Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Sarah Holstein

Sarah Holstein


B.A., Randolph-Macon Woman’s College
Ph.D., Oregon Health & Science University

Contact Information:

Campus Post Office Box 1

Associate Professor of Psychology and Chair of the Department

Sarah Holstein earned her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Oregon Health & Science University. Her interests focus on the actions of drugs of abuse in the brain and neurobiological models of addiction, with her research focusing on the role of brain reward pathways in acute alcohol sensitivity and drinking behaviors. Dr. Holstein’s current research focuses on the impact of caffeine on alcohol use using a rodent model, specifically evaluating how acute caffeine alters patterns of alcohol use and motivation for an alcohol reinforcer. She also has published on pedagogical strategies, focusing on methods professors can use to address scientific literacy and improve scientific writing in the undergraduate classroom. Dr. Holstein joined the psychology faculty in August 2015.

Selected publications

Holstein, S.E., Barkell, G.*, & Young, M.* (2021). Caffeine increases alcohol self-administration, an effect that is independent of dopamine D2 receptor function. Alcohol, 91, 61-73. [* Lycoming College student]

Faccidomo, S., Holstein, S.E., Santanam, T.S., Saunders, B.L., Swaim, K.S., Reid, G.T., O’Neill, C., Eastman, V.R., & Hodge, C.W. (2020). Pharmacological inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3 increases operant alcohol self-administration in a manner associated with altered pGSK-3β, PICK1 and GluA2 protein expression in the reward pathway of male C57BL/6J mice. Behavioural Pharmacology, 31(1), 15-26.

Agoglia, A.E.**, Holstein, S.E.**, Small, A.T., Spanos, M., Burrus, B.M., & Hodge, C.W. (2017). Comparison of the adolescent and adult mouse prefrontal cortex proteome. PLoS One, 12(6), e0178391. [**co-first author]

Agoglia, A.E., Holstein, S.E., Eastman, V.R., & Hodge, C.W. (2016). Cannabinoid CB1 receptor inhibition blunts adolescent-typical increased binge alcohol and sucrose consumption in male C57BL/6J mice. Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior, 143, 11-17.

Agoglia, A.E., Holstein, S.E., Reid, G., & Hodge, C.W. (2015). CaMKIIα-GluA1 activity underlies vulnerability to adolescent binge alcohol drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39, 1680-1690.

Holstein, S.E., Mickley Steinmetz, K.R., & Miles, J.E. (2015). Teaching science writing in an introductory laboratory course. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 13, A101-A109. 

Holstein, S.E., Li, N., Eshleman, A.J., & Phillips, T.J. (2013). GABAB receptor activation attenuates the stimulant but not mesolimbic dopamine response to ethanol in FAST mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 237, 49-58.

Holstein, S.E.**, Spanos, M.**, & Hodge, C.W. (2011). Adolescent C57BL/6J mice show elevated alcohol intake, but reduced taste aversion, as compared to adults: A potential behavioral mechanism for binge drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 35, 1842-1851. [**co-first author]