Neuroscience and Behavior Unit

//Neuroscience and Behavior Unit
Neuroscience and Behavior Unit 2017-08-15T18:43:23+00:00

About the Neuroscience and Behavior Unit

The Neuroscience and Behavior Unit provides services, training, consulting and collaborative expertise in the areas of basic neuroscience, stress physiology, psychoneuroimmunology, cognitive neuroscience, and psychosocial processes in nonhuman primates. Particular emphasis in the Unit is on studying the interrelations of processes at multiple levels of analysis: social, psychological, neuroendocrine, and neurobiological.


Autism is a common, impairing neurodevelopmental disorder affecting 1 in 68 individuals. It is characterized by social deficits and restricted or repetitive behaviors. Animal models allow us to proactively test potential treatments, and their long-term effects, for autism and other developmental disorders.

Research in the Neuroscience and Behavior Unit

  • Understanding the physiological and health consequences of chronic stress
  • The interconnections of various limbic system structures (the hypothalamus, pituitary, amygdala and, hippocampus) which function to regulate our emotions and memory, as well as playing a role in social and nonsocial behavior
  • Furthering our understanding of primate biobehavioral organization and psychoneuroimmunology: understanding individual difference factors such as personality and temperament in primates, and how such factors contribute to health and immunodeficiency disease progression, and to behavioral, physiological, and social organization
  • Primate biosocial behavior and social processes: the factors contributing to the development and maintenance of affiliative social relationships in adult and immature individuals of both sexes. A related topic of equal concern is the functional significance of affiliative relationships as reflected in their consequences for an individual’s competence, health, and well-being.
  • The neuroendocrine mechanisms contributing to the generation and maintenance of primate social systems: psychosomatics and the sociophysiology of stress and reproduction in various species
  • Studies in aged nonhuman primates: spontaneous impairments in learning and memory; temporal development of these cognitive impairments and their association with other biomarkers of aging, such as reproductive senescence; use of neurotrophic factors in neurodegenerative diseases (neurotrophic factors influence a wide variety of growth, development, and function in brain cells, and play important roles in behaviors such as feeding, depression and learning).
  • Successful gene therapy research with geriatric monkeys is now being used to treat human patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease. Continuing studies are aimed towards effective treatments for more severe forms of Alzheimer’s Disease as well as Parkinson’s Disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Neuroscience and Behavior Unit Highlights

  • Dr. Danielle Beckman

From Rio de Janeiro to the CNPRC at UC Davis

May 3rd, 2017|Comments Off on From Rio de Janeiro to the CNPRC at UC Davis

  • Photo of Lauren Wooddell

Q & A With a Primatologist: Why Studying Rank Changes is Good for Primate Welfare

May 1st, 2017|Comments Off on Q & A With a Primatologist: Why Studying Rank Changes is Good for Primate Welfare

Working with Titi Monkeys at CNPRC

January 20th, 2017|Comments Off on Working with Titi Monkeys at CNPRC

NIH Releases NHP Workshop Report

January 19th, 2017|Comments Off on NIH Releases NHP Workshop Report