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Our research focuses broadly on the integrative biology of reproduction and stress, including interactions between the two.  In particular, we are investigating proximate mechanisms underlying the expression of parental care, as well as the effects of parenthood on parents.  We are especially interested in the causes and consequences of paternal care by fathers; therefore, we are studying one of the few biparental mammals, the California mouse (Peromyscus californicus).  California mouse fathers show a rapid, spontaneous onset of paternal behavior when their first litter is born, and spend as much time huddling, licking, and retrieving their pups as mothers do.

We focus on neural, hormonal, and sensory mechanisms that contribute to the activation of paternal behavior, as well as possible effects of fatherhood on stress responsiveness, anxiety, energetics, metabolism, and immune function in fathers.  This work is funded by NIH and NSF grants to Dr. Saltzman and her collaborators, and by intramural grants from UC Riverside.