Tracy Butler

Contact Information

Tracy Butler

Assistant Professor

  • Full-Time Faculty


Dr. Butler received her B.A. in Psychology from Wittenberg University in 2006 and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology from the University of Kentucky in 2011. During the three years prior to joining the UD faculty, Tracy completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Wake Forest University School of Medicine while working with Dr. Jeff Weiner in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology.

Dr. Butler’s research explores relationships between alcohol, stress, and the brain using preclinical rat models. Her previous work examined the effects of long-term alcohol exposure and withdrawal on neuronal cell death, as well as the effects of early life stress on alcohol intake and preference. The current aims of Dr. Butler’s research are to discover the environmental and physiological factors (e.g. stress, early alcohol exposure, sex, social factors) that predict high levels of alcohol consumption. Additionally, Dr. Butler is interested in how the neurobiological consequences of alcohol and/or stress differ in male and female subjects. Her lab uses standard behavioral, neurobiological, and molecular assays and is open to exploring new avenues of research methodology to answer her scientific questions.

Courses Taught

  • PSY 101: Introductory Psychology
  • PSY 422: Physiological Psychology


  • Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 2011
  • M.S., University of Kentucky, 2008
  • B.A., Wittenberg University, 2006

Selected publications and presentations

Peer-reviewed publications:

Butler TR, Carter E, & Weiner JL. (2014). "Adolescent social isolation does not lead to persistent increases in anxiety-like behavior or ethanol intake in female Long-Evans rats." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, e-pub ahead of print.

Butler TR, Ariwodola OJ, & Weiner JL. (2014). "The impact of social isolation on HPA axis function, anxiety-like behaviors, and ethanol drinking." Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 7: 102.

Butler TR, Chappell AM, & Weiner JL. (2014). "Activation of β3 adrenoceptors in the basolateral amygdala reduces ethanol seeking behaviors in male Long-Evans rats." Psychopharmacology, 231(1): 293-303.

Butler TR, Berry JN, Sharrett-Field LJ, Pauly JR, & Prendergast MA. (2013). "Long-term ethanol and corticosterone co-exposure sensitize the hippocampal CA1 region pyramidal cells to insult during ethanol withdrawal in an NMDA GluN2B subunit-dependent manner." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37(12): 2066-73.

Sharrett-Field LJ, Butler TR, Reynolds AR, Berry JN, & Prendergast MA. (2013). "Review: Sex differences in neuroadaptation to alcohol and withdrawal neurotoxicity." Pflügers Archives, 465(5): 643-654.

Sharrett-Field L, Butler TR, Berry JN, Reynolds AR, & Prendergast MA. (2013). "Mifepristone pre-treatment reduces ethanol withdrawal severity in vivo." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37(8): 1417-1423.

Butler TR & Prendergast MA. (2011). "Review: Neuroadaptations in adenosine receptor signaling following long-term ethanol exposure and withdrawal." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 36(1): 4-13.

Butler TR, Self RL, Smith KJ, Braden BB, & Prendergast MA. (2011). "Neurodegenerative Effects of Recombinant HIV-1 Tat (1-86) are Associated with Inhibition of Microtubule Formation and Oxidative Stress-Related Reductions in Microtubule-Associated Protein-2(a,b)." Neurochemical Research 36(5): 819-828.

Butler TR, Self RL, Smith KJ, Sharrett-Field LJ, Berry JN, Littleton JM, Pauly JR, Mulholland PJ, & Prendergast MA. (2010). "Selective vulnerability of hippocampal cornu ammonis 1 pyramidal cells to excitotoxic insult is associated with the expression of polyamine-sensitive N-methyl-D-asparate-type glutamate receptors." Neuroscience 165: 525-534.

Butler TR, Smith KJ, Berry JN, Sharrett-Field LJ, & Prendergast MA. (2009). "Sex differences in caffeine neurotoxicity following chronic ethanol exposure and withdrawal." Alcohol and Alcoholism 44(6): 567-574.

Butler TR, Smith KJ, Self RL, Braden BB, & Prendergast MA. (2008). "Sex differences in neurotoxic effects of adenosine A1 receptor antagonism during ethanol withdrawal: Reversal with an A1 agonist and NMDA receptor antagonist." Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 32(7): 1260-1270.

Book Chapters:

Butler TR & Weiner JL (In preparation) "Adolescent social isolation as model of chronic stress: Effects on ethanol drinking in male and female subjects in preclinical models," in Preedy VR (Ed.) The Neuropathology of Drug Addictions and Substance Misuse: Academic Press.

Butler TR & Prendergast MA. (2013) "Caffeine neurotoxicity and implications for tea," in Preedy VR (Ed.) Tea in Health and Disease Prevention. Waltham, Massachusettes: Academic Press.


Butler TR, Carter E, & Weiner JL. (2014). "Social isolation engenders an addiction-like phenotype in male, but not female, Long Evans rats relative to group housed counterparts." Invited speaker at Gordon Research Conference: Alcohol & the Nervous System, Galveston, TX.

Butler TR & Prendergast MA. (2010). In T.R. Butler and J. Weafer (Chairs), "Gender/sex differences in alcohol-related behaviors and neuronal injury: A graduate student perspective." Symposium presented at the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism World Congress, Paris, France.