Matthew J. Will

Research Interests: 

The focus of my laboratory is to apply methods of behavioral neuroscience towards the study of neural systems mediating the motivational aspects of drug of abuse and natural rewards, including food and exercise. Our research addresses these concerns and questions through an integrative approach of behavioral, pharmacological, and molecular biological techniques.

BA  St. John's University, Collegeville, MN
MA  University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
PhD  University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison, WI
Selected Publications: 

Full list of publications: My Bibilography


Qazi R, Parker KE, Kim CY, Rill R, Norris MR, Chung J, Bilbily J, Kim JR, Walicki MC, Gereau GB, Lim H, Xiong Y, Lee JR, Tapia MA, Kravitz AV, Will MJ, Ha S, McCall JG, Jeong JW. Scalable and modular wireless-network infrastructure for large-scale behavioural neuroscience. Nat Biomed Eng. 2021 Nov 25;. doi: 10.1038/s41551-021-00814-w. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 34824397.

Sun GY, Appenteng MK, Li R, Woo T, Yang B, Qin C, Pan M, Cieślik M, Cui J, Fritsche KL, Gu Z, Will M, Beversdorf D, Adamczyk A, Han X, Greenlief CM.  Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) Supplementation Alters Phospholipid Species and Lipid Peroxidation Products in Adult Mouse Brain, Heart, and Plasma.  Neuromolecular Med. 2021 Mar;23(1):118-129. doi: 10.1007/s12017-020-08616-0. PMID: 32926329


Tapia MA, Sage AS, Fullerton EI, Judd JM, Hildebrant PC, Will MJ, Lever SZ, Lever JR, Miller DK. The sigma receptor ligand N-phenylpropyl-N'-(4-methoxyphenethyl)3piperazine (YZ-067) enhances the cocaine conditioned-rewarding properties while inhibiting the development of sensitization of cocaine in mice. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2020 Mar;237(3):723-734. PubMed PMID: 31822924.


Tapia MA, Lee JR, Bathe EL, Rivera LL, Mason KL, Cessac ME, Miller DK, Will MJ. Sigma-1 receptor antagonist, PD144418, selectively reduces female motivation for food during negative energy balance.  Behav Brain Res. 2019 Jul 17:112087. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112087. [Epub ahead of print]  PMID:31325519.

Lee JR,  Tapia MA, Weise VN, Nelson JR, Tamasi MA, Fodor KR, Mason KL, Rivera LL, Booth FW, Will MJ. Voluntary Wheel Running Effects on Intra-Accumbens Opioid Driven Diet Preferences in Male and Female Rats. Neuropharmacology. 2019 May 15;155:22-30. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.05.017. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31100290.

Tapia MA, Lever JR, Lever SZ, Will MJ, Park ES, Miller DK. Sigma-1 receptor ligand PD144418 and sigma-2 receptor ligand YUN-252 attenuate the stimulant effects of methamphetamine in mice. Psychopharmacology. (Berl). 2019 May 28;. doi: 10.1007/s00213-019-05268-2. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 31139878.

Tapia MA, Lee JR, Gereau GB, Moore JM, Weise VN, Mason KL, Cessac ME, Bodeen JL, Miller DK, Will MJ. (2019). Sigma-1 receptor antagonist PD144418 suppresses food reinforced operant responding in rats. Behav Brain Res. Apr 19;362:71-76. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.01.011 PMID: 30639509

Tapia MA, Lee JR, Weise VN, Tamasi AM, Will MJ. (2019). Sex differences in hedonic and homeostatic aspects of palatable food motivation. Behav Brain Res. 2019  Feb 1;359:396-400. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2018.11.023. PMID:30465814

Lee JR, Parker KE, Tapia MA, Johns HW, Floros TG. Roberts MD, Booth FW, Will MJ. (2019). Voluntary wheel running effects on intra-accumbens opioid high-fat feeding and locomotor behavior in Sprague-Dawley and Wistar rat strains. Physiology & Behavior. Feb 23;206:67-75. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.02.015.  PMID:30807769

Lee JR, Tapia MA, Nelson JR, Moore JM, Gereau GB, Childs TE, Vieira-Potter VJ, Booth FW, Will MJ.  (2019). Sex Dependent Effects of Physical Activity on Diet Preference in Rats Selectively Bred for High or Low Levels of Voluntary Wheel Running. Behavioral Brain Research.  Feb 1;359:95-103. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2018.10.018. PMID:30392852


Belenchia AM, Jones KL, Will M, Beversdorf DQ, Vieira-Potter V, Rosenfeld CS, Peterson CA. (2018). Maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy affects expression of adipogenic-regulating genes peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) and vitamin D receptor (VDR) in lean male mice offspring. Eur J Nutr. Mar;57(2):723-730. doi: 10.1007/s00394-016-1359-x. Epub 2016 Dec 21. PubMed PMID: 28004271.

Matsui F, Hecht P, Yoshimoto K, Watanabe Y, Morimoto M, Fritsche K, Will M, Beversdorf D. (2018) DHA mitigates autistic behaviors accompanied by dopaminergic change in a gene/prenatal stress mouse model. Neuroscience. 371, 407–419. PMID: 29288796.


Sjaarda CP, Hecht P, McNaughton AJM, Zhou A, Hudson ML, Will MJ, Smith G, Ayub M, Liang P, Chen N, Beversdorf D, Liu X. (2017). Interplay between maternal Slc6a4 mutation and prenatal stress: a possible mechanism for autistic behavior development. Scientific Reports. Aug 18;7(1):8735. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-07405-3. PMID: 28821725

Lee JR, Muckerman JE, Wright AM, Davis DJ, Childs TE, Gillespie CE, Vieira-Potter VJ, Booth FW, Ericsson AC, Will MJ. (2017). Sex Determines Effect of Physical Activity on Diet Preference: Association of Striatal Opioids and Gut Microbiota Composition. Behav Brain Res. Sep 15;334:16-25. PMID: 28743600

Davis DJ, Hecht PM, Jasarevic E, Beversdorf DQ, Will MJ, Fritsche K, Gillespie CH. (2017) Sex-specific effects of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) on the microbiome and behavior of socially-isolated mice. Brain Behav Immun. Jan;59:38-48. PMID: 27621225


Smethells JR, Zlebnik NE, Miller DK, Will MJ, Booth F, Carroll ME. (2016) Cocaine self-administration and reinstatement in female rats selectively bred for high and low voluntary running.  Drug Alcohol Depend. Oct 1;167:163-8. PMID: 27567437

Park YM, Kanaley JA, Padilla J, Zidon T, Welly RJ, Will MJ, Britton SL, Koch LG, Ruegsegger GN, Booth FW, Thyfault JP, Vieira-Potter VJ. (2016) Effects of intrinsic aerobic capacity and ovariectomy on voluntary wheel running and nucleus accumbens dopamine receptor gene expression.  Physiol Behav. Oct 1;164(Pt A):383-9. PMID: 27297873


Parker KE, McCabe MP, Johns HW, Lund DK, Odu F, Sharma R, Thakkar MM, Cornelison DD, Will MJ. (2015). Neural activation patterns underlying basolateral amygdala influence on intra-accumbens opioid-driven consummatory versus appetitive high-fat feeding behaviors in the rat. Behavioral Neuroscience. Dec;129(6):812-21.

Ruegsegger GN, Toedebusch RG, Will MJ, Booth FW. (2015). Mu opioid receptor modulation in the nucleus accumbens lowers voluntary wheel running in rats bred for high running motivation. Neuropharmacology. Oct;97:171-81.

Parker KE, McCall JG, McGuirk SR, Trivedi S, Miller DK, Will MJ. (2015). Effects of co-administration of 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG) and a selective µ-opioid receptor agonist into the nucleus accumbens on high-fat feeding behaviors in the rat. Brain Res. Aug 27;1618:309-15.


Hoertel HA, Will MJ, Leidy HJ.  (2014). A randomized crossover, pilot study examining the effects of a normal protein vs. high protein breakfast on food cravings and reward signals in overweight/obese "breakfast skipping", late-adolescent girls. Nutrition Journal. Aug 6;13:80. 

PM Hecht, MJ Will, TR Schachtman, L Welby, DQ Beversdorf. (2014). Effect of Beta-Adrenergic Antagonist on a Novel Cognitive Flexibility Task in Rodents. Behavioral Brain Research. Mar 1;260:148-54.

KE Parker; HW Johns; TG Floros; MJ Will. (2014). Central amygdala opioid transmission is necessary for increased high-fat intake following 24-hour food deprivation, but not following intra-accumbens opioid administration. Behavioral Brain Research. Mar 1,260:131-8.