Welcome to the Petrulis Lab!
Our general interest is in understanding how the nervous system processes and integrates social information and how this information is then used to adaptively regulate social behavior. As gonadal hormones often regulate social behavior, we are also interested in studying how these steroid hormones alter neural processing of social cues. Our current work is focused on analyzing the neurobiology of odor or “pheromonal” communication in mice, meadow voles and hamsters, species that rely heavily on scent to guide their social behavior. Our laboratory uses a variety of techniques to understand the neural basis of social behavior, including detailed behavioral analysis, permanent and reversible brain lesions, manipulations of endocrine systems, intracranial delivery of drugs and sex steroids, neuronal tract-tracing, immunocytochemical detection of cellular activation, electrophysiological recordings from single neurons in awake and behaving animals and, more recently, chemogenetic approaches to manipulating specific neurochemical systems in genetically-modified mice.