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Hans A. Hofmann

Hofmann, Hans A.
Associate Professor
ICMB Fellow



Main Office: PAT 319 Phone: 512-475-6754

Alternate Office: PAT 317 Phone: 512-475-7318

Mailing Address:
Integrative Biology
1 University Station

Austin,TX 78712

Research Lab Members:
  • Dijkstra, Peter
  • Harris, Rayna
  • Heatherington, Chelsea
  • Maguire, Sean
  • Nugent, Bridget
  • Zheng, Da-Jiang (David)

  • Research Summary:
    The research in Dr. Hofmann's laboratory seeks to understand the molecular and hormonal mechanisms that underlie social behavior and its evolution. African cichlid fishes are an ideal model system to address these questions because of their recent, repeated and rapid radiations that have resulted in hundreds of phenotypically diverse species. Our work uses a broad spectrum of approaches, ranging from ecological studies in the East African Great Lakes to functional genomics using custom-made cDNA microarrays for gene expression profiling in the brain. We also employ hormonal perturbations, neuroanatomical techniques and advanced microscopy, and bioinformatics tools. Although we have been working on a variety of topics in several model systems, current projects focus on two main areas: 1) Identifying genes that are involved in implementing social dominance and sex roles in the Tanganyikan mouthbrooder Astatotilapia burtoni; and 2) a comparative analysis of the ecological and molecular basis and evolution of divergent social organization (monogamy vs. polygamy) in a group of closely related (monophyletic) species, the Ectodini cichlids from Lake Tanganyika. By carefully and systematically querying the brains of these fish, we can use expression profiling to identify the molecular building blocks of complex behavior.

    2012 O’Connell LA, Mitchell MM, Hofmann HA, Crews D, Androgens coordinate neurotransmitter-related gene expression in male whiptail lizards, Genes, Brain, and Behavior in press
    2012 Desjardins JK, Hofmann HA, Fernald RD, Social context influences aggressive and courtship behavior in a cichlid fish, PLoS ONE 7: e32781
    2012 Huffman LS, O’Connell LA, Kenkel CD, Kline RJ, Khan IA, Hofmann HA, Distribution of neuropeptide systems in the brain of an African cichlid fish, Astatotilapia burtoni, Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 44: 86-97
    2012 O’Connell LA, Hofmann HA, Evolution of a social decision-making network in the vertebrate brain, Science 336: 1154-1157
    2012 O’Connell LA, Matthews BJ, Hofmann HA, Isotocin regulates fatherhood in a monogamous cichlid fish, Hormones and Behavior 61: 725–733
    2012 Huffman LS, Mitchell MM, O’Connell LA, Hofmann HA, Rising StARs: Behavioral, hormonal, and molecular responses to social challenge and opportunity, Hormones and Behavior 61: 631–641
    2012 Dijkstra PD, Verzijden MN, Groothuis TGG, Hofmann HA, Divergent hormonal responses to social competition in closely related haplochromine cichlid fish, Hormones and Behavior 61: 518–526
    2012 Renn SCP, Fraser EJ, Aubin-Horth N, Trainer BC, Hofmann HA, Females of an African cichlid fish display male-typical social dominance behavior and elevated androgens in the absence of males, Hormones and Behavior 61: 496–503
    2012 Kidd MR, Duftner N, Koblmüller S, Sturmbauer C, Hofmann HA, Repeated parallel evolution of parental care strategies within Xenotilapia, a genus of cichlid fishes from Lake Tanganyika, PLoS ONE 7: e31236
    2012 O’Connell LA, Hofmann HA, Social status predicts how sex steroid receptors regulate complex behavior across levels of biological organization, Endocrinology 153: 1341-1351
    2011 O'Connell LA, Hofmann, HA, Genes, hormones, and circuits: An integrative approach to study the evolution of social behavior, Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 32: 320–335
    2011 Dijkstra PD, Wiegertjes GF, Forlenza M, Sluijs I, Hofmann HA, Metcalfe NB, Groothuis TG, The role of physiology in the divergence of two incipient cichlid species, Journal of Evolutionary Biology 24: 2639–2652
    2011 Dijkstra PD, Schaafsma S, Hofmann HA, Groothuis T, ‘Winner Effect’ without winning: Unresolved social conflicts increase the probability of winning a subsequent contest in a cichlid fish, Physiology & Behavior 105: 489-492
    2011 O’Connell LA, Hofmann HA, The vertebrate mesolimbic reward system and social behavior network: A comparative synthesis, Journal of Comparative Neurology 519: 3599-3639
    2011 Kline RJ, O’Connell LA, Hofmann HA, Holt GJ, Khan IA, The distribution of an AVT V1a receptor in the brain of a sex changing fish, Epinephelus adscensionis, Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 42: 72-88
    2011 Whitaker KW, Neumeister H, Preuss T, Hofmann HA, Serotonergic modulation of startle-escape plasticity in an African cichlid fish: A single-cell molecular and physiological analysis of a vital neural circuit, Journal of Neurophysiology 106: 127–137
    2011 O’Connell LA, Ding JH, Ryan MJ, Hofmann HA, Neural distribution of the progesterone receptor in the túngara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus, Journal of Chemical Neuroanatomy 41: 137-147
    2011 Oldfield RG, Hofmann HA, Neuropeptide regulation of monogamous behavior in a cichlid fish., Physiology & Behavior 102: 296-303
    2011 O’Connell LA, Fontenot M, Hofmann HA, Characterization of the dopaminergic system in the brain of an African cichlid fish, Astatotilapia burtoni, Journal of Comparative Neurology 519: 75–92
    2010 O’Connell LA, Matthews BJ, Ryan MJ, Hofmann HA, Characterization of the dopamine system in the brain of the túngara frog, Physalaemus pustulosus, Brain, Behavior & Evolution 76: 211-225
    2010 Neumeister H, Whitaker KW, Hofmann HA, Preuss T, Social and ecological regulation of a decision-making circuit, Journal of Neurophysiology 104: 3180-3188
    2010 Carone BR, Fauquier L, Habib N, Shea JM, Hart CE, Li R, Bock C, Li C, Zamore PD, Meissner A, Weng Z, Hofmann HA, Friedman N, Rando OJ , Paternally-induced transgenerational environmental reprogramming of metabolic gene expression in mammals, Cell 143: 1084–1096
    2010 O’Quin KE, Hofmann CM, Hofmann HA, Carleton KL, Natural selection and the convergent evolution of opsin gene expression in African cichlids, Molecular Biology & Evolution 27: 2839–2854
    2010 Hofmann HA, The neuroendocrine action potential. , Hormones & Behavior 58: 555-562
    2010 Hofmann HA, Early developmental patterning sets the stage for brain evolution, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 107: 9919-9920
    2010 Munchrath LA, Hofmann HA, Distribution of androgen, estrogen, and progesterone receptors in the brain of an African cichlid fish, Astatotilapia burtoni, Journal of Comparative Neurology. 518: 3302–3326
    2010 Renn SCP, Machado H, Jones A, Soneji K, Kulathinal RJ, Hofmann HA, Using comparative genomic hybridization to survey genomic sequence divergence across species: A proof-of-concept from Drosophila, BMC Genomics 11: 271 (1-12)
    2010 Kidd C, Kidd MR, Hofmann HA, Measuring multiple hormones from a single water sample using enzyme immunoassays., General & Comparative Endocrinology 165: 277–285 view
    2009 Machado H, Pollen AA, Hofmann HA, Renn SCP, Interspecific profiling of gene expression informed by comparative genomic hybridization: A review and a novel approach in African cichlid fishes., Integrative & Comparative Biology 49: 644 - 659 view
    2009 Aubin-Horth N, Letcher BH, Hofmann HA, Gene-expression signatures of Atlantic salmon’s plastic life cycle, General & Comparative Endocrinology 163: 278-284 view
    2008 Hofmann HA, Shumway CA , Preface: Neurobiological lessons learned from comparative studies: Evolutionary forces shaping brain and behavior., Brain, Behavior & Evolution 72: 89–90
    2008 Renn SCP, Aubin-Horth N, Hofmann HA, Fish & Chips: Functional genomics of social plasticity in an African cichlid fish, Journal of Exp. Biology 211: 3041-3056 view
    2008 Pollen AA, Hofmann HA, Beyond neuroanatomy: Novel approaches to studying brain evolution, Brain, Behavior & Evolution 72: 145–158 view
    2008 Greenwood AK, Wark AR, Fernald RD, Hofmann HA, Arginine vasotocin expression is associated with both dominance and subordinance in an African cichlid fish, Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275: 2393–2402 view
    2008 Salzburger W, Renn SCP, Steinke D, Braasch I, Hofmann HA, Meyer A, Annotation of expressed sequence tags for the East African cichlid fish species Astatotilapia burtoni and evolutionary analyses of cichlid ORFs, BMC Genomics 9: 96 (1-14). view
    2007 Cummings ME, Larkins-Ford J, Reilly CRL, Wong RY, Ramsey M, Hofmann HA , Sexual and social stimuli elicit rapid and contrasting genomic responses, Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275: 393-402 view
    2007 Duftner N, Larkins-Ford J, Legendre M, Hofmann HA , Efficacy of RNA amplification is dependent on sequence characteristics: Implications for gene expression profiling using a cDNA microarray, Genomics 91: 108-117 view
    2007 Shumway CA, Hofmann HA, Dobberfuhl AP, Quantifying habitat complexity in aquatic ecosystems, Freshwater Biology 52: 1065-1076 view
    2007 Trainor BC, Hofmann HA , Somatostatin and somatostatin receptor gene expression in dominant and subordinate cichlid fish., Behavioral Brain Research 179: 314-320 view
    2007 Aubin-Horth N, Desjardins J, Martei Y, Balshine S, Hofmann HA , Masculinized dominant females in a cooperatively breeding species, Molecular Ecology 16: 1349–1358 view
    2007 Pollen AA, Dobberfuhl AP, Scace J, Igulu MM, Renn SCP, Shumway CA, Hofmann HA, Environmental complexity and social organization sculpt the brain in Lake Tanganyikan cichlid fish., Brain, Behavior & Evolution 70: 21–39 view
    2006 Hofmann HA, GnRH signaling in behavioral plasticity, Current Opinion in Neurobiology 16: 343-350 view
    2006 Trainor BC, Hofmann HA, Somatostatin regulates aggressive behavior in an African cichlid fish, Endocrinology 147: 5119–5125 view
    2005 Aubin-Horth N, Letcher BH, Hofmann HA , Interaction of rearing environment and reproductive tactic on gene expression profiles in Atlantic Salmon, Journal of Heredity 96: 261-278 view
    2005 Aubin-Horth N, Landry CR, Letcher BH, Hofmann HA, Alternative life-histories shape different brain gene expression profiles in males of the same population., Proceedings of the Royal Society B 272: 1655–1662 view
    2004 Renn SCP, Aubin-Horth N, Hofmann HA, Biologically meaningful expression profiling across species using heterologous hybridization to a cDNA microarray. , BMC Genomics, 5: 42(1-13) view
    2003 Hofmann HA, Functional Genomics of Neural and Behavioral Plasticity, Journal of Neurobiology 54: 272-282 view
    2001 Hofmann HA, Fernald RD , What cichlids tell us about the social regulation of brain and behavior., Journal of Aquariculture and Aquatic Sciences 9: 17-31 view
    2001 Hofmann HA, Schildberger K, Assessment of strength and willingness to fight during aggressive encounters in crickets, Animal Behaviour 62: 337-348 view
    2000 Hofmann HA, Stevenson PA , Flight restores fight in crickets., Nature 403: 613 view
    2000 Stevenson PA, Hofmann HA, Schoch K, Schildberger K, The fight and flight responses of crickets depleted of biogenic amines., Journal of Neurobiology 43: 107-120 view
    2000 Hofmann HA, Fernald RD , Social status controls somatostatin-neuron size and growth, Journal of Neuroscience 20: 1248-1252 view
    1999 Hofmann HA, Benson ME, Fernald RD , Social status regulates growth rate: Consequences for life-history strategies., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 95: 14171-14176 view
    1996 Hofmann HA, The history of Chinese cricket fighting: A contribution not only to the history of biology, Biologisches Zentralblatt 18: 208-213