Barney Schlinger

(310) 825-5716
2135 Terasaki Life Sciences Building (TLSB)
lab website

Recent Courses

PS M140 Hormones and Behavior in Humans and Other Animals
PS 177 Neuroethology
PHY SCI M127/227 - Neuroendocrinology of Reproduction
Cluster 72 Sex from Biology to a Gendered Society

Research Areas


Research Interests

Steroid hormones are powerful signaling molecules that influence numerous physiological and behavioral endpoints in vertebrate animals. My lab has explored biochemical steroidal signaling processes with a focus on the central nervous system and the role whereby steroids control behavior. We study steroid biosynthesis in steroidogenic organs as well as steroid metabolism and action in target tissues. I am also an avian biologist and much of my work has focused on songbirds and how steroids organize and activate the extraordinary neural circuitry that controls singing behavior. This includes steroidal involvement in auditory processing, motor output and memory formation. Our focus on the estrogen synthetic enzyme aromatase has revealed, surprisingly, that estradiol is synthesized at some synaptic terminal with rapid post-synaptic actions placing this “hormone” as a brain constitutive neuromodulator. We have also shown that sex-steroids can be synthesized fully in the brain, independent of typical steroidogenic tissues like the gonads. Finally, we have a longstanding research program investigating the neural, hormonal and muscular control of a remarkably complex courtship behavior in a wild tropical bird, the golden-collared manakin of Panama. This has involved multidisciplinary field and laboratory approaches that examine anatomy, physiology, behavior, ecology and evolutionary processes that impact this wonderful species and their unique behavior.

Selected Publications

Chiver, I. and B.A. Schlinger. 2017. Clearing up the court: sex and the endocrine basis of display-court manipulation. Anim Behav, 131: 115-121

Fuxjager, M.J., Miller Ligon, R., Fusani, L., Goller, F., Trost, L., Ter Maat, A., Gahr, M., Chiver, I., Chew, J* and B.A. Schlinger. 2017. Neuromuscular mechanisms of an elaborate wing display in the golden-collared manakin (Manacus vitellinus). J. Exp. Biol. 220: 4681-4688.

Schlinger, B.A., Paul, K., Monks, D.A. 2018. Muscle, a Conduit to Brain for Hormonal Control of Behavior. Horm Behav. 105: 58-65.

Pradhan, D.S., Van Ness, R.*, Chunqi, M., Jalabert, C., Hamden, J.E., Soma, K.K., Ramenofsky, M. and B.A. Schlinger, B.A. 2019. Phenotypic flexibility of glucocorticoid signaling in skeletal muscles of a songbird preparing to migrate. Horm. Behav. 116, 104586.

Fuxjager, M., Fusani, L. and B.A. Schlinger. 2022. Physiological innovation as a basis for courtship behavior. Anim. Behav. 184: 185-195.

Schlinger, B.A., Remage-Healey, L., Saldanha, C.J. 2022. The form, function, and evolutionary significance of neural aromatization. Front. Neuroendo. 64: 100969.

Pease, J.B., Driver, R.J., de la Cerda, D., Day, L.B. Lindsay, W.R., Schlinger, B.A., Schuppe, E.R., Balakrishnan, C.N., Fuxjager, M.J. 2022. Layered evolution of gene expression in superfast muscles for courtship. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 119: No. 14 e2119671119

He, J., Fu, T., Zhang, L., Gao, L.W., Rensel, M., Remage-Healey, L., White, S.A., Gedman, G., Whitelegge, J., Xiao, X., Schlinger, B.A. 2022. Improved Zebra Finch Brain Transcriptome identifies novel proteins with sex differences. Gene, 15;843:146803. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2022.146803.

Fuxjager, M.J., Ryder, T.B., Alfonso, C., Balakrishnan, C.N., Barske, J., Bosholn, M., Boyle, W.A., Braun, E.L., Chiver, I., Dakin, R., Day, L., Driver, R., Fusani, L., Horton, B., Wollman, R., Kimball, R.T. Lipshutz, S., Mello, C., Miles, M.C., Miller, E., Moore, I. Posada, G.C., Vernasco, B., Webster, M., Wirthlin, M. and Schlinger, B.A.. 2023. Physiological regulatory networks and the evolution of the integrated behavioral phenotype. Horm. Behav. 151:105340. doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2023.105340.


Schlinger, B.A. “The WINGSNAPPERS Lessons from an Exuberant Tropical Bird”, Yale University Press. In Press