There is much to learn about the biology underlying sex and gender development, and how sex differences result in higher or lower incidences of disease and responses to treatments. Check these links to learn about WashU investigators who study sex differences, published findings, and additional resources related to sex and gender.

Research Spotlight

Tychele Turner, PhD
WashU Genetics


  • Assigned sex: determination made at a person’s birth based on an infant’s anatomy and/or sex chromosomes.
  • Cisgender: when one’s gender identity and assigned sex coincide with societal norms (e.g., man and male).
  • Gender identity: a label used to describe one’s identity within a given society’s understanding of gender.
  • Nonbinary: a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender categories but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of genders. Related terms include genderqueer, gender fluid, and more.
  • Transgender: when gender identity and sex do not coincide with societal norms.

*from Rubin JD, Atwood S, Olson KR, “Studying Gender Diversity” (2020), Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Publications from WashU authors

A comprehensive assay of social motivation reveals sex-differential roles of ASC-associated genes and oxytocin

Maloney SE, Sarafinovska S, Weichselbaum C, McCullough KB, Swift RG, Liu Y, Dougherty JD (2022) bioRxiv

A comprehensive assay of social motivation reveals sex-specific roles of autism-associated genes and oxytocin

Maloney SE, Sarafinovska S, Weichselbaum C, McCullough KB, Swift RG, Liu Y, Dougherty JD. (2023) Cell Reports Methods

A prospective examination of sex differences in posttraumatic autonomic functioning

Seligowski AV, Steuber ER, Hinrichs R, Reda MH, Wiltshire CN, Wanna CP, Winters SJ, Phillips KA, House SL, Beaudoin F:, An X, Stevens JS, Zeng D, Neylan TC, Clifford GD, Linnstaedt SD, Germine LT, Bollen KA, Guffanti G, Rauch SL, Haran JP, Storrow AB, Lewandowski C, Musey Jr PI, Hendry PL, Sheikh S, Jones CW, Punches BE, Kurz MC, Murty VP, McGrath ME, Hudak LA, Pascual JL, Seamon MJ, Datner EM, Chang AM, Pearson C, Peak DA, Merchant RC, Domeier RM, Rathlev NK, O’Neil BJ, Sanchez LD, Bruce SE, Miller MW, Pietrzak RH, Joormann J, Barch DM, Pizzagalli DA, Sheridan JF, Luna B, Harte SE, Elliott JM, Koenen KC, Kessler RC, McLean SA, Ressler KJ, Tanja Jovanovic T (2021), Neurobiology of Stress


National Academies Consensus Study Report

Commentaries on sex and gender in neuroscience research

From the 2019 Transgender Spectrum Conference