College of Veterinary Medicine

Research in IPN

Heiko T. Jansen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
VBR rm. 315
Telephone:(509) 335-7056 
Fax: (509) 335-4650


Research in the Jansen laboratory focuses on the role of biological rhythms in the organization of motivated behaviors, such as sex, feeding, drug and alcohol seeking.  Biological rhythms are expressed by virtually all species because we evolved on a rotating planet.  The internalization of this geophysical event, combined with annual changes in daylength (at higher latitudes), has resulted in animals (and humans) occupying a characteristic temporal niche (for example, nocturnal or diurnal).  However, in behaviorally flexible species such as humans, our social structures impose additional, often antagonizing, temporal constraints on our behavior that together can lead to variety of poor outcomes (drug and alcohol abuse, depression, etc.). In other species, this flexibility may be advantageous by allowing for more efficient foraging.  Our long-term goal is to understand the mechanisms underlying these different outcomes. 

Several research questions are currently being formulated to address our long-term goal.  First, how is the circadian system integrated into the reward system responsible for generating motivated behaviors such as drug and food seeking?  Second, are the genes responsible for generating circadian rhythms (the so-called “Clock Genes”) directly involved in the behavioral adaptations we observed or are these events occurring downstream from the clock?  Third, is it possible that conflicting temporal cues can be internalized to be detrimental on the one hand but beneficial on the other hand?  Fourth, is temporal niche switching used to optimize food resources or avoid human disturbance?  As a neuroscience laboratory, we use a variety of in vitro and in vivo techniques to address these questions. These include, but are not limited to, behavioral, anatomical, and molecular techniques in the laboratory and in the field.  Additionally, because we work with a wide range of mammalian species, a truly comparative perspective is provided for our trainees.

Click on the links below for additional information about our specific research topics.

Interactions Between Biological Rhythms and Motivated Behaviors     

The Brain and Peripheral Organs Contain Molecular Clocks

Rhythms of Behavior During Extreme Adaptations

Biographical Information

Heiko T. Jansen, Associate Professor in IPN, received his B.A. in Biology from Franklin Pierce College, Rindge, NH. He received both his M.S. in Pharmacology/Toxicology (1987) and Ph.D. in Physiology (1993) from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, IL. From 1993-1997 he did postdoctoral work at the University of Cincinnati and was awarded an NIH post-doctoral fellowship. In 1997, he was appointed to the faculty at the University of Cincinnati as Research Assistant Professor and also served as a member of the Neuroscience Graduate Program. From 1997-1999, he also served as an adjunct faculty member in the Biology Department of Xavier University. He joined IPN at Washington State University and the Neuroscience Graduate Faculty in the summer of 2000.


Ware JV, Nelson OL, Robbins CT, Jansen HT; Temporal organization of activity in the brown bear (Ursus arctos): roles of circadian rhythms, light, and food entrainment; Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2012 Nov;303(9):R890-902. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00313.2012. Epub 2012 Sep 12; PMID: 22972838 [PubMed-in process]
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Li AJ, Wiater MF, Oostrom MT, Smith BR, Wang Q, Dinh TT, Roberts BL, Jansen HT, Ritter S; Leptin-sensitive neurons in the arcuate nuclei contribute to endogenous feeding rhythms; Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2012 Jun;302(11):R1313-26. Epub 2012 Apr 4; PMID: 22492818 [PubMed - in process]
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Jansen HT, Sergeeva A, Stark G, Sorg BA; Circadian discrimination of reward: evidence for simultaneous yet separable food- and drug-entrained rhythms in the rat; Chronobiol Int. 2012 May;29(4):454-68. Epub 2012 Apr 4; PMID: 22475541 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Ware JV, Nelson OL, Robbins CT, Jansen HT; Split parturition observed in a captive North American brown bear (Ursus arctos); Zoo Biol. 2012 Mar-Apr;31(2):255-9. doi: 10.1002/zoo.20424. Epub 2011 Oct 24; PMID: 22025081 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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Hileman SM, McManus CJ, Goodman RL, Jansen HT; Neurons of the lateral preoptic area/rostral anterior hypothalamic area are required for photoperiodic inhibition of estrous cyclicity in sheep; Biol Reprod. 2011 Nov;85(5):1057-65. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod.111.092031. Epub 2011 Aug 3; PMID: 21816852 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
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Jansen HT, Hershey J, Mytinger A, Foster DL, Padmanabhan V; Developmental programming: reproductive endocrinopathies in the adult female sheep after prenatal testosterone treatment are reflected in altered ontogeny of GnRH afferents; Endocrinology. 2011 Nov;152(11):4288-97. doi: 10.1210/en.2011-0117. Epub 2011 Sep 20; PMID: 21933866 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
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Browning JR, Browning DA, Maxwell AO, Dong Y, Jansen HT, Panksepp J, Sorg BA; Positive affective vocalizations during cocaine and sucrose self-administration: a model for spontaneous drug desire in rats; Neuropharmacology. 2011 Jul-Aug;61(1-2):268-75. Epub 2011 Apr 21.PMID: 21530553 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
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Sorg BA, Stark G, Sergeeva A, Jansen HT; Photoperiodic suppression of drug reinstatement; Neuroscience. 2011 Mar 10;176:284-95. Epub 2010 Dec 24; PMID: 21185915 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE] Free PMC Article
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Last Edited: Jul 09, 2013 8:35 AM   

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