My research interests center on understanding how animals make complex social decisions. This includes how animals communicate with each other, how an animal’s physiology influences sensory processing, and the neural circuitry involved in behavioral output. I am currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Lab of Organismal Biology (Lauren O’Connell) at Stanford.
I work on cute little imitator poison frogs (Ranitomeya imitator) and their tadpoles. Once tadpoles hatch, dads carry tadpoles piggy-back style to pools. Moms and dads check on their tadpoles regularly, and when hungry, a tadpole "begs" for food by vigorously shaking their body back and forth. This behavioral display is an honest signal of nutritional need and is necessary to elicit an egg meal from mom. However, this display is energetically costly and increases predation risk for the tadpole. As such, caregiver recognition and decisions about whether or not to display begging behaviors are life-or-death decisions for tadpoles. My research uses integrative techniques to study social decision-making in tadpoles, from sensory modalities used, to neuropeptide modulation, to the neural circuitry regulating behavior output.
When not in lab, I enjoy pretty much anything crafty. I love painting, crocheting, embroidery, gardening, reading, and baking. I have two adorable little cats, Mia & Luna, and probably spend too much time enjoying the beautiful Bay Area weather outside in my hammock.
Office/Lab: Gilbert 304
jmbutler @ stanford.edu
I just started my postdoc at Stanford, so check back frequently for updates about new science adventures!
Summer 2020: A bunch of PhD papers came out - check out the publications tab for details!
Feb. 2020: Awarded LSU Distinguished Dissertation Award in STEM.
Jan. 2020: Started a postdoc in Lauren O'Connell's lab at Stanford University!
Dec. 2019: Officially graduated from LSU.
Oct. 2019: Passed dissertation defense and dissertation approved by the graduate school!
April 2019: Presented at LSU BioGrad's symposium and received a best poster award!
Jan 2019: New paper on tac3 research came out!
Jan. 2019: Presented SICB in Tampa, FL - 2nd place in the DNNSB Best Student Division.
Nov. 2018: Presented at JB Johnston and SfN in San Diego, CA.
Sept. 2018: Received a Trainee Professional Development award from SfN!
April 2018: Another trip to Minnesota to work with Dr. Al Mensinger's lab.
March 2018: Presented at LSU BioGrad's Symposium & received a best poster award!
March 2018: Presented a TEDxLSU talk.
Feb. 2018: Received an Esprit de Femme Student Leadership award for work with LSU's Women in Science.