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  • College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

Wendy Saltzman home page Behavioral Endocrinology Hormones and Behavior Reproduction Marmoset Callithrix jacchus Callitrichid Primates Cortisol Stress Comparative Physiology Fertility Animal Behavior Reproductive Suppression Gerbil Hypocortisolism

Wendy Saltzman


Professor of Biology
Spieth 3354
Phone (951) 827-6356


Degree: Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 1991

Complete publication list with PDF reprints

Lab Webpage

Lab Group Photo June 2004
Lab Group Photo July 2007
Lab Group Photo May 2010
Halloween Lab Meeting Oct. 2012
Lab Group Photo June 2014

UCR Daily News Story 15 March 2005; BBC Radio Feature 10 March 2005; CBC Radio Feature 19 March 2005

The research in my lab focuses on behavioral neuroendocrinology, the dynamic and complex interactions among hormones, brain and behavior. For group-living animals, an important determinant of individual fitness is the ability to adjust behavior and physiology in response to salient demands, challenges, and opportunities in the social environment. Our research investigates the processes by which animals accomplish this task, particularly the pivotal roles of the brain and endocrine system.

We are especially interested in the interactions between stress and reproduction. Much attention has focused on the potential role of stress in inhibiting fertility and reproductive behavior. In reality, however, the relationship between stress-related physiology and reproduction is more nuanced, highly complex, and bi-directional. Thus, we are investigating the cross-talk between stress-related hormones, neuropeptides, reproductive physiology, and reproductive behavior. This work has broad relevance to vertebrate reproductive and behavioral biology, as well as potential implications for wildlife conservation and clinical applications in humans.

We are also interested in the neural, hormonal, sensory, and experiential factors that govern parental care in fathers. The mechanistic basis of mammalian parental behavior has been well characterized in females but remains poorly understood in males. This work is providing new insights into the proximate control of paternal behavior in the 5-10% of mammalian species Š including humans Š in which fathers are actively involved in rearing their offspring.

My lab at UC Riverside focuses primarily on the California mouse (Peromyscus californicus), a socially and genetically monogamous rodent in which both mothers and fathers play critical roles in caring for pups. Other recent research includes studies of cooperatively breeding common marmoset monkeys (based at the National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin - Madison) and Mongolian gerbils (at UC Riverside). Current research topics include:

  • Interactions among parental behavior, emotionality, and stress physiology
  • Hormonal, neurochemical, and neuroanatomical determinants of parental behavior
  • Pup-related sensory cues involved in the expression of parental behavior


    I participate in IDEA, the UCR Institute for the Development of Educational Applications.

    I participate in the Department of Biology's Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology Graduate Program, as well as the interdepartmental graduate programs in Neuroscience and Biomedical Sciences.

    Recent Teaching.

    Selected Publications

    • Saltzman, W., Liedl, K.J., Salper, O.J., Pick, R.R. and Abbott, D.H. 2008. Post-conception reproductive competition in cooperatively breeding common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). Hormones and Behavior 53:274-286. [PDF file]
    • De Jong, T.R., Chauke, M., Harris, B.N. and Saltzman, W. 2009. From here to paternity: neural correlates of the onset of paternal behavior in California mice (Peromyscus californicus). Hormones and Behavior 56:220-231. [PDF file]
    • Saltzman, W., Thinda, S., Higgins, A.L., Matsumoto,W.R., Ahmed, S., McGeehan, L. and Kolb, E.M. 2009. Effects of siblings on reproductive maturation and infanticidal behavior in cooperatively breeding Mongolian gerbils. Developmental Psychobiology 51:60-72. [PDF file]
    • Saltzman, W. and Abbott, D.H. 2009. Effects of elevated circulating cortisol concentrations on maternal behavior in common marmoset monkeys. Psychoneuroendocrinology 34:1222-1234. [PDF file]
    • Saltzman, W., Digby, L.J. and Abbott, D.H. 2009. Reproductive skew in female common marmosets: what can proximate mechanisms tell us about ultimate causes? Proceedings of the Royal Society B 276:389-399. (invited review paper).[PDF file]
    • De Jong, T.R., Measor, K.R., Chauke, M., Harris, B.N. and Saltzman, W. 2010. Brief pup exposure induces Fos expression in the lateral habenula and serotonergic caudal dorsal raphe nucleus of parentally experienced male California mice (Peromyscus californicus). Neuroscience 169: 1094-1104. [PDF file]
    • Chauke, M., Malisch, J.L., Robinson, C., de Jong, T.R. and Saltzman, W. 2011. Effects of reproductive status on behavioral and endocrine responses to acute stress in a biparental rodent, the California mouse (Peromyscus californicus). Hormones and Behavior 60:128-138. [PDF file]
    • Harris, B.N., Perea-Rodriguez, J.P. and Saltzman, W. 2011. Acute effects of corticosterone injection on paternal behavior in California mouse (Peromyscus californicus) fathers. Hormones and Behavior 60:666-675. [PDF file]
    • Saltzman, W. and Abbott, D.H. 2011. Hormonal and behavioral responses to stress in lactating and non-lactating female common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). Physiology and Behavior 104:446-453.[PDF file]
    • Saltzman, W., Boettcher, C.A., Post, J.L., Abbott, D.H. 2011. Inhibition of maternal behaviour by central infusion of corticotrophin-releasing hormone in marmoset monkeys. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 23:1139-1148. [PDF file]
    • Harris, B.N., Saltzman, W., de Jong T.R., and Milnes, M.R. 2012. Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis function in the California mouse (Peromyscus californicus): Changes in baseline activity, reactivity, and fecal excretion of glucocorticoids across the diurnal cycle. General and Comparative Endocrinology 179: 436-450. [PDF file]
    • de Jong, T.R., Korosi, A., Harris, B.N., Perea-Rodrigues, J.P., and Saltzman, W. 2012. Individual variation in paternal responses of virgin male California Mice (Peromyscus californicus): Behavioral and physiological correlates. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 85: 740-751. [PDF file]
    • Dlugosz, E.M., Harris, B. N., Saltzman, W. and Chappell, M.A. 2012. Glucocorticoids, aerobic physiology, and locomotor behavior in California Mice. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 85: 671-683. [PDF file]
    • Chauke, M., de Jong, T.R., Garland, T. Jr. and Saltzman, W. 2012. Paternal behavior is associated with, but not mediated by reduced neophobia in male California mice (Peromyscus californicus). Physiology and Behavior 107:65-75. [PDF file]

    Click here for a complete publication list.