Gregory S. Fraley
Associate Professor of Biology
- B.S. University of Maryland at College Park, Animal Science with an emphasis on physiology
- M.S. University of Maryland at College Park, Avian Physiology with emphasis on neuroscience. Physiological Changes Within the Central Nervous System During Kinfe-cut or Biochemically Induced Sexual Precocity. Thesis Major Advisor: Professor Wayne J. Kuenzel
- Ph.D. Washington State University at Pullman, Postnatal Development of the Spinal Nucleus of the Bulbocavernosus in the Mongolian Gerbil: Effects of Peripubertal Gonadal hormones on Anatomy, Androgen Receptor, and Neurotrophin Receptor Expression. Dissertation Major Advisor: Associate Professor Catherine Ulibarri, Center for Neurosciences
- Postdoctoral Experience:
- UCLA Brain Research Institute (Los Angeles, CA), Mentor Professor Art Arnold
- WSU College of Veterinary Medicine (Pullman, WA), Mentor Professor Sue Ritter
- UW School of Medicine (Seattle, WA), Mentor Professor Robert Steiner
- My laboratory studies how the brain regulates behavior and how this can be altered by environmental changes. Environmental changes that impact the brain can either be the body's internal environment (current physiological or health status) or external environment, such as changes in light cycles or food availability. Changes in either internal or external environments can alter brain chemistry, particularly within the hypothalamus region of the brain.
The hypothalamus is a part of the brain that regulates many physiological and behavioral systems. Specifically, my lab studies how the environment impacts hypothalamic neurochemistry that regulates feeding and reproduction. Feeding and reproduction are regulated by parallel neural circuitry within the hypothalamus and these neural circuits can be affected by internal and external environmental cues. For example, when there are very poor food supplies and an animal loses a great deal of body weight, and thus energy stores.
The hypothalamus senses these drop in available energy and increases the animal's food seeking behaviors and shuts down reproduction. This affect is observed in women who are dancers or marathon runners and have very little body fat, and very irregular or nonexistent menstrual cycles; or if in prepubertal children, puberty will be delayed or prevented if adequate nutritional status is not achieved.
Go to current research projects
- Similar effects on feeding and reproduction can have drastic impacts on animal agriculture. The World Health Organization predicts that by 2050, our planet will have to quadruple its food supply while utilizing significantly less agricultural land. My laboratory studies how environmental factors such as light cycles, feed types, or environmental stresses affect hypothalamic circuitry to maximize
feeding and reproduction in agricultural animals, while simultaneously improving the animals' well-being and welfare. Welfare and well-being in our agricultural animals has become a very important field of research. Ultimately, improving our agricultural animals welfare and well-being improves agricultural products. In an effort to make these improvements, it is important to understand the animals' behaviors, and how these behaviors are regulated by the brain.
My lab studies how environmental changes designed to improve an animals' welfare and well-being may impact the animals' perception of stress. Stressors have huge impacts on the hypothalamic regulation of feeding and reproduction, two very important brain and behavioral systems in animal agriculture.
- I am originally from Baltimore, Maryland. I began research as an undergraduate developing a digital atlas of the avian brain. I stayed in the same lab as a graduate student (MS, Dr. Wayne Kuenzel) where I studied the brain mechanisms involved in timing the onset of puberty. I continued my graduate work with Dr. Cathy Ulibarri at Washington State University where I studied the developmental changes in the nervous system that occur during puberty. After my PhD, I spent the next 5 years in postdoctoral research studying factors that affect the development of brain and behavior including the environment, steroids and nutrition. During these years, I obtained experience teaching gross anatomy to veterinary students and behavioral neuroendocrinology to medical students.
- I have been married since 1999 to Dr. Susan Fraley (D.V.M.). We live in Byron Center, Michigan on a small hobby farm with our two Basset Hounds (Mabel and Maggie) and Sphynx cat (Holly).
- Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
- Society for Neuroscience
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Sigma Xi
Dr. Fraley is on Facebook (Hope Biology Alumni)
Office: Science Center 3065
Lab: Science Center 3011
Please make an appointment to see me.