"Research in our laboratory focuses on the neuroendocrine mechanisms that control reproductive physiology and behavior in seasonally breeding birds. Most bird species that live at middle and high latitudes reproduce seasonally. Seasonal reproductive system development and regression concur with profound behavioral changes. Our research also addresses the role of other neurochemicals, in particular opioid peptides and their receptors, that are present in brain regions responsible for vocal behavior control.
We are also conducting research on the hormonal bases of avian blood parasite infection susceptibility. There is evidence that gonadal steroids negative affects immune responses. Seasonal changes in plasma concentrations of these steroids may, therefore, regulate resistance to insect-transmitted parasites or influence the relapse of pre-existing infections, possibly altering survival and reproductive success of the birds. We integrate field and laboratory studies to address these possibilities and to understand the mechanisms involved in seasonal changes in insect-transmitted parasite resistance."