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Affinity Group Summary

Mission:
For the past several years, the members of Art Arnold’s, Barney Schlinger’s and Stephanie White’s laboratories have met on the first Monday of each month to present and discuss data on birdsong research in the broad areas of behavioral neuroendocrinology and neuroethology. Additionally, Dr. Bill Grisham from Psychology, a lecturer here at UCLA, and his undergraduate SRP students attend. Each laboratory investigates key neurobiological questions that can best be addressed by study of songbirds. In particular, the Arnold lab investigates sex differences in the brain, the Schlinger lab focuses on neurosteriods, including neuroprotection, while the White lab investigates the neural basis of vocal learning. While our foci differ, our broad interests and technological approaches share significant overlap, based on the fact that we each use birds for our research. More recently, Dr. Melissa Coleman, another birdsong researcher at the Claremont Colleges and her lab members attend. Her lab is interested in thalamo-cortical connections that subserve auditory selectivity. Through these meetings, our trainees gain important practice in presenting and commenting on primary data. During the discussions, we forge intellectual and technical bridges that quicken the pace of research progress. Moreover, research collaborations are fostered, and the potential for recruitment of graduate students from community colleges is enhanced.

Through these meetings, our trainees gain important practice in presenting and commenting on primary data. During the discussions, we forge intellectual and technical bridges that quicken the pace of research progress. Costs of conducting research are defrayed as we find opportunities for sharing equipment and reagents. Experimental protocols are vetted and streamlined. Research collaborations are fostered, leading to collaborative publications important for obtaining and retaining training grants, such as that for the Laboratory for Neuroendocrinology. Further, with the participation of Dr. Coleman from the Claremont Colleges, the potential for recruitment of graduate students from community colleges as well as from UCLA undergrads is enhanced.

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