My research is focused on how hormones create sex differences in the nervous system. During mammalian development an initially bi-potential embryo undergoes differentiation to become male or female. This process includes sexual differentiation of the central nervous system, and is driven primarily by steroid hormones produced by the developing gonads. One of the ways that hormones sculpt the developing nervous system is by controlling neuronal cell death. We are studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms whereby hormones control developmental cell death in the brain and spinal cord. We are also examining sexual differentiation of the nervous system in unusual animals such as naked mole-rats and spotted hyenas.
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Effects of Blocking Developmental Cell Death on Sexually Dimorphic Calbindin Cell Groups in the Preoptic Area and Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis (with Richard F. Gilmore and Megan Varnum), Biology of Sex Differences (2012)
Background: Calbindin-D28 has been used as a marker for the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the...