The goal of my research is to understand the mechanisms and functional consequences of steroid hormones in the nervous system, especially as it relates to behavior. Hormones have pervasive influences on behavior both in vertebrates and invertebrates and at the level of individual neurons and neural circuits. Recent summer research at the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole, MA has investigated neural mechanisms underlying seasonal and sex-specific acoustic communication in teleost fishes. The teleost hindbrain vocal pattern generator exhibits both slow (genomic) and rapid (non-genomic) effects of steroids that alter their cellular and firing properties. Previously, I studied steroid-mediated programmed cell death of a neuromuscular system during metamorphosis in moths- insect metamorphosis being one of the most elaborate examples of post-embryonic neural and behavioral plasticity.
My teaching interests are focused around behavioral neuroscience and draw from my previous research expertise, which include courses in Animal Behavior, Behavioral Endocrinology, Neurobiology and Biological Psychology.