Significant Gender Differences in Genes, Structure and Expression of Brain

This video lecture is a bit long and complex but very important topic and very good research.

Dr. Nirao Shah is interested in understanding the molecular and neural control of instinctual social behaviors. Using mice as a model organism, his lab focuses on dissecting the mechanisms that generate sexually dimorphic behaviors such as mating, aggression, and parental care. Gonadal sex hormones are critical for the appropriate display of these sexually dimorphic behaviors in essentially all vertebrates. Recent data from the Shah lab have revealed the molecular mechanisms that underlie this process whereby estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone control male and female repertoires of behavior.

Dr. Shah will present a novel genetic strategy developed in his lab that permits the targeted ablation of any desired set of neurons. Using this approach, they have identified a small group of neurons in the brain that control sexual behavior in females. These findings have unique translational implications, which bear on the fact that many common neurological and psychiatric conditions in humans such as autism, drug addiction, and Parkinson’s disease are present in sex-skewed ratios.

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