Blanca Jimeno

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My main research interest is developing interdisciplinary approaches to investigate physiological processes underlying organismal responses to environmental challenge. This is illustrated by my work bringing together endocrinology, metabolism physiology, behavioural ecology, and more recently epigenetics, in free-living and captive birds. I am specially fascinated by the study of the physiological mechanisms by means of which early life experiences “footprint” the organisms for life, determining the function and plasticity of physiological systems, and the capacity to cope.

Glucocorticoid hormones mediate organismal responses to external and internal, perceived or anticipated challenges, and my research focusses on disentangling causes and consequences of the huge variation that these hormones show at different levels (e.g. within- and between- individuals). More specifically, I have worked towards unravelling environmental sources of glucocorticoid (corticosterone) variation, both in the short (e.g. changes in metabolic demands) and in the long term (e.g. early life adversity).

Currently, at the University of Montana, I am focused mainly on two research lines:  I am investigating the role of glucocorticoid hormones as mediators of life history decisions on reproduction vs. self-maintenance in captive zebra finches, and to what extent these associations are affected by resource availability. I also study glucocorticoid variation in free-living tree swallows (at MPG ranch in Florence MT), to better understand the relationships between glucocorticoid regulation, metabolism and reproductive success in the wild.

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