James R. Moyer, Jr.

Associate Dean, Associate Professor
 (414) 229-5883
 Holton Hall 243

Lab Site:


Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1992

Key Areas of Interest:

Neurobiology of Learning, Memory, and Aging

Cellular Mechanisms of Neuronal Aging and Neurodegeneration

Research Interests:

Our laboratory studies how the brain changes as a function of experience and as a function of the aging process.Our research focuses primarily on brain regions (e.g., prefrontal cortex, medial temporal lobe) that are not only vital for various forms of learning and memory but also are among the most susceptible to aging-related neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.Our laboratory is currently engaged in research investigating: (1) prefrontal mechanisms underlying aging-related deficits in extinction of trace fear conditioning, (2) intrinsic and synaptic plasticity as a function of learning and aging, and (3) the role of calcium binding proteins and calcium-dependent processes in aging and susceptibility to neurodegeneration.Behavioral (e.g., acquisition and extinction of Pavlovian fear conditioning), cellular (e.g., use of in vitro models of ischemia to study neurodegeneration), immunohistochemical (e.g., Western blotting, fluorescence and confocal microscopy), and neurophysiological (e.g., whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from visually identified neurons in living brain slices; intracellular and extracellular recordings in living brain slices) techniques are utilized to integrate information across multiple levels of analysis.

Graduate and undergraduate students in my laboratory not only gain experience conducting cutting edge research, but they also have opportunities to present their data at local and international conferences, including the Annual Society for Neuroscience Conference.

Interested students should contact me or visit the lab website ( for more information about our research or extramurally funded research opportunities.

Courses Taught:

Psych 254: Physiological Psychology
Psych 754: Proseminar in Physiological Psychology
Psych 933: Seminar in Neuroscience
Psych 954: Seminar in Physiological Psychology: Neurobiology of Aging

Selected Publications

Moyer, J. R., Ehlers, V. L., & Song, C. (2015). Trace fear conditioning differentially modulates intrinsic excitability of mPFC-BLA projection neurons in infralimbic and prelimbic cortices. Journal of Neuroscience, 35, 13511-13524.
Sehgal, M., Ehlers, V. L., & Moyer, J. R. (2014). Learning enhances intrinsic excitability in a subset of lateral amygdala neurons. Learning & Memory, 21, 161-170.
Detert, J. A., Hochstetter, E. L., Lescher, J. D., Lyons, J., & Moyer, J. R. (2013). Pretreatment with apoaequorin protects hippocampal CA1 neurons from oxygen-glucose deprivation. PLoS ONE, 8, e79002.
Sehgal, M., Song, C., Ehlers, V. L., & Moyer, J. R. (2013). Learning to learn – intrinsic excitability as a metaplasticity mechanism for memory formation. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 105, 186-199.
Song, C., Detert, J. A., Sehgal, M., & Moyer, J. R. (2012). Trace fear conditioning enhances synaptic and intrinsic plasticity in rat hippocampus. Journal of Neurophysiology, 107(12), 3397–3408.
Kaczorowski, C. C., Davis, S. J., & Moyer, J. R. (2012). Aging redistributes medial prefrontal neuronal excitability and impedes extinction of trace fear conditioning. Neurobiology of Aging, 33(8), 1744–1757.