Nicole M. Baran, Ph.D.

My research broadly encompasses the evolution and mechanisms of social behaviors. An integrative understanding of the evolution of complex social behavior requires a framework that links insights about the ecological and phylogenetic context of behavior, with the molecular, neural and developmental mechanisms that produce it.

This is the approach that I have taken in my research, combining theoretical work with empirical research into the proximate mechanisms of social behaviors. My graduate work with Elizabeth Adkins-Regan at Cornell University was focused on reproductive strategies in birds, including pair bonding, extra-pair mating, conspecific brood parasitism, and sex ratio adjustment. In the fall of 2019, I completed my NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellowship investigating the neural and genomic basis of complex social behaviors of African cichlid fish with J. Todd Streelman in the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology. I am currently as postdoctoral researcher in the Bird Brain Lab Emory University Department of Psychology co-mentored by Donna L. Maney and Soojin Yi (at Georgia Institute of Technology).