Barnett Schlinger


phone:  (310) 825-5716

office:  2135 TLSB


research interests:  Steroid hormone synthesis and action in birds; hormonal control of brain and behavior in tropical bird species

Research Interests

Steroid hormones influence diverse physiological functions in vertebrate animals. The mechanisms by which steroids reach target tissues in an active form are equally diverse. We are interested in determining the mechanisms through steroids are made available to target tissues, principally the brain. We study steroid biosynthesis in steroidogenic organs as well as steroid metabolism in target tissues, especially as these events relate to brain and muscle function. This can involve complex interactions between gonadal and adrenal activity, as well as anabolic and catabolic enzyme action in discrete regions of the brain. Currently, I am examining these properties in songbirds to determine how steroids influence the development of the neural circuitry that controls singing behavior, regulate adult song behavior and influence neural circuits involved with memory. We study enzyme activity in whole tissues, cellular organelles, or in specific cell types grown in culture using radioenzymatic assays where radiolabled products are isolated by thin layer-chromatography or HPLC. We study enzyme expression using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization analyses. We evaluate neuroanatomial effects of steroids using standard histological procedures and light microscopy. In additin, we have a lonstanding research program to investigate the neural, hormonal control of complex courtship behavior in a wild tropical bird, the golden-collared manakin of Panama. This has involved multidisciplinary approaches that examine anatomy, physiology, ecology and evolutionary processes that impact this remarkable species and their behavior.

Selected Publications

Chiver, I. and B.A. Schlinger., "Clearing up the court: sex and the endocrine basis of display-court manipulation", Anim. Behav, 131 : 115-121 (2017) .

Chiver, I. and B.A. Schlinger., "Sex differences in androgen activation of complex courtship behavior", Anim. Behav, 124 : 109-117 (2017) .

Schlinger, B.A., Brenowitz, E.A., "Neural and Hormonal Control of Birdsong", In: Hormones, Brain, and Behavior 3rd edition,, Pfaff,D.W and Joels, M.(Eds.), 2 : 255-290 (2017) .

Bodony, D.J, Kharon, Aharon, Swenson, G.W., Wikelski, M., Day, L., Fusani, L., Friscia, A and B.A. Schlinger., "Determination of the wingsnap sonation mechanism of the Golden-Collared Manakin (Manacus vitellinus)", J. Exp. Biol, 219 : 1524-1534 (2017) .

Fuxjager, M., Schuppe, E., Hoang; J.*, Chew, J*., Shah, M.*, and B.A. Schlinger, "Expression of 5α- and 5β-reductase in spinal cord and muscle of birds with different courtship repertoires", Front. Zoology, 13 (25. doi: 10.1186/s12): (2016) .

Friscia, A., Gloria D. Sanin, Willow R. Lindsay, Lainy B. Day, Barney A. Schlinger, Josh Tan, and Matthew J. Fuxjager., "Adaptive evolution of the avian forearm skeleton to support acrobatic display behavior", J. Morph, 277 : 766-775 (2016) .

Logan, C., Harvey, B*, Schlinger, B.A., Rensel, M, "Western scrub-jays do not appear to attend to functionality in Aesop?s Fable experiments", PeerJ, 23 (eb 23;4:e1707. doi:): (2016) .

Fuxjager, M.J., J-H., Lee, T-M., Chan, J. H. Bahn, J.G. Chew*, X.Xiao, and B.A. Schlinger, "Hormones, Genes, and Athleticism: Effect of Androgens on the Avian Muscular Transcriptome", Mol. Endocrinol, 30 : 254-271 (2016) .

Comito, D., Pradhan, D., Karleen, B. and B.A. Schlinger., "Region-Specific Rapid Regulation of Aromatase Activity in Zebra Finch Brain", J. Neurochem, 136 : 1177-1185 (2016) .

Rensel, M., B.A. Schlinger., "Determinants and Significance of Corticosterone Regulation in the Songbird Brain", J. Neurochem, 227 : 136-142- (2016) .