Course Synopsis and Goals: Hormones are potent molecular signals: very small concentrations can radically alter the organism, including its behavior. This course focuses on vertebrate hormones and their influence on the development and expression of behavior (and vice versa). Hormone systems are highly complex and therefore often challenging to study. This course focuses on the major endocrine systems that govern behavior and will venture toward the boundary of that knowledge by exploring classical and recent experimental studies of behavioral neuroendocrinology. To do that, it is essential that students have a solid understanding of experimental design. Hence, though the content goal for this course will be an understanding of hormone-behavior fundamentals, the principal skills goal will be to strengthen students’ understanding of experimental design and the domain-general ability to ‘think like a scientist.’ We will accomplish these twin goals via rigorous and critical evaluation and discussion of the primary literature and the preparation of formal written scientific evaluations.

Prerequisites: This is a seminar course intended for seniors and juniors with interests in animal behavior, neurobiology, and physiology. Required prerequisites are: BIOL 001, BIOL 002 and one or more of the following: BIOL 020, 022, or 030, with priority to those students who have taken 030; STAT 011 or equivalent is highly recommended (it is effectively impossible to conduct modern biology without statistics).