Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience


The Behavioral & Systems Neuroscience area encompasses faculty and students united by a common interest in the neurobiological/physiological bases of behavior, including but not limited to circadian and seasonal rhythms, decision making, sex differentiation and behavior, energy balance, bird song and animal communication, animal spatial orientation and navigation, gene-environment interactions, selective attention and visual perception, social behavior, attachment, developmental processes, physiological substrates of emotion and stress, and motivation,. The methodologies currently employed by faculty and students cover the entire spectrum from behavioral study of animals and humans to computational, cellular, molecular and neuroimaging analyses.


Researchers in the program provide training in a variety of modern behavioral, cellular and molecular, neuroanatomical, and neurobiological techniques necessary to approach questions of interest using animal and human model systems. Available methodologies include: electrophysiology, ERP, fMRI, immunohistochemistry, in vivo 2-photon imaging, optogenetics, chemical genetic methods (DREADDs), in situ hybridization, autoradiography, radioimmunoassay, tract tracing, central and peripheral pharmacological manipulations, lesioning and targeted gene knockout approaches, protein and mRNA detection/quantification, quantitative RT-PCR, and high throughput and targeted genetic screening.

Programs in Behavioral Neuroscience focus on animal behavior, sensory physiology, biological rhythms, and ethological approaches. Research programs in this area are integrated with those involving human research. Areas of specialty within this track include:

  • Hormones and Behavior
  • Perceptual and value based decision making
  • Sensory Systems
  • Neural Basis of Learning and Memory
  • Neuroethology
  • Biology of sensitive periods