Ph.D. in Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, 1988
Neurobiology & Behavior
Cellular, Molecular Biology and Physiology
Development and Evolution of Vertebrate Sexual Plasticity and Neuroendo
Neuroendocrinology development and evolution of vertebrate sexual plasticity
Our lab utilizes an integrative approach to study vertebrate reproductive behavior. By approaching the study of behavior at the neural, endocrine and ecological levels of analysis, we have been able to gain an understanding of the present functions, underlying mechanisms, and evolutionary history of specific behavioral traits. Our ongoing research addresses the development of sexual plasticity in teleost fishes and mammals, including species with multiple male morphs and sex change. We are interested in the integration of extrinsic cues (environmental and social) with intrinsic neuroendocrine processes. The lab employs a range of techniques, including field observations, experimental neuroanatomy, immunocytochemistry, in situ hybridization, and hormone manipulations. The current focus is on the preoptic area, a brain region involved in the early development and life-long control of reproductive behavior in all vertebrates. The goal of this work is to establish a general neuroendocrine mechanism for the development of reproductive variability as an aid in understanding the evolution and maintenance of sexual polymorphism in vertebrates.