Behavioral and Translational Neuroscience

Using a combination of traditional behavioral testing, modern manipulation methods, and advanced imaging, our research mainly focuses on the neurobiological basis of behavior, both in physiological and pathological circumstances.

Our research group consists of researchers with a variety of backgrounds. The group consists of three teams: Snoeren-Heijkooplab, McCutcheonlab and Huijgenslab. The common theme of our research is how processes in the brain lead to the expression of behaviors that are involved in natural reward.

Our people

Our teams & projects



No events are scheduled at the moment



Huijgens PT, Heijkoop R, Vanderschuren LJMJ, Lesscher HMB, Snoeren EMS. 
CaMKIIa+ neurons in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis modulate pace of natural reward seeking depending on internal state.
Psychopharmacology. 2024. doi: 10.1007/s00213-024-06561-5

Heijkoop R, Lalanza JF, Solanas M, Álvarez-Monell A, Subias-Gusils A, Escorihuela RM, Snoeren EMS.
Changes in reward-induced neural activity upon Cafeteria Diet consumption.
Physiology & Behavior. 2024. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2024.114478

Garau C, Hayes, J, Chiacchierini G, McCutcheon JE, Apergis-Schoute J.
Involvement of A13 dopaminergic neurons in prehensile movements but not reward in the rat.
Current Biology. 2023. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2023.09.044

Huijgens PT, Heijkoop R, Snoeren, EMS.
Sexual Incentive Motivation.
In: Paredes, R.G., Portillo, W., Bedos, M. (eds) Animal Models of Reproductive Behavior. Neuromethods, vol 200. Humana, New York, NY. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-3234-5_9

Volcko KL, McCutcheon JE.
Protein preference and elevated plasma FGF21 induced by dietary protein restriction is similar in both male and female mice.
Physiology & Behavior. 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2022.113994

Chiacchierini G, Naneix F, Apergis-Schoute J, McCutcheon JE.
Restriction of dietary protein in rats increases progressive-ratio motivation for protein.
Physiology & Behavior. 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2022.113877

Hayes J, Garau C, Chiacchierini G, Urcelay GP, McCutcheon JE, Apergis-Schoute J.
Predictive and motivational factors influencing anticipatory contrast: A comparison of contextual and gustatory predictors in food restricted and free-fed rats.
Physiology & Behavior. 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113603

Sylte OC, Johansen JS, Heinla I, Houwing DJ, Olivier JDA, Heijkoop R, Snoeren EMS.
Effects of perinatal fluoxetine exposure on novelty-induced social and non-social investigation behaviors in a seminatural environment.
Psychopharmacology. 2021. doi: 10.1007/s00213-021-05984-8

Huijgens PT, Guarraci FA, Olivier JDA, Snoeren EMS
Male rat sexual behavior: insights from inter-copulatory intervals.
Behavioural Processes. 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2021.104458

Chu X, Snoeren EMS, Södersten P, Ågmo A
Sexual incentive motivation and male and female copulatory behavior in female rats given androgen from postnatal day 20.
Physiology & Behavior. 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113460

Heinla I, Chu X, Ågmo A, Snoeren EMS
Rat ultrasonic vocalizations and novelty-induced social and non-social investigation behavior in a seminatural environment.
Physiology & Behavior. 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2021.113450

Chiacchierini G, Naneix F, Peters KZ, Apergis-Schoute J, Snoeren EMS, McCutcheon JE
Protein appetite drives macronutrient-related differences in ventral tegmental area neural activity.
Journal of Neuroscience. 2021. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3082-20.2021

Lalanza JF, Snoeren EMS
The Cafeteria Diet: a standardized protocol and its effects on behavior.
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.11.003

Huijgens PT, Heijkoop R, Snoeren EMS
Silencing and stimulating the medial amygdala impairs ejaculation but not sexual incentive motivation in male rats.
Behavioural Brain Research. 2021. doi:

Peters KZ, Young AMJ, McCutcheon JE
Distracting stimuli evoke ventral tegmental area responses in rats during ongoing saccharin consumption.
European Journal of Neuroscience. 2021. doi:

Huijgens PT, Snoeren EMS, Meisel RL, Mermelstein PG
Effects of gonadectomy and dihydrotestosterone on neuronal plasticity in motivation and reward related brain regions in the male rat.
Journal of Neuroendocrinology. 2020. doi: 10.1111/jne.12918

Naneix F, Peters KZ, Young AMJ, McCutcheon JE.
Age-dependent effects of protein restriction on dopamine release.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2020. doi: 10.1038/s41386-020-0783-z

Hegstad J, Huijgens PT, Houwing DJ, Olivier DA, Heijkoop R, Snoeren EMS.
Female rat sexual behavior is unaffected by perinatal fluoxetine exposure
Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104796

Heinla I, Heijkoop R, Houwing DJ, Olivier JD, Snoeren EMS.
Third-party prosocial behavior in adult female rats is impaired after perinatal fluoxetine exposure.
Physiology & Behavior. 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2020.112899

Naneix F, Peters KZ, McCutcheon JE
Investigating the effect of physiological need states on palatability and motivation using microstructural analysis of licking.
Neuroscience. 2019 Nov 1. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2019.10.036

Houwing DJ, Heijkoop R, Olivier JDA, Snoeren EMS.
Perinatal fluoxetine exposure changes social and stress-coping behavior in adult rats housed in a seminatural environment.
Neuropharmacology. 2019 Apr 6;151:84-97. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.03.037.

Snoeren EMS.
Female reproductive behavior.
Curr Top Behav Neurosci. 2019 Feb 19. doi: 10.1007/7854_2018_68.

Heijkoop R, Huijgens PT, Snoeren EMS.
Assessment of sexual behavior in rats: The potentials and pitfalls.
Behav Brain Res. 2018 Oct 15;352:70-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2017.10.029.

Le Moëne O, Snoeren EM.
Mate choice could be random in female rats (Rattus norvegicus).
Physiol Behav. 2018 Feb 1;184:1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.10.031.

Past members

Behavioral and Translational Neuroscience

Huginbakken 32, 9037 Tromsø
+47 77 64 92 15
Logg inn / Login