Professor of Biology
My research concerns the mechanisms controlling the sexual differentiation and adult display of courtship behaviors in mice. One project uses transgenic mice in which the Cyp-19 (aromatase) gene has been disabled to study the role of the sex hormone, estradiol, in the differentiation of female-typical aspects of courtship behavior, including olfactory responses to conspecifics. Another project concerns the interaction between the main and accessory olfactory nervous systems in the control of mate recognition and sexual motivation in male and female mice. Techniques that I use include brain immunocytochemistry to localize neuronal immediate-early gene products, steroid hormone receptors and several neuropeptides; in situ hybridization autoradiography to localize and quantify mRNAs for pheromone receptors in the vomeronasal organ; the quantitative analysis of sexual, scent marking, and maternal behaviors as well as operant methods for assessing animals’ ability to detect pheromones as well as their sexual partner preferences; and brain infusions of neurotoxins, tract tracers and neuropeptides to study the olfactory mechanisms controlling sociosexual behaviors.
Dr. James Cherry, Dept. of Psychology, Boston University
Dr. Julie Bakker, Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Liege, Belgium
- BI 545 Neurobiology of motivated behavior
- BI 230 Behavioral endocrinology
- DiBenedictis BT, Ingraham KL, Baum MJ, Cherry JA. (2012). Disruption of urinary odor preference and lordosis behavior in female mice given lesions of the medial amygdala. Physiology and Behavior, 105:554-559.
- Brock O, Baum MJ, Bakker J. (2011). The development of female sexual behavior requires prepubertal estradiol. Journal of Neuroscience, 31:5574-5578.
- Martel KL, Baum, MJ (2009.) Adult testosterone treatment but not surgical disruption of vomeronasal function augments male-typical sexual behavior in female mice. Journal of Neuroscience, 29:7658-7666.
- Kang N, Baum MJ, Cherry JA (2009.) A direct main olfactory bulb projection to the ‘vomeronasal’ amygdala in female mice selectively responds to volatile pheromones from males. European Journal of Neuroscience, 29:624-634.
- Bakker J, Baum MJ (2008.) Are estrogens required for the development of the female brain? Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 29:1-16.
- Martel KL, Baum MJ. (2007). Sexually dimorphic activation of the accessory, but not the main, olfactory bulb in mice by urinary volatiles. European Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 463-475.
- Alekseyenko OV, Baum MJ, Cherry JA. (2006). Sex and gonadal steroid modulation of pheromone receptor gene expression in the mouse vomeronasal organ. Neuroscience, 140, 1349-1357.
- Baum MJ. (2006). Mammalian animal models of psychosexual differentiation: When is ‘translation’ to the human situation possible? Hormones and Behavior, 50, 579-588.