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UBC Department of Psychology
2524 - 2136 West Mall
Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4
Phone: (604) 822-5581
Fax: (604) 822-6923

Fokidis, H. Bobby

Biographical Sketch & Research Interests
A central goal in neuroscience is to understand the biological underpinnings and evolution of complex behaviors. Aggression evolved to enable organism's to cope with limited resources, and involves complex and coordinated interactions within the brain. The most basic manifest of aggression is direct competition over food resources which is ubiquitous across the animal kingdom. Maslow first identified the importance of securing physiologically vital resources for the future (e.g., food security). Despite its importance, the functional processes that underlie this behavior is entirely unknown. In nature, food security dictates life-history transitions which are mediated by the neuroendocrine system and heavily influenced by environmental conditions.

The goal of my research program is to characterize the neuroendocrine mechanisms that integrate energetic information concerning food security within relevant neural circuits regulating behavior. In particular I am interested in the importance of steroid hormones (androgens, estrogens, corticosteroids) and appetite-regulating neuropeptides (e.g., neuropeptide Y, orexins), in the regulation of aggression and stress-related responses. Using behavioral testing paradigms I devised we can instigate direct aggression over a food source in social birds and mammals, and manipulate perceptions of territory quality (with respect to food) in territorial species.

My novel research is very exciting as it integrates a reductionist perspective with a broader understanding of the organism in the context of its environment. Current food prices continue to increase worldwide and this is often accompanied by conflict. I aim to provide a neurological basis for this topic of increasing social importance which can further be integrated into a unified theory of steroid and neuropeptide signaling within the brain. To my knowledge this is the only research program of its kind.

Representative Publications
Fokidis HB, NH Prior, & KK Soma. Food restriction induces social instability and alters steroid concentrations in brain regions associated with aggression. Endocrinology (in review)

Fokidis HB, MB de Roziers, R Sparr, C Rogowski, K Sweazea, & P Deviche. 2012. The stress of variable food availability induces metabolic change independent of food intake in non-migratory songbird. Journal of Experimental Biology 215:2920-2930

Heimovics SA, HB Fokidis, & KK Soma. 2012. Chapter 11: Brain aromatase and territorial aggression across the seasons in male song sparrows; in Brain Aromatase, Estrogens, and Behavior. Editor: J Balthazart & GF Ball. Oxford University Press.

Deviche P, PJ Sharp, A Dawson, J Sabo, HB Fokidis, S Davies, & L Hurley. 2012. Up to the challenge? Hormonal and behavioral responses of free- ranging male Cassinís Sparrows, Peucaea cassinii, to simulated territorial intrusion. Hormones and Behavior 61:741-749

Fokidis HB, & P Deviche. 2012. Brain arginine vasotocin (AVT) immunoreactivity differs between urban and desert Curve-billed Thrashers, Toxostoma curvirostre: relationships with territoriality and stress physiology. Brain, Behavior, and Evolution 79:84-97.

Fokidis HB, L Hurley, C Rogowski, K Sweazea, & P Deviche. 2011. Captivity and body condition correlates of plasma corticosterone and metabolites and of locomotor activity in a male passerine. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 84:595-606.

Fokidis HB, & P Deviche. 2011. Plasma corticosterone of city and desert Curve- billed Thrashers, Toxostoma curvirostre, in response to stress-related peptide administration. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology 159: 32-38.

Schrey AW, M Grispo, M Awad, MB Cook, ED McCoy, HR Mushinsky, T Albayrak, S Bensch, LK Butler, HB Fokidis, H Jensen, T Imboma, AM Reynolds, MM Rios, LM Romero, IRK Stewart, H Westerdahl, DF Westneat, P Zehtindjiev, & LB Martin. 2011. Broad-scale latitudinal patterns of genetic diversity among native European and introduced house sparrow (Passer domesticus) populations. Molecular Ecology 20:1133-1143.

Fokidis HB, M Orchinik, & P Deviche. 2011. Context-specific territorial behavior in urban birds: No evidence for involvement of testosterone or corticosterone. Hormones and Behavior 59: 133-143.

Deviche P, L Hurley, & HB Fokidis. 2010. Avian testicular structure, function, and regulation; in Hormones and Reproduction of Vertebrates, Vol. 4: Birds. Editor: D Norris. Elsevier Inc.

Deviche P, L Hurley, HB Fokidis, B Lerbour, B Silverin, B Silverin, J Sabo, & PJ Sharp. 2010. Acute stress rapidly decreases plasma testosterone but not luteinizing hormone in a free-ranging male songbird: Potential site of action and mechanism. General and Comparative Endocrinology 169: 82-90.

Fokidis HB, M Orchinik, & P Deviche. 2009. Corticosterone and corticosterone binding globulin in birds: Relation to urbanization in a desert city. General and Comparative Endocrinology 160: 259-270.

French SS, HB Fokidis, & MC Moore. 2008. Variation in stress and innate immunity in the tree lizard (Urosaurus ornatus) across an urban-rural gradient. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 178: 997-1005.

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