The Cooke Laboratory

The Neuroscience Institute

Georgia State University


How do hormones like testosterone and estradiol influence the developing brain? How do behaviors like dominance, aggression, and subordination influence hormones? My lab explores the interrelationships between hormones, brain, and behavior in the development of individuality, temperament and social behavior in laboratory animals such as the rat and hamster.

Our work focuses primarily on the amygdala, a part of the temporal lobe that is involved in social behavior, endocrine regulation, attention, and emotion-laden memory.  We study how social experiences and gonadal hormones influence the connectivity of amygdala neurons, and how these physical changes influence the flow of electrical information within the amygdala. We use a variety of neuroanatomical techniques, patch clamp electrophysiology, behavioral analysis, and hormone assays to understand the functional consequences of early behavioral or hormonal events. Our findings may help to explain how hormones and experience interact to influence the social and emotional development of children.

Reciprocity between hormones, behavior, and the brain