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The Department of Neurobiology and Behavior (NB&B) was one of the very first departments to combine the study of animal behavior with its neural basis, based on the belief that the interface between them was one of great research potential. NB&B has a distinguished faculty with interests ranging from the intrinsic properties of neurons to the organization of animal societies. Research in the Department falls into five overlapping core areas: cellular and molecular neuroscience, systems neuroscience, computational neuroscience, chemical ecology, and animal social behavior.

Faculty, postdoctoral associates, technical staff, and graduate students all share the goal of understanding how the nervous system underlies behavior. NB&B offers a broad range of courses and research opportunities for undergraduate students, making it the most popular biology concentration at Cornell.

The associated Graduate Field of Neurobiology and Behavior encompasses all aspects of neurobiological and behavioral research on Cornellís Ithaca campus. The graduate program's goal is to advance the understanding of neurobiology and behavior by training the next generation of scientists working at this exciting interface.

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Goldberg lab publishes work on dopamine and birdsong
learning in Science, see link.

Here is some coverage of the paper in the popular press:



One method of locating a colony of wild bees is called bee lining. In this video, we will join Prof. Tom Seeley as he tries to locate a wild colony of honey bees. He catches bees foraging on goldenrod and aster, feeds them concentrated sugar solution and determines the direction that they fly as they return to their colony. By painting identifying marks on some bees, he is able to measure their round trip time to get an estimate of the distance to the colony. With direction and distance established, he moves closer. Then, watching the bees, sees that they are living in a dead tree.


Leap into the world of jumping spiders - Paul Shamble


How Do Fish Know When to Sing?

Some fish sing to mate. The Andrew Bass lab has shown how melatonin cna trigger this fascinating behavior


Hearing in a Jumping Spider


Neurotech symposium on the brain spotlights new discoveries


Melatonin, biological clock keep singing fish on time
Jenny Feng and Andy Bass


Tom Seeley and four engineers from Georgia Institute of Technology will share the Fifth Annual Golden Goose Award
for the “honeybee algorithm,” honoring their work to
understand how honeybee colonies are organized to
optimally forage for nectar, which unexpectedly led to the development of an algorithm used by major web hosting companies to streamline internet services.

"Honey Bee Algorithm” (the project for which I was awarded) starts at about the 8 minute mark on link above for the Golden Goose Award.

EEB/NBB Graduate Student Diversity & Inclusion Recruitment Friday, April 21, 2017 to 12:00am Corson-Mudd Hall.

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department and the Neurobiology and Behavior Department will host a joint recruitment event for prospective students from underrepresented backgrounds. This event is geared toward those who are interested in, but who have not yet applied to graduate school. During the event, prospective students will
have the chance to meet with current faculty and graduate students, learn about ongoing research opportunities, and receive guidance on the graduate school application process. Applications to attend may be submitted to the event website
by December 1, 2016.

The Miller Award Committee is pleased to honor
Walt Koenig as the recipient of the
Loye and Alden Miller Research Award for 2016.


To turn right or left? Joseph Fetcho’s work with zebrafish
reveals circuitry underlying fundamental motor choices.

Six scientists named inaugural Mong
neurotech fellows
– congratulations!


Vikram Gadagkar (postdoc Goldberg lab) has
been awarded the Simons Collaboration on the
Global Brain (SCGB) Postdoctoral Fellowship


Robert Raguso receives the 2017 Silverstein-Simeone Award from the International Society
of Chemical Ecology. This award recognizes Rob’s “cutting edge” research in chemical ecology.


Smith, M. L., M. M. Ostwald, and T. D. Seeley. Honey bee sociometry: tracking honey bee colonies and their nest contents from colony founding until death. Insectes Sociaux: 1-11.

Madeleine M. Ostwald, Michael L. Smith, Thomas D. Seeley. The behavioral regulation of thirst, water collection and water storage in honey bee colonies.
Journal of Experimental Biology 2016 219: 2156-2165; doi: 10.1242/jeb.139824

Claire Rusch, Geoffrey T. Broadhead, Robert A Raguso and Jeffrey A Riffell. Olfaction in
context - sources of nuance in plant-pollinator
.COIS 2016, 15:53-60.

Disentangling visual and olfactory signals in mushroom-mimicking Dracula orchids using
realistic three-dimensional printed flowers.
Policha et al; New Phytologist

John Sullivan, Sebastien Lavoué and Carl Hopkins.
A new genus of electric fish from Gabon with two new species. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.561.7137 d


NBB Seminar Series
Weekly presentations from renowned researchers on their current work, during the Fall and Spring semesters.

January 26, 2017; 12:30, A106 Morison Room - Tom Schwarz, Harvard Medical School; Moving and Removing Mitochondria in Neurons and Mitotic Cells


Lunch Bunch Journal Club
A weekly discussion group for the evaluation of ongoing research projects - not necessarily finished products - in areas related to animal behavior. NBB graduate students studying animal behavior are encouraged to sign up to present once every year, especially those students in their second year and beyond. Students, post-docs and faculty from any field are welcome to both present and attend.

January 31, 2017; 12:20, W358 Mudd Hall - Joshua LaPergola; TBD

Topics in Neural Basis of Behavior
A weekly journal club for presenting recent papers of consequence and potentially broad interest.

January 27, 2017; 10:30, A305 Rosenblatt Room - Kim McArthur; Lane et al. 2016. Synergistic plasticity of intrinsic conductance and electrical coupling restores synchrony in an intact motor network. eLife.


Alumni and Faculty have teamed up to establish an endowment that will have a lasting impact on graduate student research in Neurobiology and Behavior. This endowment generates funds devoted exclusively to supporting our in-house program of Research Grants for graduate students, and we need your help to grow it.

Make a tax-deductible donation today!