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Prof Melissa Hines
Professor of Psychology, Director of Graduate Education, and Fellow at Churchill College
Research focus: Hormonal influences on human neural and behavioural development across the lifespan, and interactions between hormones and experience in shaping behaviour. Specific questions being addressed in the lab include how hormone levels during foetal development influence children’s sex-typed toy, playmate and activity preferences; whether children’s cognitive understanding of gender mediates hormonal influences on behavior; how to optimise psychological well being in individuals exposed to atypical hormone environments prenatally, because they have disorders of sex development (DSD).

Dr Carlo Acerini
Senior Lecturer at Department of Paediatrics, and Honorary Consultant Paediatrician in Endocrinology & Diabetes at Addenbrooke's Hospital
Research focus: The pathophysiology of diabetes and its complications, and the development of new treatment strategies for the management of childhood and adolescence type 1 diabetes; the genetic and environmental determinants of size at birth, post natal growth and risks for future cardio-metabolic disease; hormone-gene-environment interactions and their impact on human reproductive tract development, brain development and behaviour; and the treatment adherence paradigm - factors affecting adherence patterns and behaviours.

Dr Vickie Pasterski
Affiliated Lecturer
0207 467 8325
Research focus: Pre/perinatal hormone influences on later gender-related behaviour and gender identity; surgical outcomes and psychosexual functioning in disorders of sex development; parental experience of receiving pre- versus post-natal diagnosis of a disorder of sex development; evolution of non-binary gender identities and overlap between autistic traits and gender-related dysphoria. 

Dr Debra Spencer
Research Associate and Affiliated Lecturer
Research focus: Current research interests include studying how individual and family factors, together with factors related to the wider social environment, influence the use of physically aggressive behaviour in children; developing effective research designs for studying how prenatal influences, e.g., gonadal hormones, interact with postnatal experience to shape brain development and behaviour; and optimizing psychological well being in individuals exposed prenatally to atypical hormone environments. I am also currently managing the Cambridge Brain and Behaviour Study (CamBABS), a five-year project designed to assess sex/gender differences in brain structure and behaviour.

Dr Rieko Tadokoro Cuccaro
Research assistant
Working in the Department of Paediatrics at CUH Addenbrooke's Hospital on the Cambridge Brain and Behaviour Study (CamBABS), assisting with patient recruitment.

Dr Miha Constantinescu
Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Psychology
Research focus: Cognitive development in early infancy and gender development. Currently, I am trying to understand why certain cognitive traits show sex differences early in life which then tend to remain stable despite changes in social attitudes. In my PhD and in recent published work, I examined some of the underlying causes of sex differences in mental rotation, focusing on hormonal and parental contributions to infants' mental rotation abilities.

Ellen Robertson
PhD candidate
Research focus: In rural, northern Albania there remains a highly respected tradition whereby women can live as men. The original purpose of this custom was so that these “sworn virgins” could become the leader and inheritor of their family in the absence of male relatives, since strict traditional gender norms would not allow a typical woman to take on these roles. These sworn virgins adopt masculine dress, manner, roles, and status, while swearing to never marry or have children. Seeing as sworn virgins do not undergo any physical changes when they begin to live as men, their life experiences provide an opportunity to better understand the effects of socialisation and identity on gendered behaviour. In my research, I conduct interviews and surveys with these sworn virgins and other members of their community in order to investigate socio-cognitive aspects of gender. In this process I draw on perspectives such as social role theory, essentialist beliefs theory, and system justification theory.

Karly Drabot
PhD student
Marta Beneda
PhD candidate
Jac profile pic.jpg
Jac Davis
PhD student
Research focus: Cross-cultural experimental psychology, mechanisms of gender development, complex and dynamic systems in child development, meta-analysis and research synthesis methods.

Tim Kung
Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Psychology
Research focus: Organising effects of early androgen exposure on gender-related psychopathology; antecedents, correlates, and sequels of childhood gender typicality; well-being of sexual orientation minorities, transgender people, and individuals with intersex conditions; and gender similarities and differences.
Beth Stevens
Study Co-ordinator
Co-ordinating and scheduling participants for the CamBABS study – for more information and to register your interest, click here.

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Listen to Debra Spencer on BBC Radio 4's 'Bringing Up Britain'

Jul 30, 2018

Dr Debra Spencer, Research Associate and Affiliated Lecturer in the GDRC, appeared in BBC Radio 4's 'Bringing Up Britain' programme, discussing aggression in children.

Jac Davis publishes blog post on LD4D 'Livestock data for decisions' web page

Jul 03, 2018

Jac Davis, PhD candidate in the GDRC, published a blog post on the Livestock data for decisions web page titled 'Integrating gender into livestock projects: How data can help'.

New publication on 'Sex differences in associations between spatial ability and corpus callosum morphology' published in Journal of Neuroscience Research

Jun 18, 2018

The GDRC's Dr Debra Spencer and Prof Melissa Hines have a paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research on 'Sex differences in associations between spatial ability and corpus callosum morphology'.

Ellen Robertson (PhD candidate) presents a talk as part of the SDP seminar series

May 30, 2018

Ellen Robertson, PhD candidate in the GDRC, presented a talk on her research 'Social representations of women who live as men in northern Albania' as part of the Social and Developmental Psychology seminar series.

PhD candidate Marta Beneda wins second prize in British Psychological Society poster competition

May 24, 2018

Marta Beneda, PhD candidate in the GDRC, attended the British Psychological Society's annual conference, 02-04 May 2018. She won second prize in the poster competition for her poster on 'Do infants prefer dolls of the same sex? Sex-typical toy preferences in Poland and in the UK'.

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