- Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
I am a behavioral endocrinologist and primatologist who studies neural, hormonal, and behavioral mechanisms underlying individual differences in prosocial behavior and vulnerabilities and resilience to social stressors. Disruptions in social functioning and other sources of social stress are well known to have profound negative consequences on overall health and longevity. I study the marmoset monkey which is a small-bodied primate native to Brazil that displays human-like long-term social bonds, cooperative biparental care, and high social tolerance toward strangers—all are uncommon traits found among primates.
I specifically investigate how hormones like oxytocin and vasopressin interact with neurotransmitters like dopamine to modulate neural, endocrine, and behavioral responses to social stress and reward. I combine a variety of approaches including techniques in receptor pharmacology, cell signaling, and endocrinology assays; structural and functional neuroimaging; and broad assessments of social and cognitive behavior across the lifespan.
I am also passionate about teaching and student mentorship in research with emphasis on techniques that advance non-human primate models in behavioral neuroscience and animal welfare.
Selected PublicationsMustoe A, Schulte NA, Taylor JH, French JA, Toews ML (2019). Leu8 and Pro8 oxytocin agonism differs across human, macaque, and marmoset vasopressin 1a receptors. Scientific Reports (Nature), 9, 15480.
Mustoe A, Taylor JH, French JA (2018). Oxytocin structure and function in New World monkeys: From pharmacology to behavior. Integrative Zoology
Mustoe A, Harnisch AM, Hochfelder B, Cavanaugh J, French JA (2016). Inequity aversion strategies between marmosets are influenced by partner familiarity and sex but not by oxytocin. Animal Behaviour. 114, 69-79.
Mustoe A, Cavanaugh J, Harnisch AM, Thompson BE, French JA (2015). Do marmosets care to share? Oxytocin treatment reduces prosocial behavior toward strangers. Hormones and Behavior. 71, 83-90.
Mustoe A, Taylor JH, Birnie AK, Huffman MC, French JA (2014). Gestational cortisol and social play shape development of marmosets’ HPA functioning and behavioral responses to stressors. Developmental Psychobiology, 56, 1229-1243.