Integrative Behavioral Neuroscience


Our primary research goal is to uncover the origin, function, and cellular, molecular, and biochemical mechanisms underlying natural variation in the spatial and temporal patterns of adult neurogenesis. We combine several approaches including behavioral genomics, comparative neuroanatomy, cellular and molecular biology, and electrophysiology with mechanistic studies to accomplish our research aims. By integrating comparative neuroethology and cell and molecular biology with behavioral genetic and eco-evo approaches, our lab asks questions like: How do differing spatiotemporal patterns of adult neurogenesis arise within and across individuals, populations, and species? And, can we exploit the plasticity and diversity of these spatiotemporal patterns to uncover both ultimate mechanisms and the behavioral consequences of adult neurogenesis?



Check out our latest publication in the 

Journal of Comparative Neurology

"Seasonal changes in neuronal turnover in a forebrain nucleus

in adult songbirds"


Sex steroids promote the maintenance of an early cohort of new neurons within the avian sensorimotor nucleus HVC. This addition of new HVC neurons at the onset of breeding season contributes to growth of HVC and an increase in singing behavior. Once HVC volume and neuron number is stable, neuronal turnover, or the balance between neuronal birth and death, returns to homeostasis. These results confirm that both new and older neurons die as HVC grows and regresses across seasons.

Other Recent Publications



Courses In-Design:

  • The Laws and Ethics of Neuroscience

  • Adult Neural Plasticity

  • Neuroethology



In the Laboratory

We integrate several approaches including behavioral genomics, comparative neuroanatomy, cellular biology, and electrophysiology to study the function and mechanisms of adult neurogenesis.


We are dedicated to community outreach including:






I welcome discussions with potential collaborators and I am always seeking dedicated undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral researchers.


University of Virginia

Department of Biology
Physical Life Sciences Building, Rm 304
PO Box 400328
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4328



Office: (434) 297-7946

Fax: (434) 243-5315

Shipping Address

University of Virginia

Department of Biology

409 McCormick Road, Loading Dock

Charlottesville, VA 22904


Tracy A. Larson, Ph.D.  |  Department of Biology