Caroline published a paper in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology entitled "Social novelty investigation in the juvenile rat: modulation by the mu-opioid system.". Caroline and co-authors Kevin Wilkins, Jazmin Mogavero and Alexa Veenema show that social novelty-seeking in juvenile rats is facilitated by the opioid system in the brain, while dopamine, oxytocin, or vasopressin systems do not seem to be involved in mediating this behavior. This finding is relevant because impaired social novelty-seeking is characteristic for autistic children which may hamper their development of social skills. The next step will be to localize the effects of the opioid system to specific brain regions and neural circuits.
Alexa gave a talk, and Brett, Caroline, Kelly, Nick, and Remco presented posters on their work at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology which took place in Pacific Grove, California.
Kelly Dumais and Alexa Veenema published a review paper in Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology entitled "Vasopressin and oxytocin receptor systems in the brain: Sex differences and sex-specific regulation of social behavior". In this review paper, we discuss existing literature on sex differences in vasopressin (VP) and oxytocin (OT) and their receptors in rodents and humans, we include new data showing sex differences in V1a receptor binding in the rat brain, and we discuss the sex-specific regulation of social behaviors by the VP and OT systems. Overall, we find that there is a need for more comprehensive analysis of sex differences in these two systems and for understanding whether and how such sex differences underlie sex-specific regulation of social behavior by VP and OT systems. This knowledge may help to better understand how these neuropeptide systems are implicated in sex-specific regulation of healthy social behaviors as well as impaired social behaviors as seen in several neuropsychiatric disorders.
Kelly, Caroline, and Nick gave talks about their research at the annual Graduate Research Day of the Department of Psychology at BC.
Laura Newman was honored as Scholar of the College at Boston College.The Scholar of the College award is a designation awarded to exceptional students who have excelled academically in their undergraduate studies and who have done substantial independent scientific work of the highest quality in their senior year. Laura (middle) was supervised by Nick (right).
Tessa Gillespie, Sara Li, Laura Newman, and Ari Ratnaseelan presented posters on their research projects at the annual Psychology Undergraduate Research Symposium which took place at Boston College on May 4th.
Citations to Alexa's publications reached 2500 on Google Scholar, which is 500 more than last year!
Grace was awarded an Advanced Study Grant from BC to support her thesis research over the summer. Congrats Grace!
Kelly was awarded a Dissertation Fellowship from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at BC. Congrats Kelly!
Alexa gave a talk in a Symposium on "Comparative Aspects of Play in Humans and Rodents" at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, which took place from March 5-7 in Philadelphia.
Alexa gave a talk at the Winter Conference on Brain Research in a panel on "Vasopressin/Oxytocin and the Development of Mammalian Social Behavior", organized by Elliott Albers (Georgia State University, second from left), with also as speakers Matt Paul (University at Buffalo; second from right) and Liz Hammock (Florida State University; far right). This conference took place in Big Sky, Montana, the biggest skiing in the USA. Go to Happenings for ski-photos.