Juli S. Wade


Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1992

212 Giltner Hall
Office Telephone: 517-432-8301
Research website

Neuroendocrinology and Behavioral Biology

My primary interest is understanding how structural and biochemical changes within the brain regulate behavior. One effective method for investigating this process is the exploitation of naturally occurring differences in behaviors. We study courtship and copulatory displays because they are stereotyped, sexually differentiated, and in many species displayed seasonally. Therefore, we can evaluate mechanisms regulating the behaviors within a sex in and out of the breeding season, as well as between the two sexes. In particular, members of my lab are working with two model systems, zebra finches and green anole lizards.

Zebra finches have become a classic model for investigating sex differences in brain and behavior. Males sing to court females, whereas females do not normally sing, and in parallel the brain regions and muscles that control song are larger in males than in females. We are investigating the mechanisms involved in creating the behavioral and anatomical differences between the sexes, including gene expression, gonadal steroid hormones (including their receptors and metabolizing enzymes), and neural growth factors.

Like zebra finches, green anole lizards display highly sexually dimorphic courtship behaviors. Males extend a bright red throat fan called a dewlap. Females have only a rudimentary dewlap, and while they use it in a limited fashion during aggressive encounters, females do not display the dewlap during reproduction. The neurons and muscles controlling this behavior are larger in males than in females. Similarly, the structures controlling male copulation are highly sexually dimorphic. Our current research on the lizards involves investigations of the influences of steroid hormones during development and in adulthood on both morphology and behavior in these two reproductive systems.

Representative Publications

Bailey, D.J. and J. Wade. 2003. Differential expression of the immediate early genes fos and zenk following auditory stimulation in the juvenile male and female zebra finch. Mol. Brain Res., 116: 147-154.

Lovern, M.B. and J. Wade. 2003. Yolk testosterone varies with sex in eggs of the lizard, Anolis carolinensis. J. Exp. Zool., 295A:206-210.

Veney, S.L., C. Peabody, G.W. Smith and J. Wade. 2003. Sexually dimorphic neurocalcin expression in the developing zebra finch telencephalon. J. Neurobiol., 56:372-386.

Bailey, D.J., J.C. Rosebush, and J. Wade. 2002. The hippocampus and caudomedial neostriatum show selective responsiveness to conspecific song in the female zebra finch. J. Neurobiol., 52: 43-51.

E.L. O'Bryant, and J. Wade. 2002. Seasonal and sexual dimorphisms in the green anole forebrain. Horm. Behav., 41:384-395.

O'Bryant, E.L. and J. Wade. 2002. Sexual dimorphism in neuromuscular junction size on a muscle used in courtship by green anole lizards. J. Neurobiol., 50: 24-30.

Rosen, G.J., E.L. O'Bryant, J. Matthews, T. Zacharewski, and J. Wade. 2002. Distribution of androgen receptor mRNA expression and immunoreactivity in the brain of the green anole lizard. J. Neuroendocrinol., 14: 19-28.

Ruiz, C.C. and J. Wade. 2002. Sexual dimorphisms in a copulatory neuromuscular system in the green anole lizard. J. Comp. Neurol., 443: 289-297.

Wade, J. L. Buhlman and D. Swender. 2002. Post-hatching hormonal modulation of a sexually dimorphic neuromuscular system controlling song in zebra finches. Brain Res., 929: 191-201.