Dr. Wheeler received his undergraduate and graduate degrees in neuroscience at the University of Scranton and Penn State University. There he studied the neural substrates of motivated behavior. He learned electrophysiological and electrochemical techniques in his postdoctoral training at the University of North Carolina.
At Marquette University, Dr. Wheeler applies these techniques to understand how the neural systems that regulate hedonic and emotional processing influence motivation. Understanding the neural underpinnings of these systems will define the forces that control motivated behavior and ultimately how behavioral disorders, such as obesity and substance abuse, can be treated. Dr. Wheeler teaches BIOL 8501 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, BISC 7120 Medical Pharmacology and BISC 7520 Dental Pharmacology.
Emotion has a profound impact on animal behavior. In fact, the same neural mechanisms of learning that evolved to guide animals toward natural rewards also regulate mood. The goal of my research program is to understand the neural regulation of emotion, or affect, and the control it exerts over adaptive and, in the case of obesity and drug-seeking, maladaptive behavior.