Neuroscience Graduate Program

Wendy Saltzman

Wendy Saltzman
Office: (951) 827-6356
Fax: (951) 827-4286

Office Hours: , 2pm - 2pm
Email: wendy.saltzman@ucr.edu

Wendy Saltzman

Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 1991


Lab Webpage

Lab Group Photo June 2004; Lab Group Photo July 2007; Lab Group Photo May 2010

UCR Daily News Story 15 March 2005; BBC Radio Feature 10 March 2005; CBC Radio Feature 19 March 2005

The research in my lab focuses on behavioral neuroendocrinology, the dynamic and complex interactions among hormones, brain and behavior. For group-living animals, an important determinant of individual fitness is the ability to adjust behavior and physiology in response to salient demands, challenges, and opportunities in the social environment. Our research investigates the processes by which animals accomplish this task, particularly the pivotal roles of the brain and endocrine system.

We are especially interested in the interactions between stress and reproduction. Much attention has focused on the potential role of stress in inhibiting fertility and reproductive behavior. In reality, however, the relationship between stress-related physiology and reproduction is more nuanced, highly complex, and bi-directional. Thus, we are investigating the cross-talk between stress-related hormones, neuropeptides, reproductive physiology, and reproductive behavior. This work has broad relevance to vertebrate reproductive and behavioral biology, as well as potential implications for wildlife conservation and clinical applications in humans.


We are also interested in the neural, hormonal, sensory, and experiential factors that govern parental care in fathers. The mechanistic basis of mammalian parental behavior has been well characterized in females but remains poorly understood in males. This work is providing new insights into the proximate control of paternal behavior in the 5-10% of mammalian species - including humans - in which fathers are actively involved in rearing their offspring. 

california mouse

My lab at UC Riverside focuses primarily on the California mouse (Peromyscus californicus), a socially and genetically monogamous rodent in which both mothers and fathers play critical roles in caring for pups. Other recent research includes studies of cooperatively breeding common marmoset monkeys (based at the National Primate Research Center at the University of Wisconsin - Madison) and Mongolian gerbils (at UC Riverside). Current research topics include:

  • Interactions among parental behavior, emotionality, and stress physiology
  • Hormonal, neurochemical, and neuroanatomical determinants of parental behavior
  • Pup-related sensory cues involved in the expression of parental behavior

I participate in the Physiology graduate track within the Department of Biology's Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology graduate program, as well as the interdepartmental graduate programs in Neuroscience and Biomedical Sciences.


Complete publication list with PDF reprints

  • Abbott, D.H., Keverne, E.B., Bercovitch, F.B., Shively, C.A., Mendoza, S.P., Saltzman, W., Snowdon, C.T., Ziegler, T.E., Banjevic, M., Garland, T. Jr. and Sapolsky, R.M. 2003. Are subordinates always stressed? A comparative analysis of rank differences in cortisol levels among primates. Hormones and Behavior 43:67-82. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W. 2003 . Reproductive competition among female common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus): proximate and ultimate causes. In: Jones, C.B., ed. Sexual Selection and Reproductive Competition in Primates: New Perspectives and Directions. American Society of Primatologists, Norman, OK, pp. 197-229. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Prudom, S.L, Schultz-Darken, N.J., Wittwer, D.J. and Abbott, D.H. 2004. Social suppression of cortisol in female marmoset monkeys: role of circulating ACTH levels and glucocorticoid negative feedback. Psychoneuroendocrinology 29:141-161. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Pick, R.R., Salper, O.J., Liedl, K.J. and Abbott, D.H. 2004. Onset of plural cooperative breeding in common marmoset families following replacement of the breeding male. Animal Behaviour 68:59-73. [PDF file]
  • Pattison, J.C., Abbott, D.H., Saltzman, W., Nguyen, A.D., Henderson, G., Ju, H., Pryce, C.R., Allen, A.J., Conley, A.J. and Bird, I.M. 2005. Marmoset monkeys express an adrenal fetal zone at birth but not a zona reticularis in adulthood. Endocrinology 146:365-374. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W. and Abbott, D.H. 2005. Diminished maternal responsiveness during pregnancy in multiparous female common marmosets. Hormones and Behavior 47:151-163. [PDF file]
  • Blumstein, D.T., Patton, M.L. and Saltzman, W. 2006. Faecal glucocorticoid concentrations and alarm calling in free-living yellow-bellied marmots. Biology Letters 2: 29-32. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Ahmed, S., Fahimi, A., Wittwer, D.J. and Wegner, F.H. 2006. Social suppression of female reproductive maturation and infanticidal behavior in cooperatively breeding Mongolian gerbils. Hormones and Behavior 49: 527-537. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Hogan, B.K. and Abbott, D.H. 2006. Diminished cortisol levels in subordinate female marmosets are associated with altered central drive to the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Biological Psychiatry. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Hogan, B.K., Allen, A.J., Horman, B.M. and Abbott, D.H. 2006. Hypoestrogenism does not mediate social suppression of cortisol in subordinate female marmosets. Psychoneuroendocrinology. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Digby, L.J. and Abbott, D.H. 2009. Reproductive skew in female common marmosets: what can proximate mechanisms tell us about ultimate causes? Proceedings of the Royal Society B, E-pub ahead of print. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Liedl, K.J., Salper, O.J., Pick, R.R. and Abbott, D.H. 2008. Post-conception reproductive competition in cooperatively breeding common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). Hormones and Behavior 53:274-286. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W., Thinda, S., Higgins, A.L., Matsumoto,W.R., Ahmed, S., McGeehan, L. and Kolb, E.M. 2009. Effects of siblings on reproductive maturation and infanticidal behavior in cooperatively breeding Mongolian gerbils. Developmental Psychobiology, E-pub ahead of print. [PDF file]
  • De Jong, T.R., Measor, K.R., Chauke, M., Harris, B.N. and Saltzman, W. In press. Brief pup exposure induces Fos expression in the lateral habenula and serotonergic caudal dorsal raphe nucleus of parentally experienced male California mice (Peromyscus californicus). Neuroscience. [PDF file]
  • De Jong, T.R., Chauke, M., Harris, B.N. and Saltzman, W. 2009. From here to paternity: neural correlates of the onset of paternal behavior in California mice (Peromyscus californicus). Hormones and Behavior 56:220-231. [PDF file]
  • Saltzman, W. and Abbott, D.H. 2009. Effects of elevated circulating cortisol concentrations on maternal behavior in common marmoset monkeys. Psychoneuroendocrinology 34:1222-1234. [PDF file]

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