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?
Current projects include, but are not limited to:
• developing an annotated genome for our study species, the white-crowned sparrow
• single cell RNAseq to identify unique cell populations of the neural circuit responsible for song production
• identifying the individual and combinatorial contributions of neuroinflammation and sex steroids in modulating natural reactive neurogenesis
• mathematical modeling and simulation of the cell dynamics within the song production circuit