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?


Year Established


Projects Published




Awards Won

For students interested in joining the lab during phased return to campus including research laboratories, we are committed to ensuring that you will have a fulfilling and meaningful research experience.

As such, we have initiated a research plan that includes work from home and development of an independent research project to be completed in the laboratory. If you are interested in the joining our lab, please read through this plan.


Check out our latest publication in the 


"Inflammation induced by natural neuronal death and LPS

regulates neural progenitor cell proliferation in the healthy adult brain"


Natural reactive neurogenesis, or the birth of new neurons in the adult avian brain following non-injury induced neuronal loss, is mediated through local inflammation. Inhibition of inflammation with the anti-inflammatory drug minocycline – an inhibitor of microglial activation – prevents reactive neurogenesis in HVC. Conversely, local inflammation induced by injecting endotoxin directly into HVC increases neural stem cell proliferation in the adjacent ventricular zone, which supplies HVC with new neurons. These findings contribute to the emerging role that local neuroinflammation plays in regulating adult neurogenesis and promoting neural circuit homeostasis and regeneration. 

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:


For more on our initiatives see Inclusion and Equity



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