Biology of Brain and Behavior

BBB Seminar Series

About Us The Biology of Brain and Behavior (BBB) area encompasses the disciplines of Neuroscience, Comparative Psychology, and Animal Behavior.

Our Approach Our experimental methods include molecular genetics, neuroimaging, electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, opto- and chemogenetics, pharmacology, hormone and immune assessment, computational analyses and modeling, as well as behavioral tasks.

Our Research We investigate social and behavioral neuroscience, psychoneuroimmunology, hormone-behavior relationships, neurobiology of stress and arousal, psychopharmacology, psychobiology of development and aging, sensory processes, as well as brain organization and dynamics across multiple scales from genes, through cells to neural networks.

The Program Students sponsored by faculty in this area are trained in theory and methods required for understanding the biological bases of behavior. The doctoral track in behavioral neuroscience provides training in cutting-edge research methods and techniques needed to assess brain and peripheral physiological mechanisms. Our students can also pursue training in theories and methodologies involved in the study of animal behavior. Coursework and research provide a unique interdisciplinary experience with a strong emphasis on evolutionary/ecological principles and proximate mechanisms, including communication and the role of hormones and social relationships underlying the expression of behavior, as well as on clinical relevance to neurological and psychological disorders. Our goal is to train outstanding students with a special interest in integrating knowledge across traditional discipline lines.

Many facilities are available for graduate training, including the department’s Harlow Primate Laboratory, internationally known for its studies of primate development and learning. Many primate projects also take advantage of the neuroimaging resources at UW and benefit from the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center with its large rhesus monkey and marmoset colonies. Within the Brogden Psychology Building, research programs utilize many other small animal species.

Our program continues to grow and incorporate new perspectives. Our students and faculty interact and collaborate with the Departments of Anesthesiology, Anthropology, Comparative Biosciences, Integrative Biology, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Wildlife Ecology, as well as the Neurosciences Training Program, Institute on Aging, and Center for Excellence in Women’s Health Research. The University of Wisconsin – Madison provides a diverse and stimulating academic environment for training in Biological Psychology.

Anthony Auger Our research is directed at how steroid receptors and the social environment interact to influence brain development and subsequently behavior in a normal or abnormal manner.

Allyson Bennett My research centers on how the interplay between early environments, experiences, and genes contribute to individual variation in psychological and physical health across the lifespan.

Craig Berridge My research focuses on the actions of neurotransmitters, particularly catecholamines and select neuropeptides, in the regulation of behavioral state and state-dependent cognitive processes (working memory, attention).

Richard Davidson Research in my laboratories is focused on cortical and subcortical substrates of emotion and affective disorders, including depression and anxiety.

Stephen Ferrigno My research investigates the evolutionary, developmental, and cultural origins of concepts and cognition. We currently focus on number, logic, grammar, and metacognition.

James Li My research examines the interplay between genes and environments that contribute to the development of child externalizing problems.

Cathy Marler My research centers around bi-directional interactions between endocrinology , animal behavior and the social environment.

Seth Pollak Developmental risk (child poverty, child maltreatment); mechanisms of developmental change; experience-dependent learning; stress regulation; children’s health; development and evolution of emotion; developmental psychopathology

Brad Postle short-term memory/working memory; attention; consciousness; fMRI; TMS; EEG

Tim Rogers I am interested in understanding human semantic memory; that is, our knowledge about the meanings of words, objects, and events.

Yuri Saalmann Cognitive control, conscious awareness, brain connectivity, neural dynamics, neural coding.