Melissa Holmes

faculty_img Academic Title: Associate Professor

Campus: UTM

CSB Appointment: Cross Appointment

Primary Undergraduate Department:
Psychology, UTM

Graduate Programs:
Cell & Systems Biology

Titles and Honors:


Academic or Administrative Appointments:


Education:
Ph.D. Michigan State University 2005
M.A. University of British Columbia 2001
B.A. Simon Fraser University 1998

 

Mailing Address
Department of Cell & Systems Biology
University of Toronto
3359 Mississauga Road North
Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6
Canada

 

Contact Information
Office phone: 905-828-3956
Office: CCT 408
Lab: DV 1025
Lab phone: 905-828-3874
Email: melissa.holmes@utoronto.ca
URL: http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/index.php?id=mholmes

 

Research Areas
Animal Biology
Neurobiology
Psychology & Behavior

 

Research

One overarching long-term goal of our research is to better understand how social status influences structure and function in the mammalian brain. To achieve this goal, we study a uniquely social animal: the naked mole-rat. These animals live in large groups with a very strict social hierarchy. By comparing the brains of male and female as well as dominant and subordinate animals, we have demonstrated that, in contrast to most other mammals, social status is more important than sex for determining neural morphology in this species. More recently, we have demonstrated that social status controls adult neurogenesis in the extended limbic system. Our current work is exploring the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying status-induced plasticity in brain and behaviour, with a particular focus on steroid hormones and oxytocin.

 

Publications

2014

Top
Peripheral administration of oxytocin increases social affiliation in the naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber).Mooney SJ, Douglas NR, Holmes MM.Horm Behav 2014 Apr;65(4):380-5
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A game of thrones: neural plasticity in mammalian social hierarchies.Mooney SJ, Peragine DE, Hathaway GA, Holmes MM.Soc Neurosci 2014;9(2):108-17
pubmed
Differential effects of chronic fluoxetine on the behavior of dominant and subordinate naked mole-rats.Mongillo DL, Kosyachkova EA, Nguyen TM, Holmes MM.Behav. Brain Res. 2014 Jan;258:119-26
pubmed

2013

Top
Androgen receptor distribution in the social decision-making network of eusocial naked mole-rats.Holmes MM, Van Mil S, Bulkowski C, Goldman SL, Goldman BD, Forger NG.Behav. Brain Res. 2013 Nov;256:214-8
pubmed
Socially regulated reproductive development: analysis of GnRH-1 and kisspeptin neuronal systems in cooperatively breeding naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber).Zhou S, Holmes MM, Forger NG, Goldman BD, Lovern MB, Caraty A, Kalló I, Faulkes CG, Coen CW.J. Comp. Neurol. 2013 Sep;521(13):3003-29
pubmed
Altered anxiety and defensive behaviors in Bax knockout mice.Luedke AC, Boucher PO, Niel L, Holmes MM.Behav. Brain Res. 2013 Feb;239:115-20
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2012

Top
Maintenance of the spinal nucleus of the bulbocavernosus neuromuscular system is not influenced by physiological levels of glucocorticoids.Niel L, Alves PA, Pinzon N, Holmes MM, Lovern MB, Monks DA.Dev Neurobiol 2012 Aug;72(8):1114-21
pubmed

2011

Top
Effects of Bax gene deletion on social behaviors and neural response to olfactory cues in mice.Holmes MM, Niel L, Anyan JJ, Griffith AT, Monks DA, Forger NG.Eur. J. Neurosci. 2011 Nov;34(9):1492-9
pubmed
Social status and sex effects on neural morphology in Damaraland mole-rats, Fukomys damarensis.Anyan JJ, Seney ML, Holley A, Bengston L, Goldman BD, Forger NG, Holmes MM.Brain Behav. Evol. 2011;77(4):291-8
pubmed
Social and hormonal triggers of neural plasticity in naked mole-rats.Holmes MM, Seney ML, Goldman BD, Forger NG.Behav. Brain Res. 2011 Mar;218(1):234-9
pubmed

2009

Top
Sexual dimorphism and hormone responsiveness in the spinal cord of the socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster).Holmes MM, Musa M, Lonstein JS, Monks DA.J. Comp. Neurol. 2009 Sep;516(2):117-24
pubmed
Neuroendocrinology and sexual differentiation in eusocial mammals.Holmes MM, Goldman BD, Goldman SL, Seney ML, Forger NG.Front Neuroendocrinol 2009 Oct;30(4):519-33
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2008

Top
Social status and sex independently influence androgen receptor expression in the eusocial naked mole-rat brain.Holmes MM, Goldman BD, Forger NG.Horm Behav 2008 Aug;54(2):278-85
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2007

Top
Social control of brain morphology in a eusocial mammal.Holmes MM, Rosen GJ, Jordan CL, de Vries GJ, Goldman BD, Forger NG.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2007 Jun;104(25):10548-52
pubmed
Androgen dependent seasonal changes in muscle fiber type in the dewlap neuromuscular system of green anoles.Holmes MM, Bartrem CL, Wade J.Physiol. Behav. 2007 Aug;91(5):601-8
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2005

Top
Sexual differentiation of the copulatory neuromuscular system in green anoles (Anolis carolinensis): normal ontogeny and manipulation of steroid hormones.Holmes MM, Wade J.J. Comp. Neurol. 2005 Sep;489(4):480-90
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Normally occurring intersexuality and testosterone induced plasticity in the copulatory system of adult leopard geckos.Holmes MM, Putz O, Crews D, Wade J.Horm Behav 2005 Apr;47(4):439-45
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2004

Top
Seasonal plasticity in the copulatory neuromuscular system of green anole lizards: a role for testosterone in muscle but not motoneuron morphology.Holmes MM, Wade J.J. Neurobiol. 2004 Jul;60(1):1-11
pubmed
Effects of testosterone on the development of neuromuscular systems and their target tissues involved in courtship and copulation in green anoles (Anolis carolinensis).Lovern MB, Holmes MM, Fuller CO, Wade J.Horm Behav 2004 May;45(5):295-305
pubmed
Adult hippocampal neurogenesis and voluntary running activity: circadian and dose-dependent effects.Holmes MM, Galea LA, Mistlberger RE, Kempermann G.J. Neurosci. Res. 2004 Apr;76(2):216-22
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Characterization of projections from a sexually dimorphic motor nucleus in the spinal cord of adult green anoles.Holmes MM, Wade J.J. Comp. Neurol. 2004 Mar;471(2):180-7
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The green anole (Anolis carolinensis): a reptilian model for laboratory studies of reproductive morphology and behavior.Lovern MB, Holmes MM, Wade J.ILAR J 2004;45(1):54-64
pubmed

2002

Top
Low levels of estradiol facilitate, whereas high levels of estradiol impair, working memory performance on the radial arm maze.Holmes MM, Wide JK, Galea LA.Behav. Neurosci. 2002 Oct;116(5):928-34
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Defensive behavior and hippocampal cell proliferation: differential modulation by naltrexone during stress.Holmes MM, Galea LA.Behav. Neurosci. 2002 Feb;116(1):160-8
pubmed