Elizabeth A. Becker, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Director Behavioral Neuroscience Program, Kinney Faculty Affiliate
Specializations: Behavioral Neuroscience, Psychology, Endocrinology, Autism Spectrum Disorders
Office: 220 Post Hall
Phone: (610) 660-2894
Email: ebecker@sju.edu
Website: Departmental Profile

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Dr. Becker is a behavioral neuroendocrinologist studying the neural and hormonal mechanisms of social behavior. Of particular interest, is how parental care impacts development of offspring brain and behavior. In addition, she is interested in aggression and territoriality. Her integrative research program combines techniques and theories from behavioral neuroscience, behavioral ecology and experimental psychology.

The Becker lab works with the monogamous and territorial California mouse (Peromyscus californicus), which is a model system for exploration of parental investment on offspring development. Both males and females of this species provide high levels of care that are necessary for offspring survival.

Dr. Becker received a B.A. in psychology and a B.M. in voice performance from Lawrence University. She received her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working with Dr. Catherine Marler. Dr. Becker has lectured at Lawrence University and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison prior to joining the faculty at Saint Joseph University in 2012.


Bachelor of Arts, Lawrence University

Bachelor of Music, Lawrence University 

PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Courses Taught

PSY 100 - Introductory Psychology 

PSY 205 - Neuroscience Foundations

PSY 206 - Behavioral Neuroscience

PSY 340L-Behavioral Neuroscience Lab

PSY 210 - Research Methods

PSY 620 - Graduate Hormones, Brain and Behavior

PSY 621-  Graduate Systems Neuroscience


Olitsky, S., Becker, E.A. Jayo, I., Montcalmo, J., Vinogradov, P. 2018.Constructing Authentic Science: Results from a University-High School Collaboration Integrating Digital Storytelling and Social Networking. Research in Science Education. 1-24.

Becker, E.A., Castelli, F.R., Yohn, C., Spencer, L., and Marler, C.A. 2018.Species differences in urine scent-marking and counter-marking in in Peromyscus.  Behavioral Processes.146, 1-9.  

Yohn, C.N., Leithead, A.B., and Becker, E.A. 2017. Increased vasopressin expression in the BNST accompanies paternally induced territoriality in male and female California mouse offspring. Hormones and Behavior. 93, 9-17.

Chary, M.C., Cruz, J.P., Bardi, M., and Becker, E.A.  2015. Paternal retrievals increase testosterone levels in both male and female California mouse (Peromyscus californicus) offspring. Hormones and Behavior. 73, 23-29.

Becker, E.A. and Marler, C.A. 2015.  Postcontest blockade of dopamine receptors inhibits   development of the winner effect in the California mouse (Peromyscus californicus).  Behavioral Neuroscience, 129(20), 205-213.

Becker, E.A., Petruno, S. and Marler, C.A. 2012. A comparison of scent marking between a monogamous and promiscuous species of Peromyscus: pair bonded males do not advertise to novel females. PLoS one, 7,2.

Becker, E.A., Moore, B.M., Auger, C. and Marler, C.A. 2010.   Paternal behavior increases testosterone levels in offspring of the California mouse. Hormones and Behavior, 58, 385-389.

Grants and Awards

2017-2018                   NSF ROA Award

2016-2017                   Summer Research Grant, Saint Joseph’s University

2015-2016                   Psi Chi Faculty Advisor Research Grant

2015-2016                   Saint Joseph’s University Teaching Merit Award     

2015-2016                   Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Equipment Loan Grant                  

2015-2016                   Tom & Mary Gallagher Foundation Grant

2014-2015                   Psi Chi Faculty Travel Grant