for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology and Addiction


My research examines the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying sex-specific
behaviors and how perturbations during adolescent development disrupt these
behaviors. In many species, sex differences in behavior are necessary for the
perpetuation of the of the species and disruptions of such behaviors during adolescent
development can have profound effects on sex-specific behaviors associated with
natural reward and motivation (e.g. copulation, aggression, social interaction). In
humans, the adolescent period is associated with the emergence of psychiatric
disorders involved in motivation and reward including mood and substance use
disorders, both of which display substantial sex differences in their prevalence and
presentation. By understanding how the brain develops during adolescence, how
environmental factors influence that development and how these experiences results in
long-term alterations in behavior, my research seeks to identify sensitive windows for
intervention and develop novel therapeutics for all vulnerable populations.

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