James Moyer

  • Associate Dean, Social Sciences
  • Associate Professor, Psychology


Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1992

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

Research Interests

Professor Moyer's laboratory studies how the brain changes as a function of experience and as a function of the aging process. Their 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. His 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 the 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 Professor Moyer or visit the lab website (www.uwm.edu/~jrmoyer/) for more information about our research or extramurally funded research opportunities.

Dr. Moyer will recruit a new graduate student for Fall 2023 admissions.

Key Areas of Interest

  • Neurobiology of Learning, Memory, and Aging
  • Cellular Mechanisms of Neuronal Aging and Neurodegeneration

Selected Publications

Yousuf, H. , Ehlers, V. L., Sehgal, M. , Song, C. , & Moyer, J. R. (2020) Modulation of intrinsic excitability as a function of learning within the fear conditioning circuit. Neurobiology of learning and memory , 167, 107132.
Dulka, B. N., Pullins, S. E., Cullen, P. K., Moyer, J. R., & Helmstetter, F. J. (2020) Age-related memory deficits are associated with changes in protein degradation in brain regions critical for trace fear conditioning. Neurobiology of aging , 91, 160-166.
Yousuf, H. , Nye, A. N., & Moyer, J. R. (2020) Heterogeneity of neuronal firing type and morphology in retrosplenial cortex of male F344 rats. Journal of neurophysiology , 123(5), 1849-1863.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.