Matthew Paul


Matthew Paul.

Matthew Paul


Matthew Paul


Research Interests

Neuroendocrine regulation of reproductive and social development; biological rhythms; sex differences

Contact Information

319 Hochstetter Hall

Buffalo NY, 14260-4110

Phone: (716) 645-0281


  • PhD, University of California - Berkeley

Current Research

The overall goal of research in my laboratory is to understand how behavior is shaped by the interplay of the brain, hormones, and the environment. Current projects fall under one of two themes:

  1. Sex differences in neuropeptide regulation of adolescent social development. Adolescence comprises the formative years during which individuals reach sexual maturity and develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills necessary to assume adult status in the community. Many sex differences in the brain and behavior arise during this period, including sex differences in susceptibility, onset, and severity of neuropsychiatric and behavioral disorders (e.g. autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). My laboratory seeks to understand the underlying roots of these sex differences by studying the role of neuropeptides (e.g. vasopressin and oxytocin) and pubertal hormones in the development of social behaviors. Typical behaviors we study include social play behavior and ultrasonic vocalizations of rats and hamsters.
  2. Impact of the social environment on biological rhythms. Social cues enable animals to synchronize their behaviors to achieve common goals or to avoid each other to lessen competition for resources. The mechanisms by which these cues impact behavioral timing are not understood. We track individual locomotor activity and body temperature rhythms of group-housed mice and hamsters to understand the role of the circadian system in the temporal organization of animal couples and communities.

Selected Publications

  • Schatz KC, Brown LM, Barrett AR, Roth LC, Grinevich V, and Paul MJ (2019). Viral rescue of magnocellular vasopressin cells in adolescent Brattleboro rats ameliorates diabetes insipidus, but not the hypoaroused phenotype. Scientific Reports 9: article number 8243. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44776-1
  • Schatz KC, Martin CD, Ishiwari K, George AM, Richards JB, and Paul MJ (2019). Mutation in the vasopressin gene eliminates the sex difference in social reinforcement in adolescent rats. Physiology & Behavior 206:125-133. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2019.04.004
  • Surbhi, Schatz KC, Kyne RF, Nelson RJ, and Paul MJ (2019). Photoperiod regulates hypothalamic miR-155 gene expression in female, but not male, Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus). Behavioral Neuroscience 133(2):240-246. DOI: 10.1037/bne0000296
  • Schatz KC, Kyne RF, Parmeter SL, and Paul MJ (2018). Investigation of social, affective, and locomotor behavior of adolescent Brattleboro rats reveals a link between vasopressin's actions on arousal and social behavior. Hormones and Behavior 106:1-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2018.08.015
  • Paul MJ, Probst CK, Brown LM, and De Vries GJ (2018). Dissociation of puberty and adolescent social development in a seasonally breeding species. Current Biology 28(7):1116-1123. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.02.030.
  • Fields CT, Chassaing B, Paul MJ, Gewirtz AT, and De Vries GJ (2018). Vasopressin deletion is associated with sex-specific shifts in the gut microbiome. Gut Microbes 9(1):13-25. DOI: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1356557
  • Walker DM, Bell MR, Flores C, Gulley JM, Willing J, and Paul MJ (2017). Adolescence and reward: Making sense of neural and behavioral changes amid the chaos. Journal of Neuroscience 37:10855-10866. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1834-17.2017
  • Ruby NF, Fisher N, Patton D, Paul MJ, Fernandez F, and Heller HC (2017). Scheduled feeding restores memory in a rodent model of circadian arrhythmia. Scientific Reports 7: article number 6755. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-06963-w
  • Paul MJ, Peters NV, Holder MK, Kim AM, Whylings J, Terranova JI, and De Vries GJ (2016). Atypical social development in vasopressin-deficient Brattleboro rats. eNeuro 3(2): ENEURO.0150-15.2016. DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0150-15.2016
  • Paul MJ, Indic P, and Schwartz WJ (2015). Social synchronization of circadian rhythmicity in female mice depends on the number of cohabiting animals. Biology Letters 11(6): article number 20150204. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0204
  • Jarjisian SG, Butler MP, Paul MJ, Place NJ, Prendergast BJ, Kriegsfeld LJ, and Zucker I (2015). Dorsomedial hypothalamic lesions counteract decreases in locomotor activity in male Syrian hamsters transferred from long to short day lengths. Journal of Biological Rhythms 30:42-52. DOI: 10.1177/0748730414561546
  • Paul MJ, Terranova JI, Probst CK, Peters NV, Murray EK, Ismail NI, Kim AM, Shah CR, and De Vries GJ (2014). Sexually dimorphic role for vasopressin in the development of social play behavior. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 8: article number 5. DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00058
  • Paul MJ, Indic P, and Schwartz WJ (2014).  Social forces can impact the circadian clocks of cohabiting hamsters. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 281(1779): article number 20132535. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2535
  • De Vries GJ, Fields CT, Peters NV, Whylings J, and Paul MJ (2014). Sensitive periods for hormonal programming of the brain. Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences 16:79-108. DOI: 10.1007/7854_2014_286
  • Taylor PVG, Veenema AH, Paul MJ, Bredewold R, Isaacs S, and De Vries GJ (2012). Sexually dimorphic effects of a prenatal immune challenge on social play and vasopressin expression in juvenile rats. Biology of Sex Differences 3(1): article number 15. DOI: 10.1186/2042-6410-3-15