Dr. Bruce Cushing (second from right) and fellow researchers at Beijing Normal University

Research Spotlight: Biologist Shares Research Discoveries in China

Dr. Bruce Cushing, professor of biology in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, is well known in the neuroscience community for his research on the mechanisms that regulate social behavior. Cushing’s expertise led to invitations to participate in two programs in China with other top scientists in behavior and neuroscience from around the world.

Cushing and his wife, Nancy, celebrated their 30th anniversary by traveling to a mini-workshop, held in July at Beijing Normal University. While there, Cushing presented his findings on oxytocin’s role in “organizing” the brain during postnatal development in prairie voles. Oxytocin is a neurohormone that regulates milk-letdown, contraction during birth and social behavior. Cushing has been a leader in showing how oxytocin and the early social environment “childhood” functions to structure parts of the brain associated with social behavior, influencing how animals interact when they are adults.

Later, at the First Asia-Pacific Conference on Integrative Behavioral Science, held in Xi’an, Cushing gave an invited talk about the neurobiology of social affiliation, including the role of estrogen in regulating social behavior. The conference provided an international platform for researchers, academicians and scientists to share their research results and activities in behavioral science topics.