Stern, Judith M.
Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1970
Department of Psychology, School of Arts and Sciences, New Brunswick; Rutgers
Areas of Interest
Physiological Bases of Reproductive Behavior, especially Sensory, Neural, and Endocrine Mechanisms Involved in the Control of Maternal Behavior.
Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience.
Memberships and Professional Service
Fellow, International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, 1994; President-elect, President, Immediate Past President, International Society for Developmental Psychobiology, 1991-1994; Member, International Society for Developmental Psychobiology; New York Academy of Sciences; Sigma Xi; Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology; and the Society for Neurosciences.
Grants, Honors, and Awards
Co-Principal Investigator, Busch Bequest Grant, "Mesotelencephalic dopamine and maternal behavior," 1999-2001; Editorial board member, Developmental Psychobiology, 2000; National Institute of Mental Health, Predoctoral Fellow, 1965-1969.
Academic Interests and Plans
The dynamic, moment-to-moment mother-young interaction that leads to a nursing episode, culminating in milk transfer, was delineated in my laboratory in a long series of studies. This interplay is dependent upon somatosensory reflexes in the mother and her pups. Using this knowledge, we went on to reveal, with visualization of the immediate-early gene, c-fos, the many brain sites active during maternal behavior. In a study at UCSF Medical School, my collaborators and I showed that the representation of the nipple-bearing part of the ratís ventrum in the somatosensory cortex doubles in size during lactation. This finding is likely indicative of many other brain changes that occur during the parenting experience. Thus, the neural mechanisms underlying maternal behavior vary from reflexive components to cortical plasticity.
My decades-long teaching of sex and gender has led to my current research interests. In the Fall of 2006 I launched a new study on emotional, psychological, and physical abuse in dating relationships among Rutgers undergraduates.