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University of Wisconsin–Madison
Wisconsin National Primate Research Center
A legacy of life-saving research and humane animal care

Toni E. Ziegler, PHD

Distinguished Scientist


Wisconsin National Primate Research Center

Contact Information

Toni Ziegler’s email

Curriculum Vitae

Toni Ziegler’s Curriculum Vitae

Other web pages

WNPRC Assay Services Unit

Aligned research focus

Neuroendocrine mechanisms promoting positive social bonding

Organ system/disease focus

Neuroendocrine interactions in the pituitary, hypothalamus and other areas of the social brain

Research description

Fathers who show positive involvement in their children have the potential to improve the physical and mental health of their child. The social attachment processes between a male, his mate and offspring converge to form the family system. My goal is to determine what promotes strong paternal-infant bonding. The common marmoset monkey, Callithrix jacchus, provides a model of social bonding in primates since its members are socially monogamous and cooperative breeders, as are humans. My lab has found pre-birth and post-birth changes in fathers due to olfactory signals from infants as well as from the expectant mate. Increased weight gain in expectant fathers and increased maternal-like hormones work to promote positive care of infants. Sensory cues from infants reinforce the positive infant care in males. The chemical/olfactory communication in marmosets provides an important mechanism for maintaining the bonds between individuals with their family groups. Experience with offspring has a profound effect on behavior and hormonal changes in male marmosets. Additional areas of study include social bonding in humans and other nonhuman primate species, and developing biomarkers for studies of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and implications of dietary fats in common marmosets.

Selected references

Ziegler TE, Sosa ME. 2016. Hormonal stimulation and paternal experience influence responsiveness by adult male common marmosets to infant distress vocalizations. Hormones and Behavior. 78:13-19.

Storey AE, Ziegler TE. 2016. Primate paternal care: interactions between biology and experience. Hormones and Behavior. 77:260-271.

Finkenwirth, C, van Schaik, C, Ziegler, TE, Burkart, JM. 2015. Strongly bonded family members in common marmosets show synchronized fluctuations in oxytocin. Physiology & Behavior. 151: 246-251.

Ziegler TE, Kapoor A, Hedman CJ, Binkley NC, Kemnitz JW. 2015. Measurement of 25-hydroxyvitamin D2&3 and 1,25- dihydroxyvitamin D2&3 by Tamdem Mass Spectrometry: A Primate Multispecies Comparison. American Journal of Primatology. 77:801-810.

Sanchez SM, Ziegler TE, Snowdon CT. 2014. Both parents respond equally to infant cues in the cooperatively breeding common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Animal Behaviour. 97:95-103.

Crockford C, Deschner T., Ziegler TE, Witting RM. 2014. The contribution of endogenous peripheral oxytocin measures to understanding the dynamics of social relationships: a review. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, published online March 11.