Matthew Fuxjager

Assistant Professor of Biology

PhD, Zoology; University of Wisconsin, Madison
MS, Biology; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
BS, Neuroscience; Pomona College

206 Winston Hall
Phone: (336) 758-5481
Email: fuxjagmj at

Laboratory Website

Research Interests

I study the physiological mechanisms of complex social behavior and how evolution shapes these mechanisms to influence species variation in social traits. My research mainly focuses on the interplay between sex steroids and behavior. I am currently using birds to pursue this line of work, including tropical birds (manakins) that perform acrobatic courtship displays and temperate birds (woodpeckers) here in North Carolina that vigorously defend territories. However, I have very broad interests in the endocrine basis of behavior and am comfortable working in a range of vertebrate models. My research program overall is quite integrative, combining concepts and techniques from the fields of physiology, neurobiology, ethology, and evolution.

Recent Publications

‡Denotes undergraduate co-author

Mangiamele, L.A.*, Fuxjager, M.J.*, Schuppe, E.R.§, Taylor, R.S., Hödl, W., and Preininger, D. (2016). Increased androgenic sensitivity in the hind limb muscular system marks the evolution of a derived gestural display. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 113: 5664-5669. *Authors contributed equally to this work (cover article)

Schuppe, E.R.§, Sanin, G.D., and Fuxjager, M.J. (2016). The social context of a territorial dispute differentially influences the way individuals in breeding pairs coordinate their aggressive tactics. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 70: 673-682.

Fuxjager, M.J., Goller, F. Dirkse, A., Sanin, G.D., and Garcia, S. (2016). Select forelimb muscles have evolved superfast contractile speed to support acrobatic social displays. eLife. 5:e13544.

Fuxjager, M.J., Lee, J., Chan, T., Bahn, J. Chew, J., Xiao, X., and Schlinger, B.A. (2016). Hormones, genes and athleticism: effect of androgens on the avian muscular transcriptome. Molecular Endocrinology. 30: 254-271

Fuxjager, M.J. and Schlinger, B.A. (2015). Perspectives on the evolution of animal dancing: a case study of manakins. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. 6: 7-12

Fuxjager, M.J., Eaton, J.., Lindsay, W.R., Salwiczek, L.H., Rensel, M.A., Barske, J., Sorenson, L., Day, L.B., Schlinger, B.A. (2015). Evolutionary patterns of adaptive acrobatics and physical performance predict expression profiles of androgen receptor – but not estrogen receptor – in the forelimb musculature. Functional Ecology. 29: 1197-1208.