Mechanisms of social behavior: implications for human health

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The Triangle Center for Evolutionary Medicine (TriCEM) and the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) are please to announce the symposium Mechanisms of social behavior: implications for human health.

This symposium will bring together scientists working on the mechanisms underlying social behavior at multiple levels (genetic, physiological, cognitive and behavioral) in a variety of vertebrate species, including frogs, mice, non-human primates and humans. Presentations will focus on the relevance of these mechanisms to an enhanced understanding of health and disease, both in humans and non-human animals. In addition to the presentations, there will be ample opportunity for interactions and discussion between the presenters and attendees, including a poster session. Friday, Sept. 4th 2015, 8:00am – 6:00pm Semans Center Great Hall, Duke University.

Lunch will be provided. Attendees are asked to RSVP through an online form


8:00 am – Begin Symposium (Welcome, introductory remarks, etc.)

8:30 am – Kyle Summers (ECU) – Comparative perspectives on the mechanisms underlying behavior in the context of health and disease

9:00 am – Lauren O’Connell (Harvard University) – Neural control of parental behavior: from fish to frogs to mice

9:30 am – Sabrina Burmeister (UNC Chapel Hill) – Cognitive consequences of parental care: lessons from amphibians

10:00 am – Break

10:30 am – Lisa McGraw (NC State University) – Neurogenomics of social behavior in rodents

11:00 am – Christine Drea (Duke University) – Costs of female masculinization

11:30 pm – Anne Pusey (Duke University) – Social relationships among chimpanzees, a male-philopatric species

12:00 pm – Break for lunch and poster session

2:30 pm – Carson Murray (George Washington University) – Maternal influence on offspring behavioral and physiological development in wild chimpanzees.

3:00 pm – James Rilling (Emory University) – Biological correlates of individual variation in human paternal behavior

3:30 pm – Break

4:00 pm – Aysenil Belger (UNC Chapel Hill) – Neuroanatomy and Evolution of Fronto-limbic circuits for social/affective cognition and Autism

4:30 pm – Linmarie Sikich (UNC Chapel Hill) – Neuropeptides and autism

5:00 pm – Question and answer session with all speakers

6:00 pm – Finish


  • Steffen Foerster (Postdoc, Duke): Determinants of social preferences among female chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) at Gombe National Park, Tanzania
  • Kara Walker (Postdoc, Duke): Inbreeding avoidance in chimpanzees
  • Maggie Stanton (Postdoc, GW): Interactions between adult males and subadults in chimpanzees
  • Yuxiang Liu (Graduate Student, UNC): Hippocampal transcriptomes are associated with spatial learning ability in frogs
  • Robert Burger (Postdoc, UNC): Comparative social systems, cognition, and life histories
  • Andrea Vogel (Graduate Student, NCSU): Characterizing the role of mammalian seminal fluids on female reproductive behavior
  • Bevin Blake (Graduate Student, UNC): Prenatal exposure to elevated testosterone metabolites induces autism-like behavior in rats: Evidence for the extreme male brain and implications for human health
  • Matthew Louder (Postdoc, ECU): Neural mechanisms for behavioral innovation in avian brood parasites
  • Tessa Holland (Graduate Student, ECU): Modulation by cannabinoids of the effects of psychological stress on zebra finch song
  • Elizabeth Andersen (Graduate Student, UNC): Electrophysiological Correlates of Attentional and Affective Processing Disparities in Schizophrenia Patients and First-Degree Relatives
  • Katie Clements, Tom Miller (Graduate Students, ECU): Social status-dependent regulation of an identified brain circuit in zebrafish (Danio rerio)
  • Kendra Smyth (Graduate Student, Duke): The burly ‘kat gets the worm: androgens and gastrointestinal parasites in meerkats