Klarman Fellow Tracks Impact of Social Connections on Animal Health

The effects of social connections reverberate across a lifetime for humans and nonhuman animals, numerous studies have shown. Animal behavior specialist Matthew Zipple wants to know more.

Matthew Zipple uses an RFID scanner to identify a mouse living in an outdoor enclosure. By briefly catching and releasing the mice, Zipple and his colleagues are able to take repeated measurements of the animal’s body mass as it develops.

“I’m broadly interested in social relationships, but focus on how an animal’s mother can impact a wide range of outcomes: in childhood, in adulthood, and even across generations. “said Zipple, Klarman fellow in neurobiology and behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences.

To learn more about the long-term impacts of maternal care, other social relationships and adversity in early life, Zipple studied a variety of animals in different settings, including baboons in Kenya, wild marsh sparrows in northeastern Pennsylvania and – his current project – mice in a natural outdoor setting near Cornell’s Ithaca campus.

“Matthew was a force of nature when it came to his science,” said Michael Sheehan, Nancy Family Researcher and Peter Meinig, Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior and Faculty Co-Host. from Zipple (with Kern Reeve, professor of neurobiology and behavior.) “He’s a rising star in the field of animal behavior.”

Read the full story on the College of Arts and Sciences website.

Boyd S. Abbott