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Wade Juli Wade
Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin. Department of Psychology, Institute of Reproductive Biology 1992
Bachelors Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Department of Psychology 1987
Primary Program: Behavioral Neuroscience
240C Psychology
(517) 355-9563

Research Statement
The Wade lab investigates how structural and biochemical changes within the brain across development regulate later social behaviors. They study the development of courtship and copulatory displays because these displays are stereotyped and differ between the sexes. Members of the Wade lab are working with two model systems, zebra finches and green anole lizards. Zebra finches have become a classic model for investigating sex differences in brain and behavior. Males sing to court females, whereas females do not normally sing, and in parallel the brain regions and muscles that control song are larger in males than in females. The Wade lab investigates how hormones and genes contribute to the development of behavioral and anatomical differences between the sexes. Similarly, green anole lizards display highly sexually dimorphic courtship behaviors. Males extend a bright red throat fan called a dewlap. Females have only a rudimentary dewlap, and while they use it in a limited fashion during aggressive encounters, females do not display the dewlap during reproduction. The neurons and muscles controlling this behavior are larger in males than in females. The Wade lab’s current research on the lizards involves investigations of the influences of steroid hormones during development and in adulthood on both morphology and behavior in these two reproductive systems.

Related Research Websites
The Wade Lab We seek to understand how structural and biochemical changes within the central nervous system regulate behavior. One effective method for investigating this topic is the exploitation of naturally occurring differences in behaviors. We study courtship and copulatory displays because they are stereotyped, sexually differentiated, and in many species displayed seasonally. Therefore, we can evaluate mechanisms regulating behaviors within a sex in and out of the breeding season, as well as between the two sexes. We focus on factors involved both in organizing critical regions of the brain, spinal cord and muscles during development, as well as those that confer varying levels of plasticity in adulthood. Members of my lab are working with two model systems, zebra finches and green anole lizards. These species have the potential to not only increase understanding of the evolution of the processes regulating behavioral differences, which have commonly been studied in mammals, but also to address the ubiquity of the mechanisms employed in diverse situations.

Research Publications    
2016Tang Y.P. and Wade J. Sex and Age Differences in Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Vimentin in the Zebra Finch Song System: Relationships to Newly Generated Cells. Journal of Comparative Neurology, in press 2015.
2014Lampen, J., Jones, K., McAuley, J.D., Chang, S.E., and Wade, J. (2014). Arrhythmic Song Exposure Increases ZENK Expression in Auditory Cortical Areas and Nucleus Taeniae of the Adult Zebra Finch. PLoS ONE.