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Environmental Neuroscience

 how physical and social environments interact with neurobiology to produce behavior


Our primary research goal is to uncover how the cellular, organismal and ancestral environments shape natural variation in the spatial and temporal patterns of degeneration and regeneration in the adult vertebrate brain. We combine several approaches including behavioral genomics, comparative neuroanatomy, cellular and molecular biology, and electrophysiology with mechanistic studies to ask questions like: How do differing spatiotemporal patterns of adult neurogenesis arise within and across individuals, populations, and species? How do these patterns change with natural fluctuations and human-driven alterations to the environment? Can we exploit the plasticity and diversity of these patterns to better understand the evolutionary origins of behavior and drive mitigation efforts? How does local tissue environment alter neural plasticity and organismal behavior? Can we exploit diversity in neural plasticity to better understand and treat neurological disorders and disease? 

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Limits of Degeneration

and Regeneration

We exploit the extreme, cyclical degeneration and regeneration of the song control circuit to explore the mechanisms that prevent over growth and over degeneration

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Neuroscience in Changing Environments

We explore the impacts of environmental changes, both natural perturbations with season change and human-driven, on organismal behavior and the underlying neural circuitry

Mechanisms of Neurological Disorders and Disease

We utilize the cellular and behavioral changes associated with seasonal degeneration and regeneration to uncover novel mechanisms and develop therapies related to mood disorders and neurodegenerative diseases

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Cell Lineage and  Plasticity

We explore the role of a diversity of neural cell types that each posses their own unique processes

and mechanisms for coordinating regeneration and limiting degeneration


For undergraduate students interested in joining the lab, please read through our lab philosophy and policies for undergraduate research. If you are interested in research for credit, read the example syllabus below.




Current Offerings:

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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.

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I welcome discussions with potential collaborators and I am always excited to discuss research opportunities with interested undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral researchers.

Thanks for submitting!


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

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