred for increased voluntary wheel running. Behavioral Neuroscience 2003, 117, 1006-1016.