Spring 2025

Social Neuroendocrinology with Lab

Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-313  |  Neuroscience, as NEUR-313


Kelly Wallace (Sections 01 and 01L)


(Offered as BIOL 313 and NEUR 313) How does the brain coordinate the relationship between hormones and social behaviors? To explore this question, the lecture portion of the course will address the foundational neuroendocrinological pathways such as the sex steroids, nonapeptides, and corticosteroids. We will read and discuss primary literature articles on how these pathways shape social behavior across domains including mate choice, reproduction, parenting, aggression, and stress. Importantly, these papers will highlight a variety of animal models in order to explore the immense diversity of mating systems, sexual determination systems, and social community and hierarchy structures seen across the animal kingdom. The laboratory component of the course will apply both the behavioral and the neuromolecular concepts discussed in the lecture portion of the class through hands-on experiments in which students observe animal behavior and then process brain tissue to label and image proteins of interest. At the end of the semester, students will present their lab findings in a class symposium. Three classroom lecture hours. Three hours of laboratory work per week plus one scheduled optional hour of laboratory preparation assistance (discussion) per week.

Requisite: BIOL 191. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Wallace.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority will first be given to biology and neuroscience seniors who require the course to graduate and then to junior biology and neuroscience and then by class year or instructor consent.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Learning in BIOL-313 is facilitated by attendance and participation in three lectures per week and one laboratory per week, as well as peer discussion that is emphasized in both the laboratory component and the paper discussions in lecture. Skills being emphasized include applying the scientific method, analytical thinking, experimental design, ethical consideration, scientific communication, reading and synthesis, reflection, reducing anthropomorphism, and creativity. Assessments include individual short quizzes, written literature reflections, laboratory primers (virtual worksheets), participation points in both lecture and lab, and group presentations on laboratory research results.

Course Materials


Other years: Offered in Spring 2025