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Brooke Bender, Ph.D.

Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies


University of Pittsburgh


Joyce Besheer, Ph.D.


I graduated from Dickinson College in 2017 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and minors in Chemistry and Religion. As an undergraduate, I began to develop a broad interest in how genetics and environmental factors impact neural circuits in the brain, and how these impacts affect learning and decision-making that can contribute to psychiatric disorders. I received my PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh in 2023 in the Torregrossa Lab in the Translational Neuroscience Program examining the neural circuits underlying associative learning that contribute to drug use and relapse behavior in rodent models. As a graduate student, I found it very fulfilling to mentor undergraduate and masters students in the lab, and I also enjoyed my teaching assistant positions and giving guest lectures. At UNC Chapel Hill, I am a member of the Besheer Lab in the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, and I will continue my research in rodent models studying how stress and drug exposure impact the neural circuits involved in the interoceptive effects of drugs and learning and memory. I am looking forward to continuing my research and gaining additional teaching experience through the SPIRE fellowship.