The Solomon-Lane Lab is an integrative neuroscience and behavior lab in the Keck Science Department at Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges. We are a welcoming, collaborative research group interested in understanding social behavior, hormones, and neural mechanisms. Our model system is the highly social fish, Burton’s Mouthbrooder. Take a look around to learn about the Lab and our research, and check back for updates!
Are you interested in applying to join the Lab? Send me an email! You do not need any previous research experience. Students from underrepresented groups in STEM are highly encouraged to apply.
September 4, 2020
We are lucky to be starting our semester with a phenomenal seminar by Dr. Michele Johnson! Thanks for meeting with us, Michele!
August 27, 2020
week begins today! We will be reading about and discussing racism in neuroscience, and STEM more broadly, attending the SfN Black Lives Matter and Neuroscience: Why This Moment Matters webinar, and engaging with and amplifying posts on social media. Making the Lab more accessible, inclusive, and diverse will also be a primary focus (this week forever into the future). Black Lives Matter.
July 27, 2020
Also, check out the brand new fry (baby fish) from our lab population of A. burtoni! Despite the strange and challenging summer, the fish are thriving!
June 1, 2020
We’re kicking off our second summer in the Lab! Undergraduate researchers Emily McCabe (Scripps), Claire Cantelon (Scripps), and Bela Harmon (Scripps) will be working virtually to analyze social behavior data collected by Emily and recent graduate Caity Kwun, as a part of her thesis, in Fall 2019. I can’t wait to see all that we learn and discover together this summer!
Congratulations to the very first graduates of the Solomon-Lane Lab! Wishing all the best to Caity Kwun (CMC), Hannah Graves (CMC), and Julia Weinstein (CMC)! Thank you to these phenomenal students and researchers for all they brought to me, our lab, and to scientific discovery!
July 17, 2019
Undergraduate researchers (left to right in picture below) Hannah Graves (CMC), Julia Weinstein (CMC), and Emily McCabe (Scripps) gave a fantastic presentation today at the Keck Brown Bag Lunch Series on their work: The effects of early-life socialization on behavior in a highly social fish. Thank you to all of the Keck researchers for attending and asking great questions!
June 19, 2019
We had a packed house today for the Early Career Workshop at the annual meeting of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
! Thank you to my co-organizers Drs. Laura Been (Haverford College), Kelli Duncan (Vassar College), and Christina Ragan (Purdue University Northwest), along with all of the fantastic presenters. Check out our schedule here
! I will also be presenting a research poster on Friday (June 21) from my postdoc research in the Hofmann Lab
about the effects of vasopressin on juvenile cichlid social behavior and status.
May 23, 2019
The fish have finally arrived! Say hello to these young adult Burton’s Mouthbrooders (Astatotilapia burtoni
), a highly social species of African cichlid. These fish traveled here from the Hofmann Lab
at the University of Texas at Austin. The Solomon-Lane Lab will start research this summer with three talented undergraduate researchers!
May 18, 2019
Over the past few days, I had the privilege of working with this talented group of animal behavior researchers at Weaving the Future of Animal Behavior (WFAB). I’m thrilled to be a part of this community as we move forward in science and as scientists. A special thank you to the organizers – Drs. Emilia Martins and Claire Horner-Devine – and to all of our panelists!
January 30, 2019
Thank you to Scripps College
for a warm welcome and this Faculty Spotlight
! Check out my interview to learn about my research, how I became interested in studying social behavior, how critical I think diversity is to science, and three things that might surprise the Scripps community…
January 4, 2019
Go see graduate student Becca Butler present her poster “The Development of Social Status in a Highly Social Fish” (P1-161) at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
meeting in Tampa! Becca completed this work as an undergraduate researcher with me in the Hofmann Lab
. While juvenile social behavior is quite similar to adults, and they can form status relationships, we show that the social “rules” differ from the adults. Becca also mastered intracerebroventricular injections and was able to alter social status by manipulating arginine vasotocin signaling.
January 1, 2019
Hello, California! I am thrilled to join the Keck Science Department
at Claremont McKenna, Scripps, and Pitzer Colleges as an Assistant Professor of Biology. This semester, I’ll be teaching Systems Neuroscience and a Neuroscience Lab. Stay tuned for research to begin in my Lab with talented undergraduate students from the Claremont Colleges.
December 20, 2018
How to measure female reproductive success when multiple females lay eggs in the same nest? This science challenge had an unexpected solution: food coloring! The dye marks eggs in the fish’s ovary. When the female lays eggs in the male’s nest, they have colored yolks! Count each color to estimate female reproductive success. Learn how in my new preprint: A simple egg marking method for polygynous fishes.
October 15, 2018
Our new preprint “A tagging method for very small fish
” describes how to mark fish as small as 1 cm long! Juvenile cichlids are hard to keep track of over time. This method makes it possible to study individuals as they develop!
July 17, 2018
April 3, 2018
March 28, 2018
I am excited to be speaking at the Spring Symposium in Brain, Behavior and Evolution at UT Austin on April 28th! The theme this year is behavioral epigenetics. Check out The Center for Brain, Behavior, and Evolution website
for more information. Registration is FREE for UT folks!
March 19, 2018
At the 2017 meeting of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
, I met with a group of graduate students, postdocs, and faculty at the Workshop for Public Engagement and External Relations. I wrote a letter
summarizing our work and goals for the future. Check it out to learn about the ways SBN scientists already engage with diverse publics and our vision for the role SBN has the power to play in increasing diversity, inclusion, and equity in STEM; building strong connections with local communities; increasing public trust in scientists and enthusiasm for science; and developing and participating in public engagement and science communication training. We look forward to broadening the scope of and participation in public engagement together!
March 14, 2018
My new preprint Early-life social environment alters juvenile behavior and neuroendocrine function in a highly social cichlid fish
is now available on bioRxv! Early-life social environments and experiences shape adult behavior critical for evolutionary fitness and health. We show that rearing juvenile A. burtoni
in different social environments – social groups or pairs – affects behavior across contexts and stress and sex steroid hormone gene expression. By investigating these early-life effects in juveniles, we can identify how developmental plasticity shapes the adult phenotype.
March 13, 2018
March 9, 2018
Thank you to Michele Johnson
and Jimmy Roberts
for inviting me to give a Neuroscience Seminar at Trinity University
! The students asked excellent questions, and it was great meeting faculty and touring the impressive new science building. I look forward to visiting again!
February 19, 2018
Congratulations to undergraduate researcher Lisa Paggeot on being awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship today for her project on the behavioral and neurotranscriptomic mechanisms driving social status transitions in Astatotilapia burtoni!
February 5, 2018
The second annual full-day BEACON
Public Engagement Workshop at the University of Texas at Austin was a success! This year, we focused on building a public narrative to connect with your audience, Stephanie Chiarello Noppenberg discussed how to engage effectively with public policy makers, and Rep Donna Howard shared insights about serving in the Texas State House of Representatives. Special thanks to Rep Howard and Stephanie for sharing their experiences and expertise! Check out the workshop resources
and our library guide page
for more information.
November 8, 2017
I’m excited to share that I’ll be speaking at Nerd Nite Austin
again! My talk is titled “Pork barrel science, or what biologists have learned from dressing animals in clothes.” Scientists go to great lengths for their research, but from the outside looking in, that research can appear ridiculous. (Remember the kerfuffle over shrimp treadmills?) But is science that appears wasteful actually a waste? Together, we will explore the world of seemingly-preposterous science by finding out what biologists have learned over the years from dressing animals in clothes. Nerd Nite starts at 8pm at The North Door
. The event is FREE and open to the public. I hope to see you there!
Photo credit: Zoo Portraits
October 2, 2017
August 4, 2017
Thanks again to funding from the BEACON Center for the study of Evolution in Action
, I led two Sandboxes on STEM public engagement with my collaborators Travis Hagey, Alexa Warwick, and Hans Hofmann. Based on requests from our previous workshops, we focused on framing scientific messages to fit the audience and bridging the gap between STEM and public policy. Special thanks to Dr. Judi Brown Clarke (pictured below) for sharing her expert insights on being a scientist and an elected public official! Check out our handout
and other resources
for STEM public engagement.
This summer, I was excited to again host two pairs of middle school girls as a part of the Shadow a Scientist
program at UT Austin. They had the chance to observe cichlids interacting in their home communities, decide how to quantify the behaviors they found interesting, and design a small experiment to find out how juveniles of different sizes interact. Like last year, the girls had an excellent eye for behavior and asked great questions!
Note: Student faces blurred out of respect for privacy
June 13, 2017
At the annual meeting of the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology
, I led the Public Engagement and External Relations Workshop with UCLA graduate student Yesenia Cabrera. Thank you to all of the undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, and faculty who joined us to share the many ways they engage the public! We also strategized for the future, thinking about how SBN can further support the bold and innovative public engagement goals of its members. Thank you to the SBN organizers for including this productive session.
Innovative science is increasingly interdisciplinary. Pop-Up Institutes
are a novel way to bring researchers from diverse disciplines together for a month of collaboration. I coordinated our Institute Seeing the Tree and the Forest: Understanding Individual and Population Variation in Biology, Medicine, and Society
, which drew interest from researchers in biology, statistics, medicine, nutrition, public health, athletics, classics, anthropology, and more! Check out my BEACON blog posts to learn more about the Pop-Up Institute
and the communication strategies
we used to collaborate across disciplines. Go to our guide page
, curated by Biosciences Librarian Porcia Vaughn
, to learn more and find resources!
April 12, 2017
Undergraduate researchers Hareem Usmani (left) and Becca Butler (right) present their research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium. They did a fantastic job sharing their science! Both Becca and Hareem designed their projects and successfully applied for Undergraduate Research Fellowship funding to support their research. Congratulations!
March 20, 2017
February 20, 2017
February 15, 2017
Check out our new paper “A Role for Oxytocin-Like Receptor in Social Habituation in a Teleost” in Brain, Behavior, and Evolution!
October 30, 2016
August 10, 2016
At the 2016 Congress for the BEACON Center for the study of Evolution in Action
, I led two Sandboxes with my collaborators Drs. Alexa Warwick, Travis Hagey, and Hans Hofmann. We discussed building an evidence-based framework for public engagement within BEACON and provided training for how to build your own public engagement experience. There is clearly strong support for STEM public engagement at BEACON. Thanks to all of our participants for your ideas and enthusiasm!
The Shadow a Scientist
program at UT Austin matches middle school students with a researcher to find out what a scientist really does. I hosted two pairs of middle school girls this summer. They had the chance to observe cichlid social interactions, develop an ethogram for quantifying behavior, and design an experiment to find out how juveniles interact. The girls were keen observers and asked insightful questions!
June 16, 2016
Thank you to the Girls Empowerment Network
for inviting me to be a mentor at speed mentoring! The high school girls at the Pathfinder Leadership Summit asked fantastic questions and have impressive goals for now and their futures.
March 2, 2016
The theme for Nerd Nite Austin
this month is Brain Games! This SXSW Special Edition is being hosted in collaboration with National Geographic, and I’m excited to be one of the presenters! I’ll be exploring the world of animal behavior research to uncover the biological basis of social behavior and its consequences. Come to the North Door
on Sunday March 13th @ 8 pm. The event is FREE.
February 10, 2016
Thanks to Springer Animal Sciences for highlighting my publication, “The effects of previous experience and current condition on status contests in the bluebanded goby (Lythrypnus dalli
)”! See the Facebook highlight here
, and go to my Publications tab to read the article.
July 8, 2015
Take a look at my latest publication, “Agonistic reciprocity is associated with reduced male reproductive success”, in this issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B (website
)! I took the picture on the cover of the journal: it shows a male bluebanded goby caring for his eggs!
March 30, 2015
I am The BEACON Center’s featured Researcher at Work, this week! Check out my blog post The Original Social Gaming !
I discuss how I became interested in the biology of social behavior and my doctoral research with the bluebanded goby. The BEACON Center is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and brings together biologists, computer scientists, and engineers to study evolution in action. Learn more about the BECAON Center at their website