Professor James Traniello and Dr. Mario Muscedere, Senior Lecturer in Biology and Director of the Undergraduate Program in Neuroscience, received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the impact of social complexity on brain size, structure, and metabolism in ants. The project will examine how the energetic cost of the brain scales with worker body size, colony size and level of social organization. Computational neuroimaging methods will be applied to quantify brain size and structure, and a highly sensitive technique will enable the ex vivo measurement of the metabolic rates of intact brains and brain cells. This study is complemented by the research of Frank Azorsa, a doctoral student in the Traniello Lab, who received a grant from the Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico, Tecnológico y de Innovación Tecnológica (Peru) to study the evolutionary neurobiology of predatory ants, and how diet and sociality have influenced brain evolution. Collateral to these research awards, a grant from the Genome Sciences Institute to Professors Sean Mullen and James Traniello is funding a genomic analysis of brain evolution using single-cell RNA sequencing to understand molecular underpinnings of differentiation in brain structure associated with social roles. This study will profile gene expression in the mushroom bodies, brain centers for sensory integration, learning, and memory that are deeply homologous to the vertebrate cortex. The fungus-growing ant Atta cephalotes, which has evolved morphologically- and behaviorally-specialized workers that have significant differences in the mushroom bodies, is the model system.