Barnett A. Schlinger, Ph.D.


Steroid synthesis and action in the vertebrate CNS. My laboratory is interested in the hormonal control of brain and behavior. Steroid hormones influence the CNS in diverse ways, from regulating neuronal transcription, to influencing cell signaling pathways, to direct modulation of neurotransmitter receptor ion channels. The traditional view is that neurally active steroids come from the gonads and adrenals, but we and others have evidence that in some cases, steroids can be synthesized directly in the brain. We are testing this hypothesis in songbirds that have a variety of well-characterized endpoints of steroid action on brain including organizing neural circuits developmentally, activating circuits and stimulating persistent neural plasticity in adults. We utilize molecular, biochemical and neuroanatomical approaches to explore the expression, activity and function of steroid synthetic enzymes. In addition, we do field research on birds, including one called the Golden-collared manakin that lives in the rainforests of Panama. Males of this species have a remarkable, acrobatic and noisy courtship display. We study how hormones act on the brain, spinal cord and peripheral muscles to give males the ability to perform these elaborate displays.


A selected list of publications:

Pradhan Devaleena S, Newman Amy E M, Wacker Douglas W, Wingfield John C, Schlinger Barney A, Soma Kiran K   Aggressive interactions rapidly increase androgen synthesis in the brain during the non-breeding season Hormones and behavior, 2010; 57(4-5): 381-9.
Feng Ni Y, Katz Amnon, Day Lainy B, Barske Julia, Schlinger Barney A   Limb muscles are androgen targets in an acrobatic tropical bird Endocrinology, 2010; 151(3): 1042-9.
Remage-Healey Luke, Coleman Melissa J, Oyama Randi K, Schlinger Barney A   Brain estrogens rapidly strengthen auditory encoding and guide song preference in a songbird Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2010; 107(8): 3852-7.
London Sarah E, Remage-Healey Luke, Schlinger Barney A   Neurosteroid production in the songbird brain: a re-evaluation of core principles Frontiers in neuroendocrinology, 2009; 30(3): 302-14.
Salwiczek Lucie H, Emery Nathan J, Schlinger Barney, Clayton Nicola S   The development of caching and object permanence in Western scrub-jays (Aphelocoma californica): which emerges first? Journal of comparative psychology (Washington, D.C. : 1983), 2009; 123(3): 295-303.
Remage-Healey Luke, Maidment Nigel T, Schlinger Barney A   Forebrain steroid levels fluctuate rapidly during social interactions Nature neuroscience, 2008; 11(11): 1327-34.
Schlinger Barney A, Day Lainy B, Fusani Leonida   Behavior, natural history and neuroendocrinology of a tropical bird General and comparative endocrinology, 2008; 157(3): 254-8.
Katz Amnon, Mirzatoni Anahid, Zhen Yin, Schlinger Barney A   Sex differences in cell proliferation and glucocorticoid responsiveness in the zebra finch brain The European journal of neuroscience, 2008; 28(1): 99-106.
London Sarah E, Monks D Ashley, Wade Juli, Schlinger Barney A   Widespread capacity for steroid synthesis in the avian brain and song system Endocrinology, 2006; 147(12): 5975-87.