Prior to joining the Psychology and Neuroscience faculty in 2020, Dr. Crofton was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC, in the Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education (SPIRE) Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. Her postdoctoral research in the laboratories of Melissa A. Herman, Ph.D. and A. Leslie Morrow, Ph.D, focused on the neurobiological mechanisms of alcohol at the single-cell level using animal models. As part of her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Crofton was a part-time instructor in the Biology Department at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC in 2019. Her dissertation research in the laboratory of Thomas A. Green, Ph.D. focused on using animal models to identify and validate novel molecular targets for cocaine use disorder and mood disorders.

Dr. Crofton's laboratory at Emmanuel is broadly interested in examining the neurobiological and molecular mechanisms of abused drugs, especially alcohol, using animal models.

What I Love About Emmanuel:

Emmanuel's dedication to high quality undergraduate education with intimate class sizes and authentic research experiences for undergraduates, especially internship experiences.

Ph.D., Neuroscience, The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX;

B.A., Psychology with concentration in Neuroscience, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN

  • NEUROL2201: Neurobiology Laboratory
  • NEURO3000: Experimental Neuroscience
  • NEURO3216: Neurobiology of Addiction
  • NEURO4282, NEURO4283, NEURO4284: Neuroscience Internship
  • PSYCH2209: Physiological Bases of Behavior


  • Crofton EJ, Zhu M, Curtis KN, Nolan GW, O’Buckley TK, Morrow AL, Herman MA. (2022). Medial prefrontal cortex-basolateral amygdala circuit dysfunction in chronic alcohol-exposed male rats. Neuropharmacology. 205, 108912. Underline indicates EC undergraduate student. doi: 1016/j.neuropharm.2021.108912.
  • Crofton EJ*, Nenov MN*, Zhang Y*, Tapia CM, Donnelly J, Koshy S, Laezza F, Green TA. (2021). Topographic transcriptomics of the nucleus accumbens shell: Identification and validation of fatty acid binding protein 5 as target for cocaine addiction. 183, 108398. *these authors contributed equally. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2020.108398.
  • Agoglia AE*, Crofton EJ*, Herman MA. (2020). Biological intersection of sex, age, and environment in the corticotropin releasing factor (CRF) system and alcohol. Neuropharmacology. (170). *these authors contributed equally. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2020.108045
  • Hughes BA, Crofton EJ, O’Buckley TK, Herman MA, Morrow AL. (2019). Chronic ethanol exposure alters prelimbic prefrontal cortical Fast-Spiking and Martinotti interneuron function with differential sex specificity in rat brain. Neuropharmacology. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2019.107805. PMID31589884.
  • Zhang Y, Crofton EJ, Smith TES, Koshy S, Li D, Green TA. (2019). Manipulation of retinoic acid signaling in the nucleus accumbens shell alters rat emotional behavior. Behavioural Brain Research. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2019.112177. PMID31449909.
  • Scala F*, Nenov MN*, Crofton EJ, Singh AK, Folorunso O, Zhang Y, Chesson BC, Wildburger NC, James TF, Alshammari M, Alshammari T, Elfrink H, Grassi C, Lichti C, Rudra JS, D’Ascenzo M, Green TA, Laezza F. (2018). Environmental enrichment and social isolation mediate neuroplasticity of medium spiny neurons through the GSK3 pathway. Cell Reports. 23(2), 555-567. *these authors contributed equally. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.03.062. PMC6150488.
  • Crofton EJ, Nenov MN, Zhang Y, Scala F, Page SA, Li D, Hommel JD, Laezza F, Green TA. (2017). Glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta alters anxiety-, depression-, and addiction-related behaviors and neuronal activity in the nucleus accumbens shell. Neuropharmacology. 117, 49-60. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.01.020. PMC5386787.
  • Zhang Y*, Crofton EJ*, Fan X, Li D, Kong F, Sinha M, Luxon BA, Spratt HM, Lichti CF, Green TA. (2016). Convergent transcriptomics and proteomics of environmental enrichment and cocaine identifies novel therapeutic strategies for addiction. Neuroscience. 339, 254-266. *these authors contributed equally. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.09.051. PMC5118094.
  • Zhang Y, Kong F, Crofton EJ, Sinha M, Li D, Fan X, Hommel JD, Spratt HM, Luxon BA, Green TA. (2016). Transcriptomics of environmental enrichment reveals a role for retinoic acid signaling in addiction. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 9, 119. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2016.00119. PMC5110542.
  • Crofton EJ, Zhang Y, Green TA. (2015). Inoculation stress model of environmental enrichment, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 49c: 19-31. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.11.017. PMC4305384.
  • Zhang Y, Crofton EJ, Li D, Fan X, Nestler EJ, Green TA. (2014). Overexpression of DeltaFosB in nucleus accumbens mimics the protective addiction phenotype, but not the protective depression phenotype of environmental enrichment. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 8. 297. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00297. PMC4148937

Book Chapter

  • Crofton EJ, Zhang Y, Green TA. (2017). The proteomics of cocaine in the nucleus accumbens. In Preedy (Ed.), The Neuroscience of Cocaine: Mechanisms and Treatment. ISBN: 9780128037508.


  • Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education (SPIRE) Postdoctoral Fellowship, K12, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2017-2020
  • Neural and Pharmacological Mechanisms of Abused Drugs, T32 Predoctoral Fellowship, The University of Texas Medical Branch, 2014-2016


Dr. Crofton's research focuses on examining the neurobiological and molecular mechanisms of abused drugs using animal models. Drug addiction, or substance use disorders, is a complex brain disorder and although research has made large advances, treatment options remain limited. Dr. Crofton uses a variety of behavioral and molecular techniques to investigate the effects of alcohol on the rodent brain. She is particularly interested in individual differences in susceptibility of rodents to alcohol consumption. Treatment options may be improved with a better understanding of these underlying individual differences as well as the molecular pathogenesis, or development, of addiction.