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Jack Taylor, a student in the Neuroscience and Behavior PhD program at UNO, was recently the lead author on a paper that will be published in the July 2015 issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology (Impact Factor 5.6). Co-authors include PhD student Aaryn Mustoe, undergraduate neuroscience major Benjamin Hochfelder, and Dr. Jeffrey French, Varner Professor of Psychology and Biology and Director of UNO's Neuroscience Program.

Reunion behavior after social separation is associated with enhanced HPA recovery in young marmoset monkeys

After periods of stress, many people turn to those closest to them: their families. Those without social support are at increased risk for a host of behavioral and health problems related to stress. A group of researchers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Callitrichid Research Center explored how interactions with the family can affect and be affected by physiological reactions to stressful experiences, using a nonhuman primate model of the nuclear family, the marmoset. To study the relationship between physiological markers of stress and social behavior with the family, young marmosets were exposed to a mild social stressor during the juvenile, sub-adult, and young adult life stages and then were observed after being returned to their families. The authors measured levels of the hormone cortisol during the stressor, in order to assess physiological reactivity to stress, and they measured cortisol again the next morning, to assess physiological regulation after stress. The researcher group found that marmosets that responded to the stressor with high levels of cortisol (i.e. more reactive marmosets) were not more or less likely to engage in social behaviors when returned to their families. Instead, they found that marmosets that did engage in high levels of social behavior during reunion with the family had better cortisol regulation than marmosets that did not engage in social behavior with their families. These results show the importance of close social relationships with the family in the regulation of physiological responses after stressful experiences.

An abstract of the paper can be found here

Contact: Jack Taylor –

Feature Archive


The study of the biological basis of behavior is one of the most rapidly growing
areas of life sciences, reflecting the importance of the fundamental and applied interest in how neurons work on an individual basis, and how collections of neurons mediate behavior  and cognition.

The College of Arts and Sciences at UNO has established the first undergraduate neuroscience degree program in the Nebraska system to educate students bound for graduate programs in neuroscience as well as various careers in the health or health-related fields.

Students working toward completion of this degree will benefit from the expertise of existing faculty in the UNO departments of Biology and Psychology along one of two tracks:  Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience or Integrative Behavioral Science.

An undergraduate major in neuroscience will place students in the position of
moving into one of multiple career trajectories upon completion of the degree.

First, graduates of the program will be in an excellent position to immediately and successfully be recruited by one of the more than 200 graduate programs in neuroscience and related areas, and pursue advanced degrees. These opportunities include working with faculty at UNMC’s growing training programs and opportunities.  The newly established Department of Pharmacology and Experimental  Neuroscience at UNMC brings together experts in neuropharmacology with those with expertise in neurodegenerative diseases, and new and exciting graduate programs are likely to emerge from this new department. Neuroscience and related disciplines constitute among the best funded and active programs at UNMC. The Center for Neurovirology and Neurodegenerative Disorders (CNND) and the associated Neuroscience Research Training Program (NRTP) at UNMC constitute an important employment and training outlet for graduates of an undergraduate neuroscience major.

Second, graduates from either of the proposed neuroscience tracks would have most or all of the required courses for admission to medical schools, veterinary programs, and a host of other health-related professional programs.

Third, graduates of the neuroscience major will possess intellectual and methodological skill-sets that will make them highly attractive for laboratory technicians and assistants in local, regional, and national university and medical school laboratories.

Fourth, the growing emphasis on pharmaceutical agents that affect psychological function is driving employment in corporate pharmaceutical firms, for which graduates of the neuroscience major would be competitive.

Finally, students will emerge from the major with the ability to think across disciplines, to formulate questions and seek answers, to interpret data and draw conclusions, and to effectively communicate the outcome of these processes to a target audience. This suite of skills will make neuroscience majors eligible for a variety of career opportunities that are outside of the discipline of neuroscience.