Project: Research project

Grant Details


This application is to support a period of advanced training in multidisciplinary approaches to the study of the neural substrate of social cognition in monkeys. The candidate will acquire new theoretical knowledge in animal behavior, computational methods and practical skills in primate neurophysiology. The combination of behavioral, neurophysiological and computational techniques has great potential for the study of social cognition in monkeys. Additional training is needed by the candidate to achieve this potential since the species studied, the questions addressed, and the analytical methods that will be used are new to her. This training will complement her earlier experience in electrophysiological recordings in freely behaving rats. The candidate will work with a small group of talented co-mentors/consultants who will provide a sound background in primate social behavior, electrophysiology and computational methods. The candidate will also attend advanced classes and national workshops on statistical and computational methods suitable for analyzing neuronal ensemble data obtained with multielectrode arrays. UC Davis and the California Regional Primate Research Center (CRPRC) are uniquely suited for the training and research goals of the candidate. The CRPRC houses social troops of 60-120 rhesus monkeys in large outdoor enclosures where the animals develop in a socially naturalistic environment. The departments of Computer Science, Center for Animal Behavior, Center for Neuroscience and the Medical and Veterinary Schools offer advanced courses in the areas of neuroscience, animal behavior and computational science. The candidate's immediate goal is to use modern neurophysiological techniques to determine the responses of neural ensembles in different nuclei of the monkey amygdala to images of monkey faces and facial expressions. This project will complement and benefit from an ongoing research program at the CRPRC directed by the sponsor, Dr. David Amaral. The specific aims of the research proposed in this application are to determine 1) whether neuronal ensembles recorded from different nuclei of the monkey amygdala differentiate between monkey faces and facial expressions, and 2) whether ensemble responses to facial expressions are modulated by social context. The candidate's long-term career goal is to use the experience afforded by this award to develop an independent research program that combines behavioral, neurophysiological and computational methods to study the role of structures such as the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex in emotional and social behavior in primates.
Effective start/end date5/6/003/31/06


  • National Institutes of Health: $59,811.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $114,752.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $114,450.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $54,060.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $117,738.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $112,084.00


  • Medicine(all)


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