University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

Falls Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience

Research in the Falls Laboratory examines the neurobiological mechanism involved in both the elicitation and reduction of fear and anxiety. We accomplish this using a variety of techniques including behavioral assessment of fear and anxiety, pharmacological manipulations, and neuroanatomical and molecular techniques. Specific questions include:

  • What are the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the interaction of fear and anxiety and stress?
  • What are the neurobiological mechanisms of the anxiolytic effects of voluntary exercise?
  • How does stress interact with the anxiolytic effect of exercise?

Principal Investigator

Laboratory Team

William Falls

William A. Falls, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair of Psychological Science
Brendan Hare

Brendan Hare, M.A.

Stephanie Menotti

Stephanie Menotti, B.A.

Selected Publications

  • Lezak, K. M., Roman, C.W. Braas, K.M., Schutz, K.C., Schulkin, J., Falls, W.A., May, V, & Hammack, S.E * (in press) Regulation of bed nucleus of the stria terminalis PACAP expression by stress and corticosterone. Journal of Molecular Neuroscience.
  • Hare, B.H., Beierle, J.A. Toufexis, D. Toufexis, D.J., Hammack, S.E. & Falls, W.A.* (2014). Exercise associated changes in the corticosterone response to acute restraint stress: evidence for increased adrenal sensitivity and reduced corticosterone response duration. Neuropsychopharmacology. 39, 1262-1269 doi:10.1038/npp.2013.329.
  • Hare, B.H., D’Onfro, K.D., Hammack, S.E. & Falls, W.A. *(2012). Prior Stress Interferes With the Anxiolytic Effect of Exercise in C57BL/6J Mice. Behavioral Neuroscience. 126, 850-856.
  • Sibold, J.S.*, Hammack, S.E. & Falls, W.A. (2011). C57 mice increase wheel-running behavior following stress: preliminary findings. Perceptual and Motor Skills. 113, 605-618.
  • Falls, W.A.* MacAulay, C.M. & Fox, J.H. (2010). Voluntary exercise improves both learning and consolidation of cued conditioned fear in C57 mice. Behavioural Brain Research. 207, 321-331.

The Falls Lab benefits from collaborations with several UVM faculty including:

Sayamwong (Jom) Hammack Sayamwong Hammack, Ph.D.
Department of Psychological Science
University of Vermont
Donna Toufexis Donna Toufexis, Ph.D.
Department of Psychological Science
University of Vermont
Diane Jaworski Diane Jaworski, Ph.D.
Department of Neurological Science
University of Vermont
Mercedes Rincon Mercedes Rincon, Ph.D.
Department of Immunology
University of Vermont