Ben Richardson, PhD

Assistant Professor

    About me



    Ben Richardson <>


    Research Interests and Specialties

    The nervous system is complex and we still understand relatively little about the cause of or how to treat many neuropsychiatric disorders, like Autism, addiction, or schizophrenia. The two goals of our lab are to 1) develop a more complete understanding of certain neurocircuits and 2) use that information to inform we view and assess environmental and genetic contributions to neuropsychiatric disease.

    Anatomy & Function of Sensorimotor Circuits: Our lab is interested in understanding the detailed workings of sensorimotor processing circuits, especially those that involve the cerebellum functioning outside of the motor system. A growing body of evidence suggests that the cerebellum may be involved in non-motor functions through its interactions with brain areas involved in reward, attention and emotion. We are currently using a combination of electrophysiology, histochemistry, viral tract tracing, transgenic mice, and optogenetics to develop detailed knowledge of some of these poorly neural pathways.

    Novel Roles for Cerebellum in Disease: The expanding view of brain areas and functions that involve the cerebellum establish a rich network of interactions by which cerebellar dysfunction may impact a broad array of neural functions, processes and behaviors. We are working to identify the mechanisms by which changes or effects in the cerebellum may contribute to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), alcoholism, and deficits in auditory processing. This work involves the use of whole animal and brain slice electrophysiology, histochemistry, optogenetics and assessment of behaviors in a number of wildtype and transgenic mouse lines.



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    Education & training

    Doctorate Degree
    PhD, Pharmacology, Southern Illinois University - School of Medicine, Springfield, IL
    Undergraduate Degree
    B.S., Psychology (summa cum laude), Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL
    Grass Foundation Neuroscience Fellow, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA
    Postdoc - Neuroscience, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
    Postdoc - Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, Washington State University, Pullman, WA


    Richardson BD (PI), National Institutes of Health NIDCD, R21DC018365, Network modulators of auditory thalamocortical feedback inhibition, 8/3/2020-7/31/2023
    Richardson BD (PI), National Institutes of Health NIMH, R01MH129749, Cerebellar granule cell dysfunction in Shank3 mutant mice, 6/23/2022 – 4/30/2027


    Outstanding Research Mentor Award, University of Washington – WWAMI, 2019
    Grass Foundation Fellow, Marine Biological Laboratory, 2017
    Outstanding Poster, Behavior, Biology and Chemistry: Translational Research in Addiction, 2014
    Postdoctoral Travel Award, Behavior, Biology and Chemistry: Translational Research in Addiction, 2014
    Graduate Student Travel Award, Society for Neuroscience, 2011

    Related articles

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    SIU grad student completes Mt. Everest base camp trek

    Rajaram Kshetri, a PhD student in the Richardson Lab at SIU School of Medicine, successfully completed a trek to the Mount Everest Base Camp in December 2023.
    Ben Richardson

    $1.86M grant helps SIU scientist broaden brain research into autism

    Ben Richardson, Ph.D. , has spent his career studying functions and circuits in the brain and what causes them to behave abnormally, especially within an area called the cerebellum. His work has