Dr. Fernald's research is focused on understanding the mechanisms through which social change is transduced into cellular and molecular change.
Dr. Fernald's laboratory studies the social experience influence on the brain. Male Haplochromis burtoni change social and reproductive state based on their social environment and many physiological changes result from changes in social status. Their research is focused on understanding the mechanisms through which social change is transduced into cellular and molecular changes. They use techniques from behavioral observation to molecular probes to discover how the brain is influenced by social change.
Also, they study the retinal progenitor cell division and differentiation controlled. The eyes of teleost fish continue to grow throughout life, and new cells are continually added to the functional retina. They are using this model system to determine what extrinsic and intrinsic signals influence the fate of retinal progenitors, particularly rod progenitors.