I am interested in the proximate mechanisms controlling animal behavior, particularly in how hormones are involved. You might have thought that hormones are always slow - acting, but this is not true. For example, we have, for the first time, measured rapid changes in the amounts of the sex - steroid estradiol in the auditory system of birds as they interact with other birds or hear the sounds of other birds.
The Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology (formerly the Department of Physiological Science) is dedicated to explaining the function of complex biological systems, in cells, organs, and individuals. The recent rapid advances in molecular and cell biology and genetics, including the sequencing of numerous genomes, has provided an unprecedented opportunity to use this new information to understand how the genes interact to produce emergent phenotypes in complex systems. The research of our faculty spans many levels. We use approaches that range from RNA interference to ion channel electrophysiology to genetic intervention in behavior to mathematical modeling to robotics, all to make sense of sensory, motor, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems.
At the undergraduate level, the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology offers the B.S. degree in Physiological Science, and contributes strongly to the
Interdepartmental Undergraduate Program in
Neuroscience. The Department also offers a 2-year research-oriented M.S. program in Physiological Science. Ph.D. students in the Department come from a variety of interdepartmental programs, including, the Ph.D. Program in Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology, and the Interdepartment Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience.