Skip Navigation

Staff Detail

Skip sharing on social media links


Erard, Amanda

Formal Title:



Field Research Coordinator at the Laboratory for Comparative Ethology, focusing on nonhuman primate behavior and physiology across the lifespan in a naturalistic environment.





Poolesville ,MD 20837



Ph.D.        Neuroscience & Behavior, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA                       2009

M.S.          Neuroscience & Behavior, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA                       2007

B.S.           Zoology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA                                                               2001


Developmental consequences of early life experiences, including stress and maternal care; biomarkers of the emergence of socio-cognitive traits; physiological correlates of brain functioning throughout the lifespan.


NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH/NICHD, Bethesda, MD                                 Present

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, Pittsburgh, PA                                                         2009 – 2012          

NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH/NICHD, Bethesda, MD                                 2007 – 2009

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS, Amherst, MA                                                  2004 – 2007

PITTSBURGH DEVELOPMENT CENTER, Pittsburgh, PA                                       2001 – 2004

INFANT PRIMATE RESEARCH LABORATORY, Seattle, WA                                     1999 – 2001             



NIH Postdoctoral Institutional Research Training Award                                       Present

NIH Individual Postdoctoral NRSA                                                                          2011 – 2012

NIH Institutional Postdoctoral NRSA                                                                      2009 – 2011

NIH Predoctoral Institutional Research Training Award                                     2007 – 2009

NIH Institutional Predoctoral NRSA                                                                        2004 – 2006


University of Pittsburgh Postdoctoral Association (UPPDA) Best Poster Travel Award                2011

National Postdoctoral Association Travel Fellowship Award                                                             2010

American Society of Primatologists’ Annual Student Award Competition                                       2008

Health Emotions Research Institute Travel Fellowship Award                                                         2006 




Featured Items:

View my up-to-date Google Scholar profile External Web Site Policy.

I am particularly interested in the identification of biomarkers for the development of later normal and abnormal processes.  To this end, I am working closely with Drs. Melinda Novak External Web Site Policy and Jerrold Meyer External Web Site Policy the University of Massachusetts at Amherst External Web Site Policy to examine chronic hormones (e.g., cortisol and progesterone) in hair to determine their validity as indicators for maternal and infant health.  Hormone concentrations in hair represent cumulative measures of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and gonadal activity over many months.  We have found that hair cortisol is a reliable predictor of cognitive development as well as anxious behavioral responses to stress in young rhesus monkeys, and that anxious traits measured in early in infancy are heritable.  In adult monkeys, we have found hair cortisol concentrations to be dependent on population density External Web Site Policy and to differ between primiparous and multiparous mothers.  Another burgeoning area of my research, in collaboration with lactation expert Katie Hinde External Web Site Policy at Harvard UniversityExternal Web Site Policy, examines constituents in rhesus monkey mothers' milk in the early postnatal period (first 30 days of life), and the extent to which these factors are influenced by maternal and infant characteristics as well as how these factors influence infant neurological, social, and cognitive development.  


Publications (PubMed):

Physical activity is linked to ceruloplasmin in the striatum of intact but not MPTP-treated primates.
The Integrative Biology of Reproductive Functioning in Nonhuman Primates.
Physiological and behavioral adaptation to relocation stress in differentially reared rhesus monkeys: hair cortisol as a biomarker for anxiety-related responses.
Effects of shampoo and water washing on hair cortisol concentrations.
Hair cortisol predicts object permanence performance in infant rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).
Surrogate mobility and orientation affect the early neurobehavioral development of infant rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).
Growth and developmental outcomes of three high-risk infant rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta).
Sensitivity to stress-induced reproductive dysfunction is associated with a selective but not a generalized increase in activity of the adrenal axis.
Reproductive consequences of a matrilineal overthrow in rhesus monkeys.
Nonhuman primate models of neuropsychiatric disorders: influences of early rearing, genetics, and epigenetics.
Quantitative Genetics of Response to Novelty and Other Stimuli by Infant Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta) Across Three Behavioral Assessments.
Population density-dependent hair cortisol concentrations in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta).
Stress, the HPA axis, and nonhuman primate well-being: A review.
BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research