David Crews, Ashbel Smith Professor of Zoology and Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, has lead research on the development of several areas of reproductive biology, spanning from the evolution of sexual behavior and differentiation, to the effects of endocrine disruptors on the brain and on behavior. His focus on reproductive biology has allowed him to delve into the field of environmental epigenetics, where he has demonstrated that “an individual’s likelihood of developing health problems involves a combination of that individual’s own exposures as well as exposures of ancestors in generations past.” Using a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, which includes environmental, ecological, molecular, physiological, morphological, and cellular levels of analysis, Crews and the Crews Lab study the production of sex differences in mammals. Framing their questions through this interdisciplinary framework allows, as Dr. Crews writes, for them to “illustrate how the causal mechanisms and functional outcomes of reproductive processes operate at each level of biological organization while, at the same time, illuminating the relations among the levels.”
For the implications of Crews’ research on unisexual salamanders, see a write up of his research in Nautilus.
Profile by Winter Rae Schneider