- Ph.D., Lifespan Developmental Science, Florida International University, 2009
- B.A., Psychology, Florida International University, 2000
- B.A., Philosophy, Florida International University, 2000
About Christopher Harshaw
My primary interest is in how homeostatic mechanisms affect cognition and behavior. My current focus is on thermoregulatory deficits in mouse models of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). In particular, it has recently become clear that oxytocinoften considered social hormone par excellencemakes important contributions to thermal homeostasis, including brown adipose tissue thermogenesis. Mice lacking a functional oxytocin gene thus suffer a number of thermoregulatory impairmentsdeficits that may be shared with other mouse models of ASDs. At the same time, it is becoming increasingly clear that findings from mouse models, across the biomedical research landscape, are often highly contingent upon laboratory context, including ambient thermal conditions. My short-term aim is thus to elucidate both (a) the contribution of ambient thermal conditions to social and emotional behavior in standard tests of socio-emotional functioning in mice and (b) the contribution of thermoregulatory deficits, specifically, to dysfunction in mouse models of ASDs, including oxytocin-deficient mice.