During infection, animals undergo stereotyped behavioral and physiological changes that promote survival. These changes, which include social withdrawal, anorexia, and fever, are mediated by inflammatory signals produced in response to infection or injury. The mechanisms by which inflammation influences neuronal circuits that underlie these behavioral changes are largely unknown.
As an HHMI Hanna H. Gray postdoctoral fellow in Catherine Dulac’s lab, Zuri Sullivan is studying how different inflammatory states influence social behavior in mice. Using models of acute and chronic inflammation, she is investigating how immunologic signals influence social behavior and corresponding neuronal circuits in the hypothalamus. This work aims to provide insight into the biology of protective and pathologic inflammatory states, and the mechanisms by which these states influence animal behavior.
Zuri earned her PhD in Immunobiology in Ruslan Medzhitov’s lab at Yale University, where she discovered a novel role for intestinal immune cells in regulating tissue adaptation to diet, and earned her AB as an MCB concentrator at Harvard College. Outside the lab, she is passionate about science communication, outreach, and increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.