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Heather Patisaul, North Carolina State University

Endocrine disruption of the social brain

Research in the Patisaul laboratory focuses on brain and behavioral changes occurring across the puberty transition and seeks to understand how environmental chemicals alter these developmental processes.  Using rodent models, our work focuses on (1) understanding the functional roles different estrogen receptors play in the organization of sexually dimorphic neuroendocrine pathways and behaviors including sexual behavior, anxiety and aggression; (2) exploring the mechanisms by which environmental endocrine disruptors interfere with hormone dependent neuroendocrine organization; and (3) assessing if exposure to environmental endocrine disruptors, such as Bisphenol A (BPA) and soy phytoestrogens, during critical life stages alters the timing of pubertal onset and adult fertility.  Dr. Patisaul served as a science communication fellow for Environmental Health News in 2009 and continues to be active in science journalism, public policy, and science education.