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Elizabeth C. Leininger
Assistant Professor of Neurobiology

Photo of Elizabeth C. Leininger

Departments: Biology
Office: Schaefer Hall 232
Phone: 240-895-2001


B.A. in Biology with Honors, Swarthmore College, 2004
PhD in Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University, 2010

Courses Taught:

  • Principles of Biology
  • Neurobiology
  • Introduction to the Neurosciences
  • Seminar in the Neurosciences

Research Interests

As a neuroethologist, I wish to understand how neural and neuromuscular circuits controlling animal behaviors function, develop, and evolve. Specifically, I research how Xenopus frogs produce their courtship songs. Courtship songs vary across species (and between the sexes within a species) from slow and simple to fast and complex. How has the generally conserved vocal circuit—namely, the hindbrain vocal circuit and the vocal organ itself—evolved to permit this vocal diversity? I use nerve and muscle recordings in the ex vivo "singing" brain and larynx to address this question. I am also interested in the evolution of sex differences in Xenopus songs, particularly the role of developmental processes in shaping male and female song circuits across species.