" Neural estrogen synthesis and action in the songbird brain"
Healey Lab is focused on the study of behavioral physiology, specifically the nonclassical regulation of brain function and behavior by steroid hormones. Steroids are produced within discrete neural circuits (neurosteroids) and can therefore influence behavior via local and acute actions within those circuits. We study these phenomena in songbirds using a variety of technical approaches including in vivo microdialysis, electrophysiology, immunocytochemistry, and neuropharmacology. Songbirds offer a unique model system in which brain steroid production is widespread and especially pronounced, and in which the development and expression of a suite of social behaviors is accessible in the laboratory and natural environments.