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Georgia State researcher gets $499,209 NSF grant to advance sociogenomics
Date:9/24/2013

Dr. Walter Wilczynski in the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience at Georgia State University has received a five-year $499,209 National Science Foundation grant to form a Research Coordination Network focused on advancing the field of sociogenomics.

This field can be the foundation for integrating molecular biology, neuroscience, psychology and evolutionary biology to provide deep insights into the molecular processes behind social interactions in all species, including humans.

Sociogenomics is an emerging field of biology. It is dedicated to identifying genes that influence social behavior and how these genes affect neural circuits in the brain. It also examines ways in which the social environment influences how an individual's genes are expressed. According to Wilczynski, understanding the root of social behavior at the molecular level is a high-stakes endeavor with important conceptual and biomedical implications.

"This knowledge has the potential to impact mechanistic and evolutionary questions in basic biological science by providing deep insights into the genetic mechanisms responsible for behaviors as diverse as social bonding, cooperation and aggression that are common in many organisms including humans and how these have evolved," said Wilczynski, who is also director of Georgia State's Neuroscience Institute and a professor of neuroscience and psychology.

"Sociogenomics also has important medical implications. Many neurological disorders from autism spectrum disorders to schizophrenia can severely impair a person's ability to engage in normal social interactions. Understanding how social behavior is regulated at the molecular level will help us understand these diseases."

This grant is part of the National Science Foundation's Research Coordination Network grant program, which funds activities to advance a field or create new directions in research or education by supporting groups of investigators to c
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Contact: Natasha De Veauuse Brown, M.P.H.
ndeveauusebrown@gsu.edu
404-413-3602
Georgia State University
Source:Eurekalert

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