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Matthew Paul, Ph.D.

Matt PaulAssistant Professor
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
319 Hochstetter Hall
Buffalo, NY  14260
(716) 645-0281
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Summary of Research Interests

The overall goal of research in my laboratory is to understand how behavior is shaped by the interplay of the brain, hormones, and the environment. Current projects fall under one of two themes:

1) Sex differences in neuropeptide regulation of adolescent social development. Adolescence comprises the formative years during which individuals reach sexual maturity and develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills necessary to assume adult status in the community. Many sex differences in the brain and behavior arise during this period, including sex differences in susceptibility, onset, and severity of neuropsychiatric and behavioral disorders (e.g. autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). My laboratory seeks to understand the underlying roots of these sex differences by studying the role of neuropeptides (e.g. vasopressin and oxytocin) and pubertal hormones in the development of social behaviors. Typical behaviors we study include social play behavior and ultrasonic vocalizations of rats and hamsters.

2) Impact of the social environment on biological rhythms. Social cues enable animals to synchronize their behaviors to achieve common goals or to avoid each other to lessen competition for resources. The mechanisms by which these cues impact behavioral timing are not understood. We track individual locomotor activity and body temperature rhythms of group-housed mice and hamsters to understand the role of the circadian system in the temporal organization of animal couples and communities.


Representative Publications


  • Paul MJ, Probst CK, Brown LM, and De Vries GJ (in press). Dissociation of puberty and adolescent social development in a seasonally breeding species. Current Biology.
  • Fields CT, Chassaing B, Paul MJ, Gewirtz AT, and De Vries GJ (2017). Vasopressin deletion is associated with sex-specific shifts in the gut microbiome. Gut Microbes 31:1-13. DOI: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1356557
  • Paul MJ, Peters NV, Holder MK, Kim AM, Whylings J, Terranova JI, and De Vries GJ (2016). Atypical social development in vasopressin-deficient Brattleboro rats. eNeuro 3(2): ENEURO.0150-15.2016. DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0150-15.2016
  • Paul MJ, Indic P, and Schwartz WJ (2015). Social synchronization of circadian rhythmicity in female mice depends on the number of cohabiting animals. Biology Letters 11(6): article number 20150204. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0204
  • Paul MJ, Terranova JI, Probst CK, Peters NV, Murray EK, Ismail NI, Kim AM, Shah CR, and De Vries GJ (2014). Sexually dimorphic role for vasopressin in the development of social play behavior. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 8:58.
  • Paul MJ, Premananda I, and Schwartz WJ (2014). Social forces can impact the circadian clocks of cohabiting hamsters. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 281: 20132535.
  • De Vries GJ, Fields CT, Peters NV, Whylings J, and Paul MJ (2014). Sensitive periods for hormonal programming of the brain. Current Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience. Current Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience 16:79-108.
  • Taylor PVG, Veenema AH, Paul MJ, Bredewold R, Isaacs S, and de Vries GJ (2012). Sexually dimorphic effects of a prenatal immune challenge on social play and vasopressin expression in juvenile rats. Biology of Sex Differences 3:15.
  • Paul MJ, Zucker I, and Schwartz WJ (2008). Tracking the seasons: The internal calendars of animals. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B 363: 341-361.