Dr. Elena Choleris
Discovery (Biological & Genetic Mechanisms)
We are particularly interested in various regulatory and modulatory aspects of social behavior. Among many, we are investigating the neurobiological bases of (1) social learning whereby an individual acquires information from another individual, (2) social recognition, individual identification and memory (3) sociability, an individual's tendency to prefer to spend time with social vs non social stimuli, and (3) agonistic interactions in males and females. Our research involves small rodents, mainly mice and it involves an integration of various aspects of neuroscience from Ethological to Pharmacological, Molecular and Genetic. Naturalistic behavioral models as well as an evolutionary interpretation of results are pivotal factors in our research. The involvement of the cholinergic, dopaminergic, oxytocinnergic, and estrogenic systems in the social transmission of food preferences and social recognition are, at present, the main focus of our research. We are also investigating developmental effects of testosterone on social behavior. We are pharmacologically manipulating these systems in specific brain regions in order to achieve a better understanding of the neurobiological mechanisms that are at the basis of social learning, social recognition and other aspects of social behavior. Other projects are also on going in the lab, in collaboration with other labs at Guelph as well as in other Universities, both in Canada (Mac Master, University of Western Ontario) and abroad (The Rockefeller University, NY; Universita' di Parma, Italy; and King's College, London, UK).