I am originally from Ukraine (one of the former republics of the Soviet Union). After the break-up of the Soviet Union, I immigrated with my family to the U.S.A. and until last year, lived in Miami, FL. While in Miami, I earned my Bachelors in Biology and PhD in Behavioral Endocrinology at Florida International University. I moved to Elizabethtown in 2012 and joined Elizabethtown College in Spring, 2013.
My broad research interests include animal behavior, endocrinology, and neuroscience. I am particularly interested in the field of social neuroscience; understanding how our social environment affects physiology and the nervous system.
For my dissertation research I studied dynamic regulation of communication signals in Neotropical gymnotiform electric fish in the lab of Philip Stoddard. Gymnotiform fish (commonly called knife fish) produce very weak electric signals that they use to navigate the murky waters of rivers and streams in South America and to communicate with each other. There are over 250 species of electric fish and each species has a different communication signal, varying in complexity and plasticity (ability to change in response to changes in the social environment). I showed that in gymnotiforms electric signal plasticity reflects hormone sensitivity and species-specific sociality.
At E-town, I am just starting to build my research lab. While eventually I hope to bring electric fish to the lab, I am starting my research program using crayfish, who exhibit really interesting behaviors and are a classic experimental model in neuroscience.