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

  1. Smith, SG and Northcutt, KV (2018). Perinatal hypothyroidism increases play behaviors in juvenile rats. Hormones and Behavior 98: 1-7.
  2. Northcutt, KV (2016). Student-designed service-learning projects in an undergraduate neurobiology course. Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, 17: 90-92.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.