Mission and Goals
The mission of this laboratory is to determine the brain physiology underlying reproductive
behaviors. This has driven Dr. Caldwell since his doctoral work on the role of noradrenergic input
in the control of female sexual behavior and then to his post-doctoral work in the laboratory of
Drs. Arthur Prange and Cort Pedersen at the University of North Carolina studying the role of the
neuropeptide oxytocin in both maternal and female sexual behaviors.
Caldwell’s post-doctoral work led to the discovery that steroids have non-genomic effects on
the oxytocinergic system (Caldwell et al. J. of Neuroendocrinology 11 409, 1999; Caldwell, J.D et
al. Hormone & Metabolic Research 28: 119, 1996). This included the finding that steroids bound
to large proteins, such as estradiol bound to albumin, had effects that free steroids did not have
(Caldwell and Moe,Hormones and Behavior 35: 38, 1999; Caldwell, J. D., et al. Annals of the New York
Acad. Sciences , 814: 282, 1997). This led Dr. Caldwell to wonder if perhaps steroid-binding
globulins, which had recently been found to be made in brain, might mediate important steroid
effects in brain and elsewhere.
That steroid-binding globulins such as sex hormone
binding globulin (SHBG) and corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG) have important physiological and
behavioral effects in the brain has been the focus of Dr. Caldwell’s research in this third
millennium. Please see more about this under the Projects web page.
Areas of research
> The emerging roles of steroid binding globulins in the brain.
control of reproductive behaviors.
> Neurophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease.
> Non-genomic effects of steroids.
> The physiology of aging.