Joseph Bergan

Assistant Professor
Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences | College of Natural Sciences
N229 Life Sciences Laboratories

Scholars Project Title: Synaptic Foundations of Sexually Dimorphic Circuit Architecture

Social interactions are dynamic processes that depend on the individuals involved (for example: parent or child) and often differ between individual animals. Social behaviors are often sexually dimorphic and rely on a network of evolutionarily conserved brain regions, where variation in neuron morphology between male and female animals exists at each level: from the sensory epithelium, through the central processing, and to the neural circuits mediating motor output. To understand the connectivity of sexually dimorphic neural circuits that mediate social behavior, however, requires analyses at over a million-fold range of scale (nanometers to centimeters). We have developed high-throughput microscopy and physiology techniques to investigate these questions, and will leverage genetic and viral tools to generate mechanistic insights regarding how sensory inputs are transformed into sexually dimorphic cognitive, endocrine, and behavioral outputs.

Recent Publications:

  • Isogai Y, Richardson D, Dulac C, Bergan J. 2017. Protocols for high throughput imaging of large volume brain tissues. Methods Mol Biol 1538. ISBN 978-1-4939-6688-2
  • Menagas W, Bergan JF, Dulac C. Uchida N. Watabe-Uchida M. 2015. Differential mapping of midbrain dopamine neurons. eLife. doi: 10.7554/eLife.10032.
  • Bergan JF, Ben-Shaul Y, Dulac C. 2014. Sex-specific processing of social cues in the medial Amygdala. 1–22. doi:10.7554/ eLife.02743.
  • Wu Z, Autry A, Bergan JF, Watabe-Uchida M, Dulac C. 2014. Galanin neurons in the medial preoptic area control mouse parental behavior. Nature 509: 325–30. 
  • Dani A, Huang B, Bergan JF, Dulac C, Zhuang X. 2010. Superresolution imaging of chemical synapses in the brain. Neuron 68(5):843-56.