NIH Postdoctoral Fellow

Common Themes in Reproductive Diversity

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As an NIH CTRD postdoctoral fellow, I examine how the maternal neuroendocrine-microbiome environment shapes offspring development and social behavior in Siberian hamsters.

Experiment 1:

Maternal stress and changes to the maternal gut microbiome can interact to have organizational effects that alter offspring development and have lasting effects on offspring behavior. We investigated the interactive effects of chronic maternal stress and manipulations of the maternal gut microbiome on offspring behavior in Siberian hamsters, Phodopus sungorus. We exposed pregnant females to either stress, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, stress and antibiotic, or no manipulations, and quantified their offspring’s social behavior, stress-induced cortisol (“SI-CORT”) concentrations, and gut microbiome composition.

Results to come soon!

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Experiment 2: Undergraduate student Kate Adaniya conducted an independent research project investigating consinstency in social behavior.

Animal personality, or consistent individual differences in behavioral traits, is well documented across taxa. Recent evidence suggests personality can change across life stages due to effects of experience or changes in the physiological mechanisms that underlie behavior (e.g., hormones). Puberty, a life stage associated with physical and social changes, could affect individual consistency in behavioral traits. We investigated whether individuals were consistent in their social behavior as juveniles and again after puberty in Siberian hamsters