Masters student Jacob Edwards recently received an NSF East Asian and Pacific Summer Institutes grant to go to the Okinawa Institute for Science and Discovery this summer! Jacob will be working with Dr. Yoko Yazaki-Sugiyama on developmental plasticity in zebra finch brains. As finches can learn their song only during a very specific time window in life, Jacob will be using gene silencing techniques to explore how the quality of learning experience influences the timing - both onset and closure - of this critical developmental phase. Congratulations Jacob!
Our primary goal is to understand the processes that shape evolutionary trajectories. We focus on the mechanisms of convergent evolution of behavioral and morphological traits. We link molecular, neural, and developmental mechanisms to their consequences for organismal phenotypes, and we investigate the neural and hormonal mechanisms of context- or experience-dependent changes in behavior.