Michigan State University

College of Social Science

Human Development Initiative

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The Human Development Initiative, begun in 2009, is a community of scholars throughout the university interested in development across the lifespan. The initiative creates venues where scholars involved in cutting-edge research in the social and health sciences (including genetics, neuroscience, and psychosocial development) can focus on the intersections between their own work and that of other researchers. We invite faculty and graduate students to join us at our bi-weekly brown bag speaker series and our fall and spring colloquia.

Wade Juli Wade
Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin. Department of Psychology, Institute of Reproductive Biology 1992
Bachelors Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Department of Psychology 1987
Primary Program: Behavioral Neuroscience
240C Psychology
(517) 355-9563

Research Statement
The Wade lab investigates how structural and biochemical changes within the brain across development regulate later social behaviors. They study the development of courtship and copulatory displays because these displays are stereotyped and differ between the sexes. Members of the Wade lab are working with two model systems, zebra finches and green anole lizards. Zebra finches have become a classic model for investigating sex differences in brain and behavior. Males sing to court females, whereas females do not normally sing, and in parallel the brain regions and muscles that control song are larger in males than in females. The Wade lab investigates how hormones and genes contribute to the development of behavioral and anatomical differences between the sexes. Similarly, green anole lizards display highly sexually dimorphic courtship behaviors. Males extend a bright red throat fan called a dewlap. Females have only a rudimentary dewlap, and while they use it in a limited fashion during aggressive encounters, females do not display the dewlap during reproduction. The neurons and muscles controlling this behavior are larger in males than in females. The Wade lab’s current research on the lizards involves investigations of the influences of steroid hormones during development and in adulthood on both morphology and behavior in these two reproductive systems.

Research Publications    
2016Tang Y.P. and Wade J. Sex and Age Differences in Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Vimentin in the Zebra Finch Song System: Relationships to Newly Generated Cells. Journal of Comparative Neurology, in press 2015.
2014Lampen, J., Jones, K., McAuley, J.D., Chang, S.E., and Wade, J. (2014). Arrhythmic Song Exposure Increases ZENK Expression in Auditory Cortical Areas and Nucleus Taeniae of the Adult Zebra Finch. PLoS ONE.