Darcy Kelley

Darcy Brisbane Kelley, Ph.D. (born November 29, 1948), is an American neurobiologist and currently a Weintraub and HHMI Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University. She is also Co-Director of Columbia’s Graduate Program in Neurobiology and Behavior and Editor of Developmental Neurobiology, and well known for her contributions to neuroethology, particularly the neural control of vocalization in Xenopus and the cellular and molecular mechanisms of sexually differentiated acoustic communication.[1][2][3]

American neurobiologist
Darcy B. Kelley
Born (1948-11-29) November 29, 1948 (age 72)

Alma mater Barnard College of Columbia University
Scientific career
Fields Neuroscience
Institutions Columbia University

. . . Darcy Kelley . . .

Darcy Kelley was born in New York City to Elinor S. Brisbane and Solon C. Kelley III and grew up off of East End Ave; she graduated from the Chapin School in 1966. Kelley spent her summers on Cape Small in Maine acquiring a life-long interest in drama until 1964 when she participated in an NSF summer program on the biological basis of behavior at Grinnell College in Iowa. She has said the summer was “determinative event; before that I wanted to be in medicine and after that I wanted to be a scientist.” [4]

Kelley received her B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Barnard College in 1970 and her Ph.D. from Rockefeller University (D.W. Pfaff) in 1975 where she held NSF and ARCS Foundation fellowships. Kelley then joined Fernando Nottebohm’s laboratory as an NIH postdoctoral fellow to investigate the neural underpinnings of song in canaries from 1975–1977.[5] After a brief stint as Assistant Professor at Rockefeller, she moved to Princeton University as a faculty member in Psychology. She then joined the faculty of Biological Sciences at Columbia University as a tenured Associate Professor in 1982 and was appointed Professor in 1987. She is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor (2002)[6] and holds the Harold Weintraub chair in Biological Sciences (2010).[7] Kelley co-directed the Neural Systems and Behavior course at the Marine Biological Laboratory (1985 – 1989) and has served as Trustee of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and the American Association of Colleges and Universities. She is currently Scientific Advisor to the Sloan Foundation Ensemble Theater program, the University of the People and the graduate program in Neuroscience of the Champalimaud Institute in Lisbon, Portugal.[8]

The Kelley Lab studies the anuran Xenopus laevis and other species in this genus, to understand how the nervous system processes and produces acoustic communication,[9] how sex differences in the production and reception of vocal signals arise[10] and how auditory and vocal circuits evolve.[11] This research program was supported by long-term funding from the NIH (NS23684), including two Javits awards. Current research focuses on the genetic basis for species differences in vocal communication[12] (in collaboration with the Bendesky lab) and is supported by a Columbia RISE grant. Research from the Kelley lab has shown that the vocal motor circuit in the hindbrain is sexually differentiated due to the action of testicular androgens, that these hormones control myogenesis and chondrogenesis in the vocal organ, the larynx, and that the greater sensitivity of females to the dominant frequencies in calls of male conspecifics arises, at least in part, from the action of their own androgens on primary auditory neurons.[13] Her laboratory and those of former trainees/collaborators developed two ex vivo preparations (brain and larynx) that “sing in the dish”, facilitating cellular and molecular analyses of the origins of sex, species differences in vocal signaling and the ability to study the evolution of sensory and motor circuits that support behaviors that contribute to speciation.[14]

. . . Darcy Kelley . . .

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. . . Darcy Kelley . . .