Barbara Thompson, PhD

Assistant Professor

616-234-2759
Barbara.Thompson@hc.msu.edu

Barbara Thompson, Assistant Professor in the College of Human Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and Human Development, studies social and emotional neurodevelopment. As a trained behavioral neuroscientist, Dr. Thompson uses behavioral, molecular, and physiological techniques to study the impact of environmental and genetic perturbations on brain development. Having extensively studied limbic circuitry and how disruptions alter affective processing, as well as how prenatal disruptions in reward circuitry lead to significant changes in behavior and cellular functions throughout development, Dr. Thompson now merges these interests in her own laboratory. Her research program explores the neurobiological underpinnings of neurodevelopmental disorders in which disruptions in both affect and reward can have detrimental effects. Utilizing a combination of techniques in basic science and clinical research, Dr. Thompson’s laboratory explores functional disruptions in behavior and attempts to elucidate the underlying neural changes responsible for these disruptions. The long-term goals of her studies are to better understand these functional disruptions and responsible neural circuitry, thereby allowing for the design of individualized interventions for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Education & Training


  • BS, Psychology, Florida State University, USA
  • PhD Psychology, University of Delaware, USA
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University, USA

Selected Grants


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse, F32
  • Zumberge Faculty Research and Innovation Fund, Foundation
  • JPB Foundation, Foundation

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications


  • Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 2015, 7: doi.org/10.1186/s11689-015-9131-8
  • Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 2015, 9: doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00187
  • Translational Psychiatry, 2015, doi:10.1038/tp.2015.62
  • Autism Research, 2011, 4: 68-83
  • Neuron, 2010, 67: 702-12
  • Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2009, 10: 303-12