Assistant Professor of Psychology
My college career began with a love of biology; however, taking my first behavioral neuroscience course sparked my curiosity about the interplay of the human nervous system and the behaviors we engage in daily. From that point, I began my career in behavioral neuroscience. My research interests focus on addiction and the neurological correlates underlying that behavior. I began to research as an undergraduate investigating the electrical stimulation of the brain to elicit behaviors common to addiction. My graduate career saw further research into both animal models of alcoholism and obesity using operant conditioning and selectively bred or transgenic animal models. During my postdoctoral fellowship, my research shifted from animal models of addiction to investigating these behaviors in humans using modern neuroimaging techniques including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). I strive to channel my passion for research and the further understanding of the human mind into developing an engaging neuroscience curriculum. I endeavor to encourage my students to view behavior in a new light and to provide them with opportunities to research the interaction of the brain and behavior while maintaining the tenets of a liberal arts education.
I experienced the same dilemma as an undergraduate student. The human body and its underlying physiology had always fascinated me but was equally captivated by the complexities of human behavior. During my years as an undergraduate, my options were limited to a degree in biology or a degree in psychology. Students today have another option available to them in the field of behavioral neuroscience, a rapidly growing field studying the interaction of the brain’s physiology and its effect on behavior. Behavioral neuroscience is the study of the genetic, developmental, and physiological mechanisms of human behavior through the application of biological and psychological principles. Studying behavioral neuroscience provides students with a core curriculum that spans the natural sciences while focusing on psychological tenets and how they are driven by changes in neural physiology. Franklin College offers a Neuroscience major that allows students to choose from a focus on behavior, biology, or chemistry and physics.
Neuroscience is a vast field that allows majors to pursue any number of careers. Many neuroscience majors choose to continue their education by pursuing an advanced degree. These individuals can find employment in industry positions such as the pharmaceutical field or academia as researchers and/or professors. Some neuroscience majors will choose to apply to medical or dental school, while others may pursue a career in law. Students can also find many lucrative career paths with only an undergraduate degree. These individuals can serve as research associates in either the pharmaceutical industry or academia, but they can also find employment in psychometrics, science writing, forensic science, education, law enforcement, marketing, nonprofit work, etc.
“The aperitif effect: alcohol’s effects on the brain’s response to food aromas.” Eiler, W.J.A. II, Dzemidzic, M., Case, K.R., Soeurt, C.M., O’Connor, S.J., Considine, R.V., & Kareken, D.A. Poster at the annual meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism, San Francisco, CA, June 2014.
“Obese women show increased activation of frontal reward regions to odors of foods eaten to satiety: a case for sensory-specific sensitization?” Eiler, W.J.A. II, Dzemidzic, M., Case, K.R., Considine, R.V. & Kareken, D.A. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society, San Antonio, TX, September 2012.
“Generality of the relapse phenomenon: reinstatement of food reinforced behavior and its modulation by mGlu5 receptor blockade.” Eiler, W.J.A. II, Gleason, S., & Witkin J.M. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA, November 2007.
Eiler, W.J.A. II, Gleason, S.D., Smith J.L., Witkin, J.M. (2019) A medium throughput rodent model of relapse from addiction with behavioral and pharmacological specificity. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 183:72-79.
Oberlin, B.G., Dzemidzic, M., Eiler, W.J.A. II, Carron, C.R., Soeurt, C.M., Plawecki, M.H., Grahame, N.J., O’Connor, S.J., Kareken, D.A. (2018) Pairing neutral cues with alcohol intoxication: new findings in executive and attention networks. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2018 Sep; 235(9): 2725-2737.
Eiler, W.J.A. II, Dzemidzic, M., Soeurt, C.M., Carron, C.R., Oberlin, B.G., Considine, R.V., Harezlak, J., & Kareken, D.A. (2017) Family History of Alcoholism and Human Brain Response to Oral Sucrose. NeuroImage: Clinical.
Eiler, W.J.A. II, Dzemidzic, M., Case, K.R., Soeurt, C.M., Armstrong, C.L., Mattes, R.D., O’Connor, S.J., Harezlak, J., Acton, A.J., Considine, R.V., & Kareken, D.A. (2015) The apéritif effect: Alcohol’s effects on the brain’s response to food aromas in women. Obesity. 23(7):1386-93.
Eiler, W.J.A. II, Dzemidzic, M., Case, K.R., Armstrong, C.L., Mattes, R.D., Cyders, M.A., Considine, R.V., & Kareken, D.A. (2014) Ventral frontal satiation-mediated responses to food aromas in obese and normal-weight women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 99(6):1309-18.
Eiler, W.J.A. II & June, H.L. (2007) Blockade of GABAA receptors within the extended amygdala attenuates D2 regulation of alcohol-motivated behaviors in the ventral tegmental area of alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Neuropharmacology. 52(8):1570-9.
I am an avid science fiction fan (i.e. nerd) and have an extensive Star Wars Lego collection, yes that is a point of pride. I love games of all varieties from card to tabletop, and board to role-playing. I also officiate women’s and men’s roller derby at the local and international levels. I love to travel and am a (very) amateur photographer. In my free time, I enjoy working on my classic cars and just generally tinkering in my garage along with spending as much time as possible with my family, friends, and four-legged children.