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 212)
  • Current Issues in Biology (BIO 250)
  • Comparative Animal Physiology (BIO 325)
  • Neurobiology (BIO 435)
  • Understanding Self and Others (INT 101)



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.  Juvenile males of most species play more than females, and I also plan to explore the neural underpinnings of this sex difference, and investigate the effects of hormones during development on these neural networks. I am also investigating sex differences in play behaviors, and the way that this varies among various rat strains.

Recent Publications

  1. Northcutt, KV (2016). Student-designed service-learning projects in an undergraduate neurobiology course, Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, 17(1): 90-92.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.