Neuroendocrine mechanisms of social vigilance

We study the underlying neural mechanisms of social behaviors that are related to mental illness from a naturalistic perspective. We study a behavior called social vigilance, when a mouse avoids an unfamiliar individual but simultaneously orients towards this individual. In humans the combination of avoidance and vigilance is referred to as behavioral inhibition, a risk factor for anxiety disorders. We study the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, which controls social vigilance in mice and has been implicated in anxiety disorders in humans.
We study monogamous California mice to investigate how social stress impacts neural circuits of social vigilance in males and females. We also study how adolescent development impacts this circuitry. The longer lifespan of California mice is characterized by a comparatively extended period of adolescent development compared to conventional laboratory rodent species.

Diversity Statement

To take a stand against systemic barriers that exist in science, our lab is committed to creating a diverse, welcoming, and collaborative environment inclusive to all its members. All people are welcome in the lab, especially individuals who come from backgrounds that are under-represented in science. By joining the lab, members gain access to a broad and diverse network of current and former lab members working in academic and non-academic science. Our work and our science are richer because of the contributions of all members.

Key Publications

Wright, E. C., Luo, P. X., Zakharenkov, H. C., Serna Godoy, A., Lake, A., A., Prince, Z. D., Sekar, S., Culkin, H. I., Ramirez, A. V., Dwyer, T., Kapor, A., Corbett, C., Tian, L., Fox, A. S., Trainor, B. C.  2023. Sexual differentiation of neural mechanisms of stress sensitivity during puberty. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A.120, e2306475120.

Williams, A. V., Peña, C. J., Ramos-Maciel, S., Laman-Maharg, A., Ordoñez-Sanches, E., M., Britton, Durbin-Johnson, B., Settles, M., Hao, R., Yokoyama, S., Xu, C., Luo, P. X., Dwyer, T., Bhela, S., Black, A. M., Labonté, B., Serafini, R. A., Ruiz, A., Neve, R. L., Zachariou, V., Nestler, E. J., Trainor, B. C. 2022. Comparative transcriptional analyses in the nucleus accumbens identifies RGS2 as a key mediator of depression-related behaviorBiological Psychiatry, 92, 942-951.

Duque-Wilckens, N., Torres, L. Y., Yokoyama, S., Minie, V., Tran, A. M., Petkova, S. P., Hao, R., Ramos-Maciel, S. Rios, R. A., Jackson, K., Flores-Ramirez, F. J., Garcia-Carachure, I., Pesavento, P. A., Iñiguez, S. A., Grinevich, V. J. & Trainor, B. C. 2020Extra-hypothalamic oxytocin neurons drive stress-induced social vigilance and avoidanceProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A.

Steinman, M. Q., Duque-Wilckens, N & Trainor, B. C. 2019. Complementary neural circuits for divergent effects of oxytocin: social approach versus social anxiety.  Biological Psychiatry. 85, 792-801.

Duque-Wilckens, N., Steinman, M. Q., Busnelli, M, Chini, B., Yokoyama, S., Pham, M., Laredo, S. A.,R. Hao, Perkeybile, A. M., Minie, V. A., Tan, P. B.. Bales, K. L. and Trainor, B. C. 2018. Oxytocin receptors in the anteromedial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis promote stress-induced social avoidance in females. Biological Psychiatry80, 203-213. (Priority communication).

Williams, A. V., Duque-Wilckens, N. Ramos-Maciel, S., Campi, K. L., Bhela, S., Xu, C. K. Jackson, K., Chini, B. Pesavento, P. A. & Trainor, B. C. 2020. Social approach and social vigilance are differentially regulated by oxytocin receptors in the nucleus accumbens. Neuropsychopharmacology. 
     See commentary by Rieger and Christianson

Updated October 2023

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