Dr. Haruka Wada served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Hopkins Lab from 2007-2009. Dr. Wada’s major interests included the effects of pre-, peri- and post-natal environments on animal physiology, especially on their endocrine functions. She was particularly interested in latent or permanent effects of maternal physiology and behavior as well as exposures to toxicants on offspring’s endocrine functions and fitness.
Dr. Wada received her B.S. in Zoology from the University of Washington, where she first became fascinated by endocrinology through projects with Drs. John Wingfield and Marilyn Romanofsky, and her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin under Dr. Creagh Breuner. During her graduate work, she investigated: (1) the ontogeny of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in altricial avian young (adrenocortical response, responses to ACTH challenge, and brain intracellular receptor levels), (2) the effects of acute and moderate corticosterone elevation on nestlings’ behavior and growth, and (3) how individual variation in plasma corticosterone levels as nestlings and/or adults correlated with individual variation in reproductive performance later in life.
In the Hopkins Lab, Dr. Wada explored how a toxicant, mercury, can alter endocrine and/or immune functions in vertebrates. Specifically, she examined the effects of mercury exposure on endocrine and immune functions in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) nestlings and adults, as well as the interaction between mercury exposure and additional stress, namely increased parental effort and sibling competition.
From the Hopkins Lab, Dr. Haruka transitioned to the University of Western Ontario where she completed a second postdoctoral position. She is now an Assistant Professor at Auburn University. Her research examines how maternal cues and nutritional, social, and toxicological stress alter developmental trajectory, and physiological and behavioral traits in birds.