Jocelyn Richard, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience

Jocelyn Richard

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-3872

Lab Address:
3-414 MTRF

PhD, University of Michigan

MS, University of Michigan

BA, Occidental College


Jocelyn received her BA in psychobiology from Occidental College, where she worked in the lab of Nancy Dess, and completed her PhD at the University of Michigan in Kent Berridge's laboratory. Jocelyn conducted her postdoctoral work with Howard Fields at UCSF, and Patricia Janak at Johns Hopkins University, where she focused on dissecting the functional contributions of activity in ventral pallidal neurons to reward seeking behavior. She is particularly interested in how the brain generates signals related to learning, affect and motivation, and how these signals are altered in models of addiction and neuropsychiatric disease. These questions are the focus of her lab's work at the University of Minnesota.


Addiction, Relapse, Neural Circuits, Electrophysiology


Research Summary/Interests

The central goal of research in my lab is to understand how external cues and internal states act together to modulate motivated behaviors. We aim to identify neural circuits underlying positively- and negatively-valenced motivated behaviors, and to determine how states such as withdrawal, stress, pleasure and arousal impact this circuitry to modulate the intensity and form of cue-elicited motivational states and actions, especially in models of drug and alcohol abuse. Specific questions include:

  1. Where and how are motivation and value encoded in the brain?
  2. What are the neural and psychological building blocks that contribute to motivated behavior?
  3. How do these circuits contribute to alcohol abuse and relapse?


Ottenheimer DJ, Wang K, Tong X, Fraser KM, Richard JM, Janak PH. Reward activity in ventral pallidum tracks satiety-sensitive preference and drives choice behavior. Sci Adv. 2020 Nov 4;6(45):eabc9321. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abc9321.

Ottenheimer DJ, Bari BA, Sutlief E, Fraser KM, Kim TH, Richard JM, Cohen JY, Janak PH. A quantitative reward prediction error signal in the ventral pallidum. Nat Neurosci. 2020 Oct;23(10):1267-1276. doi: 10.1038/s41593-020-0688-5.

Vandaele Y, Mahajan NR, Ottenheimer DJ, Richard JM, Mysore SP, Janak PH. Distinct recruitment of dorsomedial and dorsolateral striatum erodes with extended training. Elife. 2019 Oct 17;8:e49536. doi: 10.7554/eLife.49536.

Ottenheimer, DJ, Wang, K, Haimbaugh, A, Janak, PH & Richard, JM 2019, 'Recruitment and disruption of ventral pallidal cue encoding during alcohol seeking', European Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 50, no. 9, pp. 3428-3444.

Vandaele, Y, Mahajan, NR, Ottenheimer, DJ, Richard, JM, Mysore, SP & Janak, PH 2019, 'Distinct recruitment of dorsomedial and dorsolateral striatum erodes with extended training', eLife, vol. 8, e49536.

Ottenheimer, D, Richard, JM & Janak, PH 2018, 'Ventral pallidum encodes relative reward value earlier and more robustly than nucleus accumbens', Nature communications, vol. 9, no. 1, 4350.

Saunders, BT, Richard, JM, Margolis, EB & Janak, PH 2018, 'Dopamine neurons create Pavlovian conditioned stimuli with circuit-defined motivational properties', Nature neuroscience, vol. 21, no. 8, pp. 1072-1083.

Richard, JM, Stout, N, Acs, D & Janak, PH 2018, 'Ventral pallidal encoding of reward-seeking behavior depends on the underlying associative structure', eLife, vol. 7, e33107.

Richard, JM & Fields, HL 2016, 'Mu-opioid receptor activation in the medial shell of nucleus accumbens promotes alcohol consumption, self-administration and cue-induced reinstatement', Neuropharmacology, vol. 108, pp. 14-23.

Richard, JM, Ambroggi, F, Janak, PH & Fields, HL 2016, 'Ventral Pallidum Neurons Encode Incentive Value and Promote Cue-Elicited Instrumental Actions', Neuron, vol. 90, no. 6, pp. 1165-1173.

Saunders, BT, Richard, JM & Janak, PH 2015, 'Contemporary approaches to neural circuit manipulation and mapping: Focus on reward and addiction', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 370, no. 1677, 20140210.

Volman, SF, Lammel, S, Margolis, EB, Kim, Y, Richard, JM, Roitman, MF & Lobo, MK 2013, 'New insights into the specificity and plasticity of reward and aversion encoding in the mesolimbic system', Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 33, no. 45, pp. 17569-17576.

Richard, JM, Castro, DC, DiFeliceantonio, AG, Robinson, MJF & Berridge, KC 2013, 'Mapping brain circuits of reward and motivation: In the footsteps of Ann Kelley', Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, vol. 37, no. 9, pp. 1919-1931.