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"Studying Both Sexes in a World Built Around the Male Brain"

Rebecca Shansky, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Northeastern University

Men are simple and women are complicated is one of the most ingrained myths about the human psyche. This concept continues to influence how society views women more than a century later, as well as how biomedical professionals conduct animal studies. In preclinical neuroscience research, male rodents have traditionally served as the standard model organism. This practice has likely led to increased rates of misdiagnosis and unfavorable pharmacological side effects in women. Using mouse models, Dr. Rebecca Shansky's research examines sexual dimorphism in the fear circuitry. To find sex-specific patterns of fear expression, learning, and structural plasticity, Shansky's team combines complex behavioral analysis with high-resolution fluorescence microscopy. In her presentation, Dr. Shanksky will talk about the difficulties and surprises she's faced as a behavioral neuroscientist who focuses on sex differences, as well as her current advocacy for sex equity in animal research.

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  • Alexandra de Montrichard

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