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Jacqueline Barker

Jacqueline Barker, PhD

Assistant Professor

Department: Pharmacology & Physiology


  • PhD in Neuroscience - Yale University (2013)
  • BA in Psychology - Ohio Wesleyan University (2008)

Postgraduate Training / Additional Certifications

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship - Medical University of South Carolina

Jacqueline Barker, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Physiology at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Research Overview

Dr. Barker’s primary research interest is in dissecting the neural circuits that contribute to the development of neuropsychiatric illnesses characterized by inflexible behavior. Her lab combines traditional and cutting-edge techniques to investigate how these circuits function in an intact system to mediate behavioral flexibility, and how deficits in control over actions may result from insults such as drug and alcohol exposure.

Visit the Barker Laboratory.

Research Interests

Addiction, learning and memory, behavioral neuroscience, habits, compulsivity, sex differences, drug and alcohol exposure, substance and alcohol use disorders


The focus of the Barker Lab is the investigation of the neurobiological bases of behavioral flexibility and cognitive control, and the mechanisms by which these processes are dysregulated in neuropsychiatric illnesses. The ability to flexibly regulate behavior is critical to adapt to an ever-changing environment. Impairments in flexible actions have been observed in a number of illnesses, including obsessive compulsive disorder, addiction, PTSD and depression. A greater understanding of the neurobiological substrates mediating flexible behaviors is expected to provide insight into potential treatable targets for these illnesses.

We use a combination of in vivo electrophysiology, pharmacology, opto- and chemogenetics to determine the contribution of distinct neural circuits to the regulation of response strategy selection. In addition to investigating how these circuits function in normal learning and memory processes, we are interested in how exposure to drugs and alcohol may act on these circuits to disrupt the ability to regulate behavior, which may promote the maintenance of addictive or maladaptive behavior. Further, we are interested in how these acquired deficits in cognitive control may interact with innate differences – such as hormonal or genetic sex, or other genetic factors – to impact cognitive control over behavior.


"Sex differences in ethanol reward seeking under conflict in mice"
Xie, Q, Buck, LA, Bryant, KG, Barker, JM
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (in press)

"Inactivation of ventral hippocampus projections promotes sensitivity to changes in contingency"
Barker JM, Bryant KG, Chandler LJ
Learn Mem. Dec 17;26(1):1-8 (2018)

"Editorial: Long-Term Consequences of Adolescent Drug Use: Evidence From Pre-clinical and Clinical Models"
Whyte AJ, Torregrossa MM, Barker JM, Gourley SL
Front Behav Neurosci. May 3;12:83 (2018)

"Sex differences in incentive motivation and the relationship to the development and maintenance of alcohol use disorders"
Barker, JM & Taylor, JR
Physiology and Behavior; 203:91-99 (2018)

"Habitual behavior is mediated by a shift in response-outcome encoding in infralimbic cortex"
Barker, JM, Glen, WB, Linsenbardt, DN, Lapish, CC & Chandler, LJ
eNeuro. 4(6) (2018)

"Regulation of alcohol extinction and cue-induced reinstatement by specific afferents between medial prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, and basolateral amygdala"
Keistler, CR, Hammarlund, E, Barker, JM, Bond, C, DiLeone, RJ, Pittenger, C & Taylor, JR
J Neurosci 37(17): 4462-4471 (2017)

"Age and sex interact to mediate the effects of intermittent, high-dose ethanol exposure on behavioral flexibility"
Barker, JM, Bryant, KG, Osborne, JI & Chandler, LJ
Front Pharmacol 8(450), (2017)

"Reversal of alcohol dependence-induced deficits in cue-guided behavior via mGluR2/3 signaling"
Barker, JM, Lench, DH & Chandler, LJ
Psychopharm 233(2): 235-42 (2016)

"Corticostriatal circuitry and habitual ethanol seeking"
Barker, JM, Corbit, LH, Robinson, DL, Gremel CM, Gonzales, RA & Chandler, LJ
Alcohol 49(8): 817-24 (2015)

"Infralimbic prefrontal cortex interacts with nucleus accumbens shell to unmask expression of outcome-selective Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer"
Keistler, CR, Barker, JM, & Taylor, JR
Learn Mem.
22(1): 509-513 (2015)

"Brain-derived neurotrophic factor and addiction: Pathological versus therapeutic effects on drug seeking"
Barker JM, Taylor JR, De Vries TJ, and Peters J
Brain Research (14): 01480-2 (2014)

"Alcohol habits: modeling the transition from casual drinking to addiction"
Barker, JM & Taylor, JR
Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 47, 281-94 (2014)

"A unifying model of the role of the infralimbic cortex in extinction and habits"
Barker, JM, Taylor, JR & Chandler, LJ
Learn Mem 21(9), 441-448 (2014)

"Epigenetic regulation of 5HT3 signaling is predictive of risk for habitual and compulsive ethanol seeking"
Barker, JM, Zhang, H, Villafane, JJ, Wang, TL, Torregrossa, MM & Taylor, JR
Eur J Neurosci 39(6), 999-1008 (2014)

"Bidirectional modulation of infralimbic dopamine D1 and D2 receptor activity regulates flexible reward seeking"
Barker, JM, Torregrossa, MM & Taylor JR
Front Neurosci 7: 126 (2013)

"Low prefrontal PSA-NCAM confers risk for alcoholism-related behavior"
Barker, JM, Torregrossa, MM & Taylor JR
Nat Neurosci 15(10): 1356-1358 (2012)

"Dissociation of genetic and hormonal influences on sex differences in alcoholism-related behaviors"
Barker, JM, Torregrossa, MT, Arnold, AP, Taylor, JR
J Neurosci 30 (27): 9140-44 (2010)

Contact Information

Department of Pharmacology & Physiology
245 N. 15th Street
Mail Stop 488
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Room: 8808
Phone: 215.762.8794
Fax: 215.762.2299