Neuroendocrinology, Development and Evolution of Vertebrate Sexual Plasticity

Dr. Grober utilizes an integrative appraoch to study vertebrate reproductive behavior. By approaching the study of behavior at the neural, endocrine and ecological levels of analysis, he has been able to gain an understanding of the present functions, underlying mechanisms, and evolutionary history of specific behavioral traits.

His ongoing research addresses the development of sexual plasticity in teleost fishes and mammals, including species with multiple male morphs and sex change. He is interested in the integration of extrinsic cues (environmental and social) with intrinsic neuroendocrine processes. Dr. Grober employs a range of techniques, including field observations, experimental neuroanatomy, immunocytochemistry, in-situ hybridization, and hormone manipulations. His current focus is on the preoptic area, a brain region involved in the early development and life-long control of reproductive behavior in all vertebrates. The goal of this work is to establish a general neuroendocrine mechanism for the development of reproductive variability as an aid in understanding the evolution and maintenance of sexual polymorphism in vertebrates.