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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. Hormonal stimulation and paternal experience influence responsiveness to infant distress vocalizations by adult male common marmosets, Callithrix jacchus. Horm Behav. 2016 Feb;78:13-9.

Ziegler TE, Crockford C. Neuroendocrine control in social relationships in non-human primates: Field based evidence. Horm Behav. 2017 May;91:107-121.

Ziegler TE, Sosa ME, Colman RJ. Fathering style influences health outcome in common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) offspring. PLoS One. 2017 Sep 28;12(9).

Riesche L, Tardif SD, Ross CN, deMartelly VA, Ziegler T, Rutherford JN. The Common Marmoset Monkey: Avenues for Exploring the Prenatal, Placental and Postnatal Mechanisms in Developmental Programming of Pediatric Obesity. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. Epub 2018 Feb 7.

Ziegler TEMeasuring peripheral oxytocin and vasopressin in nonhuman primates. Am J Primatol. Epub 2018 May 14.

Kapoor A, Schultz-Darken N, Ziegler TERadiolabel validation of cortisol in the hair of rhesus monkeys. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Epub 2018 Jul 19;97:190-195.

Strier KB, Ziegler TEFrom the field to the lab: Muriqui endocrinology from a collaborative perspective. Epub Am J Primatol. 2018 Oct 30.

Ziegler TE, Kapoor A, Binkley NC, Rice KS, Rogers J, Jolly CJ, Phillips-Conroy JE. Comparison of vitamin D metabolites in wild and captive baboons. Am J Primatol. 2018 Dec;80(12).