Catherine Dulac - Neurobiology of Social and Sickness Behaviors

Event Details:

Thursday, January 25, 2024
This Event Has Passed
12:00pm to 1:00pm PST
Event Sponsor
Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
Add to calendar:
Headshot of Dr. Catherine Dulac

Join the speaker for coffee, cookies, and conversation before the talk, starting at 11:45am.

Neurobiology of Social and Sickness Behaviors

Seminar Abstract

Social interactions are essential for animals to survive, reproduce, raise their young. Over the years, my lab has attempted to decipher the unique characteristics of social recognition: what are the unique cues that trigger distinct social behaviors, what is the nature and identity of social behavior circuits, how is the function of these circuits different in males and females and how are they modulated by the animal physiological status? In this lecture, I will describe our recent progress in understanding how different parts of the brain as well as discrete, molecularly defined neuronal populations participate in the positive and negative control of social interactions, providing a new framework to understand the regulation of social behaviors in health and disease. Finally, I will describe our recent work uncovering how specific brain circuits and cell types are able to direct adaptive changes in behavior during sickness episodes in mice.


Catherine Dulac, Ph.D.

Harvard University

Visit lab website

Catherine Dulac is the Samuel W. Morris University Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. 

Dr. Dulac’s work focuses on understanding brain mechanisms underlying the control of social behaviors in mammals. Her research has helped decipher the unique characteristics of social recognition, including the sensory cues that trigger distinct social behaviors, the nature and identity of social behavior circuits in males and females and their modulation by the animal physiological status. Her work combines cutting edge genetics, transcriptomics, physiology and imaging approaches to uncover the neural basis underlying instinctive social behaviors, a set of brain functions that are typically highly impaired in mental illness. 

She is a member of the US and French Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She is an Officer of the Legion d’Honneur and a recipient of multiple awards including the Karl Spencer Lashley Award, the Ralph W. Gerard Prize and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.

Hosted by - Sergiu Pasca, M.D. (Pasca Lab)

About the Wu Tsai Neuro Seminar Series

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute seminar series brings together the Stanford neuroscience community to discuss cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary brain research, from biochemistry to behavior and beyond.

Topics include new discoveries in fundamental neurobiology; advances in human and translational neuroscience; insights from computational and theoretical neuroscience; and the development of novel research technologies and neuro-engineering breakthroughs.

Unless otherwise noted, seminars are held Thursdays at 12:00 noon PT.

Sign up to learn about all our upcoming events