Laboratory of  J.M. Johns Ph.D.
 Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
430 Taylor Hall
Chapel Hill,  NC  27599-7096
(919) 966-5961
-Lab number ; (919) 843-7732-Office
fax (919) 843-5730
email: jjohns@med.unc.edu

Lab motto:

Take time to think, it is the source of power.
Take time to read, it is the foundation of knowledge.
Take time to laugh, it lightens life's load.
Take time to work, it is the price of success.
Take time to plan, and you will have time for all the rest.


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Welcome to our home page!

 Speciality areas: behavioral pharmacology, toxicology, teratology, neuroendocrinology.

 

 

Our lab currently studies the effects of cocaine on maternal behavior and aggression as well as the underlying biochemical changes following drug treatment in a rodent model.   In addition, we also assess the behavioral and biochemical effects of prenatal exposure to various substances of abuse including cocaine, alcohol and nicotine on the pups of treated rat dams.  Techniques used in the lab range from behavioral to molecular biological and the students often learn from collaborations with other co-investigators working on projects with the lab.


MEET SOME OF THE MEMBERS OF OUR LAB:

Josephine Johns - Principal Investigator
Associate Professor, UNC Department of Psychiatry

Affiliated PI's:
Sheryl Moy - Associate Professor, UNC Department of Psychiatry
C.J. Malanga - Associate Professor, UNC Department of Neurology
Donita Robinson - Assistant Professor, UNC Department of Psychiatry

Technicians:
Abigail Jamieson-Drake - Lab Manager / Research Specialist, UNC Department of Psychiatry

 


Currently Funded Grants:
Just Awarded 8/8/08!
1) Neurobehavioral and Biological Consequences of Cocaine Use in Mother Infant Dyads
5 Years - $10,000,000
NIDA - 1P01 DA022446
http://www.psychiatry.unc.edu/camid

Previously Funded Grants:
Cocaine and Maternal Aggression: Oxytocinergic Mechanisms
(NIDA) R01-DA13283

Cocaine and Maternal Neglect: Intergenerational Effects
NIDA - 1R01 DA13362

Cardiovascular Benefits of Family Support and Oxytocin
NHLBI/NIDA - 1R01 HL64927

Cocaine and Oxytocin: Maternal Behavior and Aggression
NIDA - R29 DA08456

Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Cocaine: A Rodent Model of Psychopathology
UNC in house grant
Gestational Treatment with Ethanol and Nicotine: Effects on Maternal behavior, aggression oxytocin and offspring ethanol preference Bowles Center for Alcohol Research UNC

RECENT PAPERS OF INTEREST FROM OUR LAB INCLUDE:

1.Williams, S.K, and Johns, J. (in press) Prenatal and gestational cocaine exposure: Effects on the oxytocin system and social behavior with implications for addiction. Invited manuscript special issue The role of oxytocin in positive affect and drug-related reward. Pharmacology, Biology and Behavior.

2. Rumple, A., McMurray, M, Johns, J.M, Lauder, J, Radcliffe, M., Makam, P., Oguz, I.  (2013) 3-dimensional diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) atlas of the rat brain. PLOS one 8(7): e67334.

3. Cox, ET, Hodge,CW, Sheikh, MJ,Abramowitz, B.S., AC, Jones, GF, Jamieson-Drake , AW,  Makam, PR, Zeskind,PS, Johns, JM.  (2012) Delayed developmental changes in neonatal vocalizations correlates with variations in ventral medial hypothalamus and central amygdala development in the rodent infant: Effects of prenatal cocaine. Behavioural Brain Research, 235(2): 166-175.

4. Oguz, I.*; McMurray, M.S.*; Styner, M.; Johns, J.M. (2012) The translational role of diffusion tensor image analysis in animal models of developmental pathologies. Developmental Neuroscience 34(1).

5. Williams, S.K. Barber, J.S., Jamieson-Drake, A.W., Enns,J.A., Townsend, L.B., Walker, C.H., Johns, J.M. (2012) Chronic Cocaine Exposure During Pregnancy Increases Postpartum Neuroendocrine Stress Responses. J Neuroendocrinology, Apr; 24(4):701-11.

6. Rutherford, H.J.V., Williams, S.K., Moy, S., Mayes, L.C., Johns, J.M. (2011). Disruption of  maternal parenting circuitry by the addictive process: Rewiring of reward and stress systems. Special Issue: Translational Research Models and Methods for Mother-infant Interactions and Developmental Studies, Frontiers in Child and Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry (2) 37.

7. Williams SK, Lauder JM, Johns JM (2011) Prenatal cocaine disrupts serotonin signaling-dependent behaviors: implications for sex, early stress and prenatal SSRI exposure. Current Neuropharmacology (9-3).

8. Gerig, G, Styner, M., Oguz, I., McMurray, M., Johns, J.M. (2011) Synergy of image analysis for animal and human neuroimaging supports translational research on drug abuse.  Special Issue:Translational Research Models and Methods for Mother-infant Interactions and Developmental Studies, Frontiers in Child and Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry (2) 53.

9. Cai Y, McMurray, M.S., Lin, W, Oguz, I, Yuan, H., Johns, J.M., An, Hongyu (2011) Use of High Resolution 3D Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to study white matter brain development in live neonatal rats.  Special Issue:Translational Research Models and Methods for Mother-infant Interactions and Developmental Studies, Frontiers in Child and Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry (2) 54.

10. Zeskind, P.S., McMurray, M.S., Garber, K.A., Neuspiel, J.M., Cox, E.T., Grewen, K.M., Mayes, L.C., Johns, J.M. (2011). Development of Translational Methods in Spectral Analysis of Human Infant Crying and Rat Pup Ultrasonic Vocalizations for Early Neurobehavioral Assessment.  Special Issue: Translational Research Models and  Methods for Mother-infant Interactions and Developmental Studies, Frontiers in Child and Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry Frontiers in Child and Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry (2) 56.

11. Oguz I; Lee J; Budin F; Rumple A; McMurray M; Ehlers C; Crews F; Johns J; Styner M (2011). Automatic skull-stripping of rat MRI/DTI scans and atlas building. Proc. SPIE 7962, 796225.

12. Lee, J; Ehlers, C; Crews, F; Niethammer, M; Budin, F; Paniagua, B; Sulik, K; Johns, J; Styner M; and Oguz, I (2011). Automatic cortical thickness analysis on rodent brain. Proc. SPIE 7962, 796248.

13. Johns JM; McMurray MS; Joyner PW; Jarrett TM; Williams SK; Cox ET; Black MA; Middleton CL; Walker CH (2010). Effects of chronic and intermittent cocaine treatment on dominance, aggression and oxytocin levels in post-lactational rats. Psychopharmacology, 211(2):175-185.

14. McMurray, MS, Joyner, PW, Middleton, CL, Jarrett, TM, Black, MC, Hofler, VE, Walker, CH, Johns, JM. (2008) Intergenerational Effects of Cocaine on Maternal Aggressive Behavior and Oxytocin in Rat Dams. Biology of Stress, 11(5), 398-410.

15. McMurray, M.S., Cox, E.T., Jarrett, T.M., Williams, S.K., Walker, C.H., Johns, J.M. (2008) Impact of gestational treatment or prenatal cocaine exposure on early postpartum oxytocin synthesis and receptor binding , Neuropeptides, 42, 5-6.

16. McMurray, M.S.; Williams, S.K.; Jarrett, T.M.; Cox, E.T.; Fay, E.E.; Overstreet, D.H.; Walker, C.H.; Johns, J.M. (2008) Gestational Ethanol and Nicotine Exposure: Effects on Maternal Behavior, Oxytocin, and Offspring Ethanol Intake in the Rat, Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 30(6):475-86.

17. Johns, J.M., McMurray, M. S., Hofler, V.E., Jarrett, T. M., Middleton, C.L.,  Elliott, D. L., Mirza, R., Elliott, J.C, and Walker, C.H. (2007) Cocaine Disrupts Pup-Induced Maternal Behavior in Juvenile and Adult Rats,  Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 29 (6), 634-641.

18. Jarrett, T.M., McMurray, M.S., Walker, C.H., and Johns, J.M. (2006) Cocaine treatment alters Oxytocin Receptor Binding but not mRNA Production in Postpartum Rat Dams, Neuropeptides, 40 pp161-167.

19. Johns, J.M., Elliott, D. L, Hofler, V.E., Joyner, P.W., McMurray, M. S., Jarrett, T. M., Haslup, A. M., Middleton, C.L., Elliott, J.C. and Walker, C.H. (2005) Cocaine Treatment and Prenatal Environment Interact to Disrupt Intergenerational Maternal Behavior in Rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, 119/6 pp 1605-1618.

20. Johns, J.M., Joyner, P.W., McMurray, M.S., Elliot, D.A., Hofler, V.E., Knupp, K., Greenhill, K.W., and Walker, C.H. (2005) The Effects of Combined Dopaminergic/Serotonergic Reuptake Inhibition on Maternal Behavior, Maternal Aggression, and Oxytocin in the Rat Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 81/4 pp 769-785.

21. Johns, J.M, Lubin, D.A., Walker, C.H., Joyner, P. W., Middleton, C.L., Hofler, V. E. and McMurray, M. (2004) Gestational Cocaine and Fluoxetine Treatment Upregulates Oxytocin Receptor Number and Lowers Binding Affinity in the Amygdala of Rats on Postpartum Day Six. (Invited article Special Issue: Developmental Aspects of Addiction - Edited by R.M. Booze and C.F. Mactutus) International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience, 22/5-6 pp 321-328. 

22. Light, K.C., Grewen, K.M., Amico, J.A., Boccia, M., Brownley, K. & Johns, J. M. (2004) Deficits in Plasma Oxytocin Responses and Increased Negative Affect, Stress and Blood Pressure in Mothers with Cocaine Exposure during Pregnancy. Addictive Behaviors.

23. Moy, S., Nadler, J., Perez, A., Barbaro, R,  Johns, J., Magnuson, T., Piven, J. and Crawlery, J. (2004). Sociability and Preference for Social Novelty in Five Inbred Strains:  An Approach to Assess Autistic-like Behavior in Mice. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 3: 287-302

24.  Lubin, D.A., Elliott, J.C., Black, M.C.,& Johns, J.M. (2003). An Oxytocin Antagonist Infused into the Central Nucleus of the Amygdala Increases Maternal Aggressive Behavior. Behavioral Neuroscience,117(2): 195-201.

25.  Lubin, D.A., Cannon, J.B., Black, M.C., Brown, L.E., & Johns, J.M.(2003). Effects of Chronic Cocaine on Monoamine Levels in Discrete Brain Structures of Lactating Rat Dams. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 74, 449-454.

26. Phillips, P.E., Johns, J.M., Lubin, D.A., Budygin, E.A., Gainetdinov, R.R. Lieberman, J. A. and Wightman, R. M. (2003) Presynaptic Dopaminergic Function is Largely Unaltered in Mesolimbic and Mesostriatal Terminals of Adult Rats That Were Prenatally Exposed to Cocaine. Brain Research, 961, 63-72.

27.  Johns, J.M., Lubin, D.A., Leiberman, J., and Lauder, J.M. (2002) Developmental Effects of Prenatal Cocaine Exposure on 5-HT1A Receptors in Male and Female Rat Offspring. Developmental Neuroscience, 24, 522-530.

28. Lubin, D.A., Meter, K.E., Walker, C.H. and Johns, J.M. (2001) Dose-Related Effects of Gestational Cocaine Treatment on Maternal Aggression in Rats on Postpartum Days 2, 3 and 5. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. 25(7), 1421-1433 (Invited paper).

29. Elliott, J.C., Lubin, D.A., Walker, C.H., and Johns, J.M. (2001) Acute Cocaine Alters Oxytocin Levels in the Medial Preoptic Area and Amygdala of Lactating Rat Dams: Implications for Cocaine-Induced Changes in Maternal Behavior and Maternal Aggression. Neuropeptides, 35(2), 127-134.

HERE'S SOME OF THE ABSTRACTS WE PRESENTED AT VARIOUS CONFERENCES:

1. Grewen KM, Gouttard S, Gilmore J, Johns J, Gerig G. Prenatal exposure effects on infant brain development (2012). Annual Meeting of Society of Biological Psychiatry (Philadelphia, PA, May 3-5,2012).

2. Howell J, Soh A, Light K, Johns J. Grewen K (2012). Prenatal cocaine predicts postpartum negative affect, maternal sensitivity and autonomic activity (2012). Annual Meeting of Society of Biological Psychiatry (Philadelphia, PA, May 3-5, 2012).

3. Cox ET, Hodge CM, Shiekh MJ, Abramowitz A, Jones GF, Zeskind PS, Johns JM (2011). Prenatal cocaine exposure alters longitudinal development of rodent neonatal vocalizing behavior correlating with delayed limbic system development.  Society for Neuroscience, Washington DC.

4. Williams SK, Desai NN, Ross B, Radcliffe MJ, Barber JS, Townsend L, Johns JM (2011). Effects of gestational cocaine exposure on rat olfactory preference behavior and nucleus accumbens neuronal activation in response to pup olfactory cues in the postpartum period. Society for Neuroscience, Washington DC.

5. McMurray M.S.*; Oguz, I.; Lauder, J.M.; Makam, P.R.; Radcliffe, M.J.; Styner, M.; Hong, Y.; Cai, Y.; Hongyu, A.; Johns J.M. (2011) Prenatal cocaine exposure results in structural and diffusion tensor abnormalities in the rodent brain. Society for Neuroscience, Washington, DC.

6. Bunevicius J, Johns J, Grewen K (2011). Maternal affect, oxytocin and response to infant contact and stress. Annual Meeting of Psychological Science (Washington, D.C., May 26 -29, 2011).

7. J Lee, M Niethammer, F Budin, B Paniagua, S Soora, K Sulik, C Ehlers, J Johns, FT Crews, MA Styner, I Oguz, “Automatic cortical thickness analysis on rodent brain“. In Proceedings of SPIE Medical Imaging: Image Processing, 2011, p. 796248.

8. Cox ET; Zeskind PS; Pimental ME; Baxley AD; DeBurkarte MJ; Elam MC; Johns JM; Grewen KM (2010). Cocaine exposure alters maternal sensitivity to infant behavior predicting infant developmental outcome. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

9. Williams SK; Jamieson-Drake A; Thompson BW; Enns JA; Barber JS; Ross BR; Walker CH; Johns JM (2010). Gestational cocaine exposure disrupts stress-related oxytocin and corticosterone plasma levels in postpartum rat mothers. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

10. McMurray MS; Oguz I; Styner M; Hong Y; Cai Y; Hongyu A; Johns JM (2010). Brain structural and diffusion tensor abnormalities following prenatal cocaine exposure in rodents. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

11. Johns JM; McMurray MS; Williams SK; Cox ET; Jarrett TM; Walker CH; Jamieson-Drake AW; Moy SS (2010). Cocaine's effects on mother and infant phenotypes: models of intergenerational and translational mechanisms that may impact offspring vulnerability. International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, June 8-13, Sardinia, Italy.

12. Cox ET; Jones GF; Williams SK; McMurray MS; Jamieson-Drake AW; Zeskind PS; Hodge CW; Grewen KM; Johns JM (2010). Prenatal cocaine exposure alters human and rodent infant vocalizations: implications for maternal care and neural integrity. (IBNS Award Winner). International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, June 8-13, Sardinia, Italy.

13. Williams SK; Barber JS; Ross BA; Thompson BW; Jamieson-Drake AW; Enns JA; Cox ET; Heaton CF; Desai NN; McMurray MS; Johns JM (2010). Prenatal cocaine exposure alters maternal preference for pup-produced olfactory cues during the early postpartum period. International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, June 9-13, Sardinia, Italy.

14. McMurray MS; Meiners SM; Zoghby CR; Zeskind PS; Johns JM (2010). Prenatal cocaine's effect on neonatal thermoregulation and ultrasonic vocalization. International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, June 8-13, Sardinia, Italy.

15. Cox ET; Sheikh MJ; Williams SJ; McMurray MS; Jamieson-Drake AW; Zeskind PS; Hodge CW; Grewen KM; Johns JM (2010). Prenatal cocaine exposure alters human and rodent infant vocalizations: a mechanism for increased maternal neglect. American Psychological Association Convention, San Diego, CA.

16. Cox ET; Sheikh MJ; Williams SK; McMurray MS; Johns JM (2009). Prenatal Cocaine Exposure Alters Rodent Pup Ultrasonic Vocalizations That Might Impact the Mother-Infant Relationship: A Preliminary Study. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Chicago IL; Oct 17-21).

17. Eiden RD; Schuetze P (2009). The association between maternal cocaine use during pregnancy and mother-infant play interactions in the first year of life. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Chicago IL; Oct 17-21).

18. Landi N; Mencl WE; Worhunsky P; Xu J; Erbe J; Irwin JR; Topf J; Potenza MN; Wu J; Mayes LC (2009). FMRI and EEG measures of adult processing of infant emotional state. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Chicago IL; Oct 17-21).

19. McMurray MS; Zeskind PS; Blumberg SM; Meiners S; Cox ET; Williams SK; Johns JM (2009). Gestational cocaine affects rat pup brown adipose tissue thermogenesis, ultrasonic vocalizations, and urine characteristics. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Chicago IL; Oct 17-21).

20. Styner MA; Joshi S; McMurray M; Johns JM (2009). Unbiased Population Atlas Building of early postnatal rat development at PND 5 and 14 for Atlas base Analysis. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Chicago IL; Oct 17-21).

21. Williams SK; Cox ET; Heaton CH; Desai NN; Fay EE; McMurray MS; Johns JM (2009). Gestational cocaine affects maternal motivation and pup preference: Possible dependence on pup vocalizations. Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Chicago IL; Oct 17-21).

22. Williams, S.K.; Cox, E.T.; Fay, E.E.; McMurray, M.S.; Johns, J.M. (2008) Cocaine: effects on maternal anxiety measures during gestation and the postpartum period. Society for Neuroscience: Washington, DC.

23. Williams, S.K.; Cox, E.T.; Fay, E.E.; Jarrett, T.M.; McMurray, M.S.; Walker, C.; Johns, J.M. (2008) Effects of gestational exposure to alcohol and nicotine on oxytocin receptors in limbic brain regions. Research Society on Alcoholism: Washington, DC.

24. McMurray, M.S.; Jarrett, T.M.; Moy, S.; Styner, M.; Johns, J.M. (2008) In utero cocaine exposure alters pup produced stimuli relevant to maternal care. International Behavioral Neuroscience Society: St Thomas, USVI.

25. Cox, E.T.; Williams, S.K.; McMurray, M.S.; Jarrett, T.M.; Fay E.E.; Overstreet D.H. (2008) Prenatal exposure to alcohol/nicotine alters oxytocin receptor binding but not mRNA in adult rats. International Behavioral Neuroscience Society: St Thomas, USVI.

26. Williams, S.K.; McMurray, M.S.; Jarrett, T.M.; Cox, E.T.; Fay, E.E.; Overstreet, D.H.; Johns, J.M. (2008) Prenatal exposure to alcohol/nicotine affects alcohol consumption in adult but not adolescent rats. International Behavioral Neuroscience Society: St Thomas, USVI.

27. Jarrett, T.M.; Williams, S.K.; Fay, E.E.; McMurray, M.S.; Overstreet, D.H.; Johns, J.M. (2008) Animal models of depression and alcoholism exhibit reduced maternal behavior. International Behavioral Neuroscience Society: St Thomas, USVI.

28. Jarrett, T.M.; Williams, S.K.; Cox, E.T.; McMurray, M.S.; Fay, E.E.; Overstreet, D.H.; Walker, C.H.; Johns, J.M. (2008) Neuroendocrine Mechanism of Reduced Ethanol Preference in Dams Treated During Gestation with Ethanol and Nicotine. Society of Biological Psychiatry: Washington, DC.

29. Williams, S.K.; McMurray, M.S.; Jarrett, T.M.; Walker, C.; Johns, J.M. (2007) The effect of prenatal combined exposure to alcohol and nicotine on oxytocin levels at postnatal day 30 and 60. Society for Neuroscience: San Diego, CA.

30. Cox, E.T.; McMurray, M.S.; Jarrett, T.M.; Williams, S.K.; Walker, C.H.; Johns, J.M. (2007) Prenatal cocaine exposure alters oxytocin synthesis in the supraoptic nucleus. Society for Neuroscience: San Diego, CA.

31. McMurray, M.S.; Williams, S.K.; Jarrett, T.M.; Fay, E.E.; Overstreet, D.H.; Knapp, D.J.; Walker, C.H.; Johns, J.M. (2007). Effect of gestational alcohol and nicotine treatment on postpartum maternal behavior and maternal aggression. Research Society on Alcoholism: Chicago, IL.

32. Jarrett, T.M.; Williams, S.K.; McMurray, M.S.; Fay, E.E.; Overstreet, D.H.; Johns, J.M. (2007) Post-weaning ethanol aversion in dams treated during gestation with ethanol and nicotine. Research Society on Alcoholism: Chicago, IL.

33. Williams, S.K.; Jarrett, T.M.; McMurray, M.S.; Fay, E.E.; Overstreet, D.H.; Johns, J.M. (2007) Effects of prenatal exposure to combined alcohol and nicotine on adolescent and early adult rodent alcohol preference. Research Society on Alcoholism: Chicago, IL.

34. Jarrett, T.M., Walker, C.H., McMurray, M.S., Johns, J.M. (2006) Prenatal cocaine exposure does not alter central oxytocin receptor or oxytocin mRNA binding in postpartum day six rat dams. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 2006.

35. Williams, S., Jarrett, T., Lycan, T., McMurray, M., Riday, T., Obispo-Peak, I., Lauder, J., and Johns, J. (2006) Effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on 5-HT2A receptors in adult rats. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 2006.

36. McMurray, M.S., Jarrett, T.M., Walker, C.H., and Johns, J.M. (2006) Gestational cocaine treatment alters oxytocin mRNA production in rat dams in the early postpartum period. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 2006.

37. Johns, J.M., McMurray, M.S., Jarrett, T.M., and Walker, C.H. (2006) When Things Go Wrong; Cocaine’s Disruption of Maternal/Social Behavior in Rat Dams and their Offspring: The Oxytocin Connection. Invited symposium presentation and abstract, IBNS, Whistler, British Columbia, CA.

38. McMurray, M.S., Zeskind, P.S., Moy, C., Jarrett, T.M., and Johns, J.M. (2006) Preliminary Effects of in Utero Cocaine Exposure on Infant Rat Ultrasonic Vocalizations.  IBNS Abstracts, Whistler, British Columbia, CA.

39. Jarrett, T.M., McMurray, M.S., Walker, C.H. and Johns, J.M. (2005) Oxytocin receptor binding in the central nervous system of cocaine, fluoxetine, or saline treated rat dams. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 2005.

40. McMurray, M.S., Desmond, B., Jarrett, T.M., Walker, C.H. and Johns, J.M. (2005) Effects of cocaine treatment on mRNA expression in the CNS of postpartum rat dams. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 2005.




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                                                                                                        Maui, Hawaii 2007