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Jill B. Becker, PhD
In addition to her role at Biology of Sex Differences, Jill Becker is a Research Professor at the Michigan Neuroscience Institute, Patricia Y. Gurin Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Chair of Biopsychology in the Department of Psychology, Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry, Senior Scholar in the Neuroscience Program, and in the Reproductive Sciences Program.
Jill Becker, PhD, has been studying sex differences in and sexual differentiation of the neural systems mediating drug abuse and motivation for over thirty years. Dr. Becker’s early research laid the groundwork for these studies by demonstrating that there is a sex difference in dopamine release from the striatum, this sex difference is affected by neonatal and adolescent hormone manipulations and that estradiol modulates the release of dopamine in the striatum of female rats. Her research has gone on to elucidate the mechanisms mediating the rapid and direct effect of estradiol on the striatum of females. Experiments in the laboratory investigate the effects of psychomotor stimulants on behavior in rat and how ovarian hormones act in the brain to influence drug taking behaviors. More recently, Dr. Becker has been studying the neural mechanisms mediating sex differences in preference for cocaine and cocaine-taking behavior in the laboratory rat. Her lab is also investigating the mechanisms mediating the effect of estradiol to change a female rat’s motivation for food to motivation for a mate. Methods employed include in vivo microdialysis and fast scan cyclic voltammetry as well as drug self-administration and operant conditioning paradigms. In all experimental programs they seek to tie the behavioral measures to underlying neurobiological mechanisms. The findings from Dr. Becker’s basic research parallel well what is reported in the clinical literature, for example, women accelerate drug taking more rapidly than do men. Her laboratory is currently funded by grants from the NIH and NSF.
Robert W. Downs, Jr., MD
In addition to his role at Journal of Women’s Health, Robert W. Downs is Professor Emeritus, Internal Medicine/Endocrinology at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Deputy Editor of Women’s Health Reports, and Chair on the Virginia Commonwealth Health Research Board.
Dr. Downs received his M.D. degree from Duke University in 1974, and received training in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis and in Endocrinology at the National Institutes of Health. He joined the faculty of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in 1983, and was active in research on treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis. He retired from VCU and active practice in 2013. He now serves as Deputy Editor of the Journal of Women’s Health and its sister online open access journal (Women’s Health Reports) and as the Chair of Virginia’s Commonwealth Health Research Board.
Sowmya Swaminathan, PhD
In addition to her collaborations role at Springer Nature, Sowmya Swaminathan is also Chair of Springer Nature’s Research & Solutions DEI Programme.
Sowmya Swaminathan, PhD, is Head of Collaborations for Springer Nature and Chair of Springer Nature’s Research & Solutions DEI Programme and a member of the Springer Nature DEI Council. She represents Springer Nature in multiple community and industry forums and collaborations in the areas of inclusion, open research and integrity in scholarly publishing. She was previously Head of Editorial Policy & Research Integrity for Nature Portfolio where she was responsible for editorial policy development, including policies and initiatives that advance transparency, integrity, open research practices and inclusion in scholarly publishing.
Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH
In addition to her role at Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Melissa A. Simon is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Preventive Medicine and Medical Social Sciences and works at both the Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Melissa A. Simon, MD, MPH, is the George H. Gardner Professor of Clinical Gynecology, Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She is also the Founder and Director of the Center for Health Equity Transformation and the Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative. She serves as the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement. She is an expert in implementation science, women’s health across the lifespan, minority health, community engagement and health equity. She has been recognized with numerous awards for her substantial contribution to excellence in health equity scholarship, women’s health and mentorship, including her recent election to the National Academy of Medicine and the Association of American Physicians. She has received the Presidential Award in Excellence in Science Mathematics and Engineering Mentorship and is a Presidential Leadership Scholar. She is a former member of the US Preventive Services Task Force and currently serves on the CDC Community Preventive Services Task Force and the NIH Office of Research in Women’s Health Advisory Committee.