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My research focuses on environmental control of reproduction and associated cycles of behavior, migration, molt, wintering strategies. We take a very integrated approach including theoretical and ecological aspects such as application of mathematical models to field data. While in the field we collect physiological samples from free-living animals, and experimentally manipulate phenotypes (through hormone implants) to tease out mechanisms of control. These data are then integrated with laboratory experiments under rigorously controlled conditions. Endocrine techniques are applied to samples collected both in the field and laboratory and investigations at the cell and molecular level are encouraged. Additional emphasis is emerging in the area of conservation biology and what field endocrinology can contribute to this more applied aspect of biology. My laboratory works primarily with birds, although all vertebrate groups are of interest. Further details can be obtained at our web site.
My ongoing projects include the Arctic work, a seasonal breeding project (including field work from equatorial regions to the pole), and a high altitude project looking at hormone-behavior adaptations. Details of some of these studies can be found on my web site. The main thrust of my research is to understand how animals deal with changing environments and adjust their life cycles accordingly. This has led to the initiation of environmental endocrinology that includes a strong theoretical background so we can compare life cycles of all vertebrates from fish to mammals. This framework allows us to keep common mechanisms in mind and make the appropriate experimental comparisons. At present I see a great need to develop molecular techniques to address organismal problems. Specifically, we are pursuing have hormone receptor/metabolising enzyme genes are involved in hormone-behavior adaptations in diverse habitats. Additionally, I think molecular techniques will be important for us to assess population genetics so we can determine whether population differences in hormone-behavior interactions are genetic or environmentally-induced.
Biographical Sketch: John C. Wingfield
B.Sc. Special Honors in Zoology (1970), University of Sheffield, U.K.
Ph.D. Zoology/comparative endocrinology (1973), University College, North Wales, U.K.
Professor, Department of Biology, University of Washington. Current.
Chair of Zoology 1998-2000
Associate Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Washington, 1986 -1988.
Associate Professor, Rockefeller University, 1984-1986.
Assistant Professor, Rockefeller University, 1981-1984.Postdoctoral Fellow, endocrinology, animal behavior, University of Washington, 1974-1980.
President, Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, January 2003-2005.
Member of the Leadership Team, ADVANCE Program for women and minorities in science and engineering, University of Washington, 2001-present.
Member, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship Selection Panel, Neuroscience and Physiology 1, Feb. 1996, 1997 and 1999.
Panel member, National Science Foundation,
Neuroendocrinology Program May 1997
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