top of page

We test hypotheses across biological levels: 

filtered image of a male and female paired zebra finch interacting


  1. How does perception shape  social relationship formation and maintenance?

  2. Does perception of social signals change over the course of relationship formation?

a schematic of the chemosensory and social decision making network of a vole brain


  1. How do social experiences impact sensory systems? 

  2. Does manipulating sensory processing impact the formation of social relationships?

a logo showing two zebra finches perched on chromatin with a music note in each bird repersenting the link between social relationships, communication and genomics.


  1. How are gene regulatory networks impacted by social vs sensory experiences?

  2. How do socially modulated neuroendocrine and neuromodulatory systems impact genomic architecture? 

Current Projects

An artistic image of a group of male and female zebra finches affiliting by clumping and perching on a branch. A male and female also fly above the group in apparent synchrony.

Perception of Acoustic Fine Structure Across Contexts

Birds have an auditory temporal processing ability that far exceeds that of humans. This makes birds exceptionally good at discriminating acoustic fine structure (rapid modulations in the time waveform). Here we are testing how acoustic fine structure affects hearing in noisy environments, and whether it facilitates recognition of familiar conspecifics. 

An artistic image of a male and female zebra finch gazing at each other sitting in close proximity on a branch

Social bonding impacts neurogenomic state of sensory cortices

To what extent are sensory circuits part of the 'social brain'? To test this, we are using neurogenomic approaches to characterize the impact of  pair bonding on auditory circuits in zebra finches and chemosensory circuits in prairie voles. 

a schematic of the chemosensory and social decision making network of a vole brain
a word cloud in the shape of a flying bird with key words like perception social behavior and synchrony included

Neuroendocrine regulation of intra-pair vocal dynamics

Considering zebra finches are one of the most studied birds - especially with respect to the neuroscience of song and courtship - there remain profound gaps in our understanding of how partners communicate with each other. Here we study fundamental features of intra-pair vocal interactions (song and calls) and their neuroendocrine underpinnings. 

Steroid-induced chromatin remodeling 

Steroid receptors are master regulators of chromatin. Here we test the mechanism by which steroids interact with chromatin across diverse cell and tissue types. This work lays the foundation for understanding how steroid-induced chromatin remodeling may impact social phenotypes.

bottom of page