Welcome to the Zupan Lab!
In the Zupan lab, we study the neurodevelopmental basis of affiliative social behaviors. Specifically, we’re interested in understanding both the direct and indirect impact of various genetic factors on developing neural circuits and consequently, life-long behavioral patterns associated with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. A large body of evidence has implicated maternal nutrition, infection, and care in modulating offspring disease risk, but less is known about how maternal genetic variation may also contribute to such risk – without direct inheritance of disease-associated genes. After all, the maternal environment is at least in part determined by her genes. In general, we are interested in identifying mechanisms by which maternal genes alter offspring developmental patterns leading to life-long behavioral change. Using mice as a model organism, we rely on behavioral, pharmacologic, and molecular techniques to pursue the answers to our research questions.