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Emma Coddington discusses hormones and behavior at Science Pub

The Dec. 14 Science Pub will feature Willamette University Assistant Professor of Biology Emma Coddington for "Stress Meets Love: The Hormones Behind Appropriate Decision Making" at Brown's Towne Lounge starting at 6:30 p.m.

Coddington studies how hormones affect the nervous system and behavior - the fields of behavioral neuroendocrinology and neuroethology. To investigate how hormones affect behaviors, she studies a local amphibian, the rough skin newt.

Coddington asks questions such as: How do hormones affect sensory-motor processing? How do hormones change behavioral responses to environmental factors? Where in the brain do these hormones act?

To test these questions, she uses a variety of scientific techniques, such as behavioral analysis and pharmacology, electrophysiology, microscopy and real-time polymerase chain reaction - the technique used by forensic investigators to amplify DNA at a crime scene for analyses and comparisons.

A native New Zealander, Coddington has a bachelor's degree in Zoology and Chemistry from Otago University. She earned her master's at Ohio University and has a doctorate in Zoology from Oregon State University. Coddington teaches physiology and neuroscience at Willamette University and spent the summer working with two undergraduate students at the Marine Biological Laboratory as part of Willamette's Science Collaborative Research Program.

"While the science that goes into this research is technical and challenging to learn, the overarching themes are simple and intriguing," said Coddington. "This is an adventure. We are discovering the unknown landscape of brain wiring and hormones that dictate our behaviors and decisions."

Brown's Towne Lounge is open to adults 21 and over, and it is in the heart of downtown Salem at 189 Liberty St. NE. Science Pub is free, so arrive early to ensure you get a seat.

For more information and to learn more about Coddington's research, visit www.omsi.edu/sciencepubsalem.

12-13-2010