Given our lifespan approach to the study of sex differences, the work of the laboratory can be described as population-level neuroscience. The research team consists of an interdisciplinary team of investigators, integrating epidemiology, structural and functional magnetic resonance and diffusion tensor imaging (i.e., sMRI, fMRI and DTI), psychophysiology (e.g., heart rate/autonomic nervous system indicators), hormones, genes, and immune activation biomarkers. We collaborate with basic neuroscientists investigating steroid hormones, genes, immune pathways, and the brain. Functional domains of interest include the stress response circuitry (mood and anxiety), aging of the memory circuitry (including long-term memory and working memory), and reward circuitry implicated in the neural circuitry of obesity, food motivation and energy balance. Current NIH-funded projects investigate these brain circuitries in schizophrenia, affective psychoses, depression and its comorbidity with cardiovascular disease, obesity and metabolic disturbance, anorexia nervosa, and in healthy individuals. Included in this work, Goldstein and colleagues have been following a prenatal cohort over the last 20 years (initiated in 1959-1966 following pregnant mothers and their offspring for 7 years), allowing us to re-recruit offspring as 50-year old adults and study in vivo the fetal programming of sex differences in adult onset diseases. The work is contributing to understanding the nature of psychiatric disorders, the impact of one's sex, and normal properties of the male and female brain in the face of disease.

Topics of Study

Lab Members


  • Harvard Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine
    Brigham & Women's Hospital & Massachusetts General Hospital
    • Shalender Bhasin, M.D.
    • Philip De Jager, M.D., Ph.D.
    • Ursula Kaiser, M.D.
    • Anne Klibanski, M.D.
    • Nikos Makris, M.D., Ph.D.
    • Diego Pizzagalli, Ph.D.
    • Larry J. Seidman, Ph.D.
    • Martha Shenton, Ph.D.
    • Jordan Smoller, M.D., Sc.D.
    • Arielle Stanford, M.D.
    • Emily Stern, M.D.

  • Other Institutions
    • Stephen L. Buka, Sc.D., Brown University
    • Stephen Gilman, Sc.D. Harvard School of Public Health
    • Robert Handa, Ph.D., University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix
    • Mady Hornig, M.D., M.A., Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons
    • Richard Sloan, Ph.D. Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons
    • Dick Swaab, M.D., Ph.D., University of Amsterdam Medical School
    • Stuart Tobet, Ph.D., Colorado State University
    • Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, Ph.D., Dept. of COS and Brain, Massachusetts Institute of Technology