Wendy Saltzman


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

E-mail: saltzman@ucr.edu

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

    Click here for a complete publication list.