Stephen L. Boehm, Ph.D.

Professor and Department Chair, Psychology

Primary Faculty, Stark Neurosciences Research Institute

(317) 274-6927
Research Areas:
Addiction Neuroscience


Work in my lab seeks to understand how developmental and genetic factors influence binge alcohol drinking, as well as sensitivity to delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component in marijuana.

Behaviors thought to influence both propensity to engage in binge-like alcohol drinking and THC sensitivity in mice are studied. We use mice of different developmental and genetic backgrounds to ask mechanistic questions about the complex relationships between brain and behavior.

For example, we compare different genetic mouse models to assess age-specific sensitivity to alcohol's behavioral actions and determine how alcohol exposure during prenatal and early postnatal development influences that of adulthood. Moreover, we employ state-of-the-art techniques to study the relationships between brain and behavioral sensitivity to alcohol and THC in mice, including site-specific microinjection into discrete brain regions and ELISA analysis of protein expression across brain structures to determine which neurotransmitter systems and brain structures are important modulators of alcohol-related behavior.

Our hope is that such work will help elucidate the behavioral/brain mechanisms associated with sensitivity to alcohol and THC in humans and provide further insight into how those mechanisms influence (and are influenced by) repeated drug exposure across development. Our work is supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Research affiliations


  • 2002-2005 Postdoctoral, Behavioral and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Texas at Austin.
  • 1996-2002 Behavioral Neuroscience Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University, Portland.
  • 1990-1996 Psychology B. A., University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.

Publications & Professional Activity

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications

= mentored student

  1. Rangel-Barajas C, Boehm II SL, Logrip ML (2021) Altered excitatory transmission in striatal medium spiny neurons after chronic ethanol consumption in selectively bred crossed High-Alcohol Preferring mice. Neuropharmacology, in press.
  2. Bauer MR, McVey MM, Boehm II SL (2021) Three-weeks binge-like alcohol drinking generates increased motivation for alcohol and robust compulsive-like quinine-resistant alcohol drinking in male and female C57BL/6J mice. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 45:650-660. PMCID: in process.
  3. Rangel-Barajas C, Coronel I, Zhang Y, Hernández M, Boehm II SL (2020) Low-level developmental lead exposure does not predispose to adult alcohol self-administration, but does increase the risk of relapsing to alcohol seeking in mice: contrasting role of GLT1 and xCT brain expression. Neuropharmacology, 181:108339. PMCID: in process
  4. Bauer MR, Garcy DP, Boehm II C SL (2020) Systemic administration of the AMPA receptor antagonist, NBQX, reduces alcohol drinking in male C57BL/6J, but female or High Alcohol Preferring (HAP), mice. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 44:2316-2325. PMCID: PMC7680405
  5. Smoker M, Hernández M, Zhang Y, Boehm II SL (2019) Assessment of acute motor effects and tolerance following self-administration of alcohol and edible THC in adolescent male mice. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 43:2446-2457. PMCID: PMC6824955
  6. Smoker M, Mackie K, Lapish CL, Boehm II SL (2019) Self-administration of edible Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol and associated behavioral effects in mice. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 199:106-115. PMCID: PMC7158699.
  7. Kasten C, Zhang Y, Boehm II SL (2019) Acute cannabinoids produce robust anxiety-like and locomotor effects in mice, but long-term consequences are age- and sex-dependent. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, PMCID: PMC6391357.
  8. Kasten C, Zhang Y, Mackie K, Boehm II SL (2018) Short-term genetic selection for adolescent locomotor sedative sensitivity to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Behavior Genetics, 48:224-235. PMCID: PMC5935564.
  9. Kasten CR, Zhang Y, Boehm II SL (2017) Acute and long-term effects of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol on memory and anxiety are age- and strain-dependent in mice. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, in press.
  10. Melon LC, Nolan ZT, Colar D, Moore EM, Boehm II SL (2017) Activation of extrasynaptic GABAA receptors and inhibition of neurosteroid synthesis have separable estrous-dependent effects on binge drinking. Hormones and Behavior, 95:65-75. PMCID: PMC5623082.
  11. Roldan M, Echeverry-Alzate V, Buhler KM, Sanchez-Diez IJ, Calleja-Conde J, Olmos P, Boehm II SL, Maldonado R, Rodriguez de Fonseca F, Santiago C, Gomez-Gallego F, Gine E, Lopez-Moreno JA (2017) Red Bull® energy drink increases consumption of higher concentrations of alcohol: Evidence from the operant alcohol self-administration paradigm. Addiction Biology, in press.
  12. Qiu B, Luczak SE, Wall TL, Kirchhoff AM, Xu Y, Eng MY, Stewart RB, Shou W, Boehm II SL, Chester JA, Yong W, Liang T (2016) FKBP5 gene affects alcohol drinking in knockout mice and is implicated in alcohol drinking in humans. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17:E1271. PMCID: PMC5000669.
  13. Kasten CR, Frazee AM, Boehm II SL (2016) Developing a model of binge-like nicotine consumption in C57BL/5J mice. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 148:28-37. PMCID – in process.
  14. Fritz BM, Quoilin C, Kasten CR, Smoker M, Boehm II SL (2016) Concomitant caffeine increases binge consumption of ethanol in adolescent and adult mice, but produces additive motor stimulation only in adolescent animals. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 40:1351-1360. PMCID: PMC4889470.
  15. Quoilin C, Boehm II SL (2016) Involvement of the GABAA receptor in age-dependent differences in binge-like ethanol intake. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 40:408-417. PMCID – in process.
  16. Fritz BM, Boehm II SL (2015) Adenosinergic regulation of binge-like ethanol drinking and associated locomotor effects in male C57BL/6J mice. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 135:83-89. PMCID: PMC 4492850.
  17. Linsenbardt DN, Boehm II SL (2015) Relative fluid novelty differentially alters the time course of limited-access ethanol and water intake in selectively bred high-alcohol-preferring mice. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39:621-630. PMCID: PMC4384188.
  18. Kasten CR, Blasingame SN, Boehm II SL (2015) Bidirectional enantioselective effects of the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen in two mouse models of excessive ethanol consumption. Alcohol, 49:37-46. PMCID: PMC4314367.
  19. Fritz BM, Boehm II SL (2014) The effect of prior alcohol consumption on sensitivity and acute functional tolerance to alcohol-induced ataxia in High Alcohol Preferring mice. Alcohol, 48:765-772. PMCID: PMC4254582.
  20. Kasten CR, Boehm II SL (2014) Intra-nucleus accumbens shell injections of R(+)- and S(-)-baclofen bidirectionally alter binge-like ethanol, but not saccharin, intake in C57BL/6J mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 272:238-247. PMCID: PMC4134668.
  21. Fritz BM, Boehm II SL (2014) Site-specific microinjection of Gaboxadol into the infralimbic cortex modulates ethanol intake in male C57BL/6J mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 273:8-15. PMCID: PMC4152776.
  22. Fritz BM, Companion M, Boehm II SL (2014) “Wired,” yet intoxicated: modeling binge caffeine and alcohol co-consumption in the mouse. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 38:2269-2278. PMCID: PMC4146700.
  23. Fritz BM, Cordero KA, Barkley-Levenson AM, Metten P, Crabbe JC, Boehm II SL (2014) Genetic relationship between predisposition for binge alcohol consumption and blunted sensitivity to adverse effects of alcohol in mice. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 38:1284-1292. PMCID: PMC3999212.
  24. Linsenbardt DN, Boehm II SL (2014) Alterations in the rate of (binge) ethanol consumption: Implications for preclinical studies in mice. Addiction Biology, 19:812-825. PMCID: PMC3775999.