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Behavior and Epigenetics

How the nervous system determines and regulates behavior is at the core of Neuroscience inquiry. Researchers at UVA study a large variety of behaviors in a multitude of systems, including the neural basis for memory, motivation, emotions, addiction, stress, sexual behaviors, coordination of locomotion, regulation of breathing and heart rate, among others. In addition, the emerging field of Behavioral Epigenetics is represented in our program by multiple labs that work on a large variety of behaviors including learning, memory, drug addiction, reproduction and social interactions. All of these behaviors can be modified by experience which in turn may trigger structural modifications that alter rates of gene transcription. Basic epigenetic processes are the topic of investigation of several of the researchers in this area including DNA methylation, histone modifications and histone/enzyme interactions. The breadth and depth of this group and this topic is exemplified in the range of animal models from humans and rodents to leech, electric fishes and cell lines. The techniques are also diverse including behavior, genomics, electrophysiology, fMRI, and mass spectrometry. 

Behavior and Epigenetics Faculty