After graduating with honors in Psychology from Villanova University, Professor Rebec received a Ph.D. in Biopsychology from the University of Colorado in 1975. He spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at San Diego before coming to IU in 1977. He rose through the ranks to become Director of the Program in Neuroscience, one of the nation's first interdisciplinary programs devoted to the study of nervous system function. He currently directs the Program's federally funded training grant, which supports integrated predoctoral training in drug abuse research.
Professor Rebec uses electrochemical, electrophysiological, and pharmacological techniques to identify the neurochemical mechanisms by which individual neurons process behaviorally relevant information. His research focuses on the role of forebrain neural circuits in motivation and movement. He has published extensively on issues related to drug abuse, neurodegenerative disease, schizophrenia, and related biomedical topics. Current projects focus on the neural mechanisms underlying relapse to drug-seeking behavior and the motor abnormalities of Huntington's disease. His research has received continuous support from the National Institutes of Health for over 25 years. Support also has come from the National Science Foundation and the Hereditary Disease Foundation. Professor Rebec is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association for Psychological Science. In the course of his research, Professor Rebec has trained dozens of pre- and postdoctoral researchers, and several hundred undergraduates have worked in his laboratory. He also is working with other IU faculty members to enhance undergraduate science training through grants provided by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Beckman Foundation.
He has been elected to leadership positions (President and Treasurer) in the Association of Neuroscience Departments and Programs, a national organization dedicated to the advancement of research and training in neuroscience. Further training-related service includes membership on the Training and Career Development Review Committee of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and co-authorship of an undergraduate textbook in behavioral neuroscience. Professor Rebec is the recipient of a Lilly Teaching Fellowship (1978-79), the President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (1990), and several Teaching Excellence Recognition Awards and Trustee's Teaching Awards.