Social influences on learning and memory How do social interactions influence the brain? Our laboratory is interested in how social behaviors affect neuronal plasticity at sites responsible for learning in an Australian songbird, the zebra finch. We study song learning behavior that is essential for reproductive opportunity and is mediated by known neural circuitry. In zebra finches, both the learned behavior and its underlying neural structures are sexually dimorphic, and plasticity is greatest during critical developmental phases. Within a comparative framework, we use behavioral, electrophysiological, and molecular techniques to investigate how social interactions shape gene expression patterns, how these changes modulate neural circuit properties and ultimately, how this constellation of changes sculpts behavior.


A selected list of publications:

Fraley E R, Burkett Z D, Day N F, Schwartz B A, Phelps P E, White S A   Mice with Dab1 or Vldlr insufficiency exhibit abnormal neonatal vocalization patterns Scientific reports, 2016; 6(3): 25807.
Berg Jamee M, Lee Changhoon, Chen Leslie, Galvan Laurie, Cepeda Carlos, Chen Jane Y, Peñagarikano Olga, Stein Jason L, Li Alvin, Oguro-Ando Asami, Miller Jeremy A, Vashisht Ajay A, Starks Mary E, Kite Elyse P, Tam Eric, Gdalyahu Amos, Al-Sharif Noor B, Burkett Zachary D, White Stephanie A, Fears Scott C, Levine Michael S, Wohlschlegel James A, Geschwind Daniel H   JAKMIP1, a Novel Regulator of Neuronal Translation, Modulates Synaptic Function and Autistic-like Behaviors in Mouse Neuron, 2015; 88(6): 1173-91.
Miller Julie E, Hafzalla George W, Burkett Zachary D, Fox Cynthia M, White Stephanie A   Reduced vocal variability in a zebra finch model of dopamine depletion: implications for Parkinson disease Physiological reports, 2015; 3(11): .
Whitney Osceola, Voyles Tawni, Hara Erina, Chen Qianqian, White Stephanie A, Wright Timothy F   Differential FoxP2 and FoxP1 expression in a vocal learning nucleus of the developing budgerigar Developmental neurobiology, 2015; 75(7): 778-90.
Burkett Zachary D, Day Nancy F, Peñagarikano Olga, Geschwind Daniel H, White Stephanie A   VoICE: A semi-automated pipeline for standardizing vocal analysis across models Scientific reports, 2015; 5(7): 10237.
Hara Erina, Perez Jemima M, Whitney Osceola, Chen Qianqian, White Stephanie A, Wright Timothy F   Neural FoxP2 and FoxP1 expression in the budgerigar, an avian species with adult vocal learning Behavioural brain research, 2015; 283(7): 22-9.
Heston Jonathan B, White Stephanie A   Behavior-linked FoxP2 regulation enables zebra finch vocal learning The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2015; 35(7): 2885-94.
Condro Michael C, White Stephanie A   Recent Advances in the Genetics of Vocal Learning Comparative cognition & behavior reviews, 2014; 9(2): 75-98.
Grant Laura M, Richter Franziska, Miller Julie E, White Stephanie A, Fox Cynthia M, Zhu Chunni, Chesselet Marie-Francoise, Ciucci Michelle R   Vocalization deficits in mice over-expressing alpha-synuclein, a model of pre-manifest Parkinson’s disease Behavioral neuroscience, 2014; 128(2): 110-21.
Condro Michael C, White Stephanie A   Distribution of language-related Cntnap2 protein in neural circuits critical for vocal learning The Journal of comparative neurology, 2014; 522(1): 169-85.
Chen Qianqian, Heston Jonathan B, Burkett Zachary D, White Stephanie A   Expression analysis of the speech-related genes FoxP1 and FoxP2 and their relation to singing behavior in two songbird species The Journal of experimental biology, 2013; 216(Pt 19): 3682-92.
White, SA   FoxP2 and vocalization, in ‘New Perspectives on the Origins of Language’, 2013; 144: 211-235.
Hilliard AT, Miller JE, Horvath S & White SA   Distinct neurogenomic states in basal ganglia subregions relate differently to singing behavior in songbirds, PLoS Computational Biology, 2012; 8: e1002773.
*Hilliard AT, *Miller JE, Fraley ER, Horvath S, White SA   Molecular microcircuitry underlies functional specification in a basal ganglia circuit dedicated to vocal learning, Neuron, 2012; 73: 537-552.
White Stephanie A   Genes and vocal learning Brain and language, 2010; 115(1): 21-8.
Panaitof SC, Abrahams BS, Dong H, Geschwind DH & White SA   Language-related Cntnap2 is differentially expressed in sexually dimorphic nuclei essential for vocal learning in songbirds, Journal of Comparative Neurology, 2010; .
Miller Julie E, Hilliard Austin T, White Stephanie A   Song practice promotes acute vocal variability at a key stage of sensorimotor learning PloS one, 2010; 5(1): e8592.
Teramitsu Ikuko, Poopatanapong Amy, Torrisi Salvatore, White Stephanie A   Striatal FoxP2 is actively regulated during songbird sensorimotor learning PloS one, 2010; 5(1): e8548.
Hilliard AT & White SA   Evolutionary Precursors of Syntax, Biological Foundations and Origin of Syntax, edited by Derek Bickerton and Eörs Szathmáry; Strüngmann Forum Reports, 2009; 3: 161-182.
Számadö S, Bishop D, d’Errico, F, Fischer J, Hurford J, Okanoya K, Szathmáry E & White SA   What are the possible biological and genetic foundations for syntactic phenomena?, Biological Foundations and Origin of Syntax, edited by Derek Bickerton and Eörs Szathmáry; Strüngmann Forum Reports, 2009; 3: 207-236.
Spence RD, Zhen Y, White S, Schlinger BA, Day LB   Recovery of motor and cognitive function after cerebellar lesions in a songbird: role of estrogens The European Journal of Neuroscience, 2009; 29(6): 1225-34.
Miller Julie E, Spiteri Elizabeth, Condro Michael C, Dosumu-Johnson Ryan T, Geschwind Daniel H, White Stephanie A   Birdsong decreases protein levels of FoxP2, a molecule required for human speech Journal of Neurophysiology, 2008; 100(4): 2015-25.
Teramitsu Ikuko, White Stephanie A   Motor learning: the FoxP2 puzzle piece Current Biology, 2008; 18(8): R335-7.
JE Miller & SA White   The sleeping bird gets the song, Journal of Neurophysiology, 2007; 98: 3-4.
White Stephanie A, Fisher Simon E, Geschwind Daniel H, Scharff Constance, Holy Timothy E   Singing mice, songbirds, and more: models for FOXP2 function and dysfunction in human speech and language The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2006; 26(41): 10376-9.
Teramitsu Ikuko, White Stephanie A   FoxP2 regulation during undirected singing in adult songbirds The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 2006; 26(28): 7390-4.
Wada K, Howard J, McDonnell P, Lints T, Rivas MV, Whitney O, Horita H, Patterson M, White SA,Scharff C, Haesler S, Zhao S, Sakaguchi H, Hagiwara M, Shiraki T, Hirozane-Kishikawa T, Skene P, Hayashizaki Y, Carninci P& Jarvis ED   A molecular neuroethological approach for identifying and characterizing a cascade of behaviorally regulated genes PNAS, 2006; 103: 15212-15217.
Teramitsu I & White SA   FoxP2 regulation during undirected singing in adult songbirds Journal of Neuroscience, 2006; 26: 7390-7394.
White SA, Fisher SE, Geschwind DH, Scharff C, Holy TE   Singing mice, songbirds and more: models for FOXP2 function and dysfunction in human speech and language Journal of Neuroscience, 2006; 26: 10376-10379.
Poopatanapong A, Teramitsu I, Byun JS,Vician LJ, Herschman HR, White SA   Singing, but not seizure, induces Synaptotagmin IV in zebra finch song nuclei Journal of Neurobiology, 2006; 66: 1613-1629.
The Avian Brain Nomenclature Consortium   Avian brains and a paradigm shift in understanding vertebrate brain evolution, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2005; 6: 151-159.
Nilson Paige Crystal, Teramitsu Ikuko, White Stephanie Ann   Caudal thoracic air sac cannulation in zebra finches for isoflurane anesthesia Journal of neuroscience methods, 2005; 143(2): 107-15.
Jarvis Erich D, Güntürkün Onur, Bruce Laura, Csillag András, Karten Harvey, Kuenzel Wayne, Medina Loreta, Paxinos George, Perkel David J, Shimizu Toru, Striedter Georg, Wild J Martin, Ball Gregory F, Dugas-Ford Jennifer, Durand Sarah E, Hough Gerald E, Husband Scott, Kubikova Lubica, Lee Diane W, Mello Claudio V, Powers Alice, Siang Connie, Smulders Tom V, Wada Kazuhiro, White Stephanie A, Yamamoto Keiko, Yu Jing, Reiner Anton, Butler Ann B, Butler Ann B   Avian brains and a new understanding of vertebrate brain evolution Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 2005; 6(2): 151-9.
Reiner A, Perkel D, Bruce L, Butler A, Csillag A, Kuenzel W, Medina L, Paxinos G, Powers A, Shimisu T, Striedter G, Wild M, Ball G, Durand S, Gunturkun O, Lee D, Mello C, White SA, Hough T, Kubikova L, Smulders T, Wada K, Dugas-Ford J, Husband S, Yamamoto K, Yu J, Siang C, Jarvis ED   Revised nomenclature for avian telencephalon and some related brain nuclei Journal of Comparative Neurology, 2004; 473: 377-414.
Scharff, C White, SA   Genetic components of vocal learning Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2004; 1016: 325-47.
Teramitsu, I Kudo, LC London, SE Geschwind, DH White, SA   Parallel FoxP1 and FoxP2 expression in songbird and human brain predicts functional interaction The Journal of Neuroscience, 2004; 24(13): 3152-63.
Reiner Anton, Perkel David J, Bruce Laura L, Butler Ann B, Csillag András, Kuenzel Wayne, Medina Loreta, Paxinos George, Shimizu Toru, Striedter Georg, Wild Martin, Ball Gregory F, Durand Sarah, Gütürkün Onur, Lee Diane W, Mello Claudio V, Powers Alice, White Stephanie A, Hough Gerald, Kubikova Lubica, Smulders Tom V, Wada Kazuhiro, Dugas-Ford Jennifer, Husband Scott, Yamamoto Keiko, Yu Jing, Siang Connie, Jarvis Erich D   The Avian Brain Nomenclature Forum: Terminology for a New Century in Comparative Neuroanatomy The Journal of comparative neurology, 2004; 473(1): E1-E6.
White Stephanie A, Nguyen Tuan, Fernald Russell D   Social regulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone The Journal of experimental biology, 2002; 205(Pt 17): 2567-81.
White SA   Learning to communicate Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 2001; 11: 510-520.
Livingston*FL, White*SA, & Mooney R   Slow NMDA-PSCs at synapses critical for song development are not required for song learning in zebra finches Nature Neuroscience, 2000; 3: 482-488.
White, SA Livingston, FS Mooney, R   Androgens modulate NMDA receptor-mediated EPSCs in the zebra finch song system Journal of Neurophysiology, 1999; 82(5): 2221-34.
White SA & Mooney R   Can an old bird change his tune? Current Biology, 1999; 9: R688-690.
Fernald RD & White SA   Social control of brains: from behavior to genes, The Cognitive Neurosciences, 1999; 2nd edition: 1193-1208.
Spiro, JE White, SA   Neuroethology: a meeting of brain and behavior Neuron, 1998; 21(5): 981-9.
White, SA Fernald, RD   Changing through doing: behavioral influences on the brain Recent progress in hormone research, 1997; 52: 455-73; discussion 473-4.
Fox* HE, White* SA, Kau MHF & Fernald RD   Stress and dominance in a social fish Journal of Neuroscience, 1997; 17: 6463-6469.
White, SA Kasten, TL Bond, CT Adelman, JP Fernald, RD   Three gonadotropin-releasing hormone genes in one organism suggest novel roles for an ancient peptide Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 1995; 92(18): 8363-7.
White SA & Fernald RD   Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-containing neurons change size with reproductive state in female Haplochromis burtoni, Journal of Neuroscience, 1993; 13: 434-441.