Julie Mustard, Ph.D.

Julie Mustard, Ph.D.Julie Mustard, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
LHSB 2.814A
Office: 956-882-5869
julie.mustard@utrgv.edu

Office Hours

Courses

BIOL 4361 Neuroscience I
BIOL 3312 Cell and Molecular Biology
BIOL 3304 Research Methods for UTEACH

Education

Ph.D. Biochemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
B.S. Chemistry, Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA

Areas of Interest

Molecular mechanisms of learning and memory, honey bee behavior, the effects of alcohol and caffeine on the nervous system.

Research

What changes in the brain take place to allow us to learn and remember information? The honey bee, Apis mellifera, is an excellent system in which to investigate the mechanisms of learning and memory due to its outstanding ability to learn and its well characterized neurobiology. Current research focuses on the roles of biogenic amines in learning and memory. The biogenic amines are small intercellular signaling molecules that act as neurotransmitters and neuromodulators. They affect cells via binding to G protein coupled receptors that are expressed on the surface of responsive cells. The biogenic amines and their receptors are highly conserved across species; therefore, studying them in bees can provide insight into how they function in humans. Areas of research include: 1) Understanding the roles that the biogenic amines dopamine, octopamine and tyramine play in learning and memory and other behaviors; 2) Molecular and pharmacological characterization of the biogenic amine receptors; 3) Investigating how drugs of addiction, such as caffeine and alcohol, affect the reward pathways normally controlled by octopamine and dopamine.

Recent Publications

  • J.A. Mustard. (2014) The buzz on caffeine in invertebrates: effects on behavior and molecular mechanisms. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 71: 1375-1382.   
  • J. Rein, J.A. Mustard, M. Strauch, B.H. Smith and C.G. Galizia. (2013) Octopamine modulates the activity of neural networks in the honey bee antennal lobe. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 199: 947-962.   
  • G. A. Wright, D. Baker, M.Z. Palmer, D. Stabler, J.A. Mustard, E. Power, A.M. Borland and P.C. Stevenson. (2013) Caffeine in floral nectar enhances a pollinator’s memory of reward. Science 339: 1202-4.  
  • I. Sinakevitch*, J.A. Mustard* and B.H. Smith. (2011) Distribution of the octopamine receptor AmOA1 in the honey bee brain. PLoS ONE 6(1): e14536. *Co-first authors.  
  • J.A. Mustard, P.M. Pham and B.H. Smith. (2010) Modulation of motor behavior by dopamine and a D1-like dopamine receptor, AmDOP2, in the honey bee. Journal of Insect Physiology 56: 422-430.

Curriculum Vitae