Beau Alward

Beau Alward

Assistant Professor

Office: 1159 TLSB


Beau Alward got his associates degree at American River Community College before transferring to the University of California, Davis where he earned a BS in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior. After graduating, he worked as a behavioral therapist for children with Autism for a year and half before starting his PhD with Gregory Ball at Johns Hopkins University. His dissertation work was on the neuroendocrine regulation of birdsong in canaries. Beau did his postdoctoral research on the hormonal control of social dominance in cichlids in Russell Fernald’s lab at Stanford University, where he was an Arnold Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow. Research in his lab aims to understand how steroid hormones modulate social behaviors in the cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni.

Research Interests

The Alward lab is interested in how steroid hormones generate social behaviors. Our chosen organism for answering this question is the cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni. These fish exhibit dynamic social interactions that can be readily studied in the lab. We combine approaches using molecular genetics, transcriptomics, neurobiology, and behavioral paradigms in both sexes to yield fundamental insights into the hormonal control of behavior.


2011 - 2015, Ph.D., Psychological & Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Advisor: Gregory Ball, Ph.D.
Dissertation: “Anatomical specificity of the action of testosterone in relation to the regulation of birdsong and the underlying neuroplasticity”

2011 - 2013, M.A., Psychological & Brain Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

2007 - 2009, B.S., Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior, University of California, Davis, CA
Advisor: Thomas Hahn, Ph.D.

2005 - 2007, A.A. Biology, American River Community College, Sacramento, CA

Selected Publications

  1. Dussenne, M., Alward, B. A. (2024). Expression of novel androgen receptors in three GnRH neuron subtypes in the cichlid brain. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, e13429.
  2. Jackson, L.R., Alward, B. A. (2024). Sexually dimorphic control of aggression by androgen signaling in a cichlid. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 592,
  3. Howard, M., Ramsaroop, M., Hoadley, A., Jackson, L.R., Lopez, M.S, Saenz, L., & Alward, B. A. (2024). Female cichlids mate with novel androgen receptor mutant males that lack coloration. Hormones and Behavior, 163,
  4. Lopez, M.S., Alward, B.A. (2024) Androgen receptor alpha regulates aromatase expression in the ventromedial hypothalamus of male cichlids. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1532, 73-82.
  5. Alward, B.A., Hoadley, A.P., Jackson, L.R., Lopez, M.S. (2023) Genetic dissection of steroid-hormone modulated social behavior: novel paralogous genes are a boon for discovery. Hormones and Behavior, 147,
  6. Alward, B.A., Laud, V.A., Skalnik, C.J., York, R.A., Juntti, S.A., Fernald, R.D. (2020).  Modular genetic control of social status in a cichlid fish. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 17, 28167-28174.