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Lecture Series to Focus on Gender Issues in Science, Medicine

Lise Eliot

Dr. Lise Eliot will present Sex, Brain and Culture: The Science and Pseudoscience of Gender Difference at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Jonsson Performance Hall.

Beginning this week, the Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology at UT Dallas will focus on central issues in society regarding the interaction between gender and medicine, science and technology.

“At one level, our explicit values related to sex and gender are not so controversial. Few indeed would stand up and say that one sex is worth less than another, that one gender identity deserves less respect than the other, or that people with different sexes and genders shouldn’t be treated fairly,” said Dr. Matthew J. Brown, director of the center. “And yet, when these widely shared values come into contact with the processes and results of science, technology and medicine, they tend to challenge long-held assumptions and traditions.”

The center’s 2015 lecture series, Sexing Science, Gendering Technology: Rethinking Sex and Gender in Science, Technology and Medicine, will address issues surrounding the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields and technology cultures; the significant sex and gender disparities in medical research; and poor quality research that conforms to traditional stereotypes of men and women, among other complex issues.

The series is also sponsored by UT Dallas’ Carolyn Lipshy Galerstein Women’s Center and Gender Studies Program. 

“Our talks will challenge us to reflect deeply on the many ways that our values — including our personal and cultural values and assumptions related to gender and sex — interact with medicine, science and technology,” Brown said. “Given the significant role that the latter play in our lives and society, thinking about this relationship and working to improve it is one of the most important ways in which we can work together to make our world better.”

As neuroscience research rapidly progresses, it is clear that males and females show certain group-level differences in brain structure, function and neurochemistry. What is unclear, however, is the cause of such differences, and how consistent those differences are across different age groups and cultures.

Lise Eliot,
associate professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Dr. Lise Eliot, associate professor of neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, will begin the center’s annual series with “Sex, Brain and Culture: The Science and Pseudoscience of Gender Difference.” The talk will be at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Jonsson Performance Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“As neuroscience research rapidly progresses, it is clear that males and females show certain group-level differences in brain structure, function and neurochemistry. What is unclear, however, is the cause of such differences, and how consistent those differences are across different age groups and cultures,” said Eliot, who received her PhD in cellular physiology and biophysics from Columbia University. “This talk will use our current understanding of brain maturation and plasticity to outline a more integrative, biopsychosocial approach for understanding gender development and its neural substrate.”

Eliot has published more than 50 works, including the books, What’s Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life and Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow Into Troublesome Gaps — And What We Can Do About It.

Other lecturers include Anita Sarkeesian, media critic, on Feb. 11; Dr. Carla Fehr, professor of philosophy at the University of Waterloo, on March 11; Dr. Matthew J. Brown, assistant professor of philosophy and history of ideas at UT Dallas, on March 25; and Dr. Sarah Richardson, associate professor of the history of science and of studies of women, gender and sexuality at Harvard University, on April 9.

For more information about the speakers, visit the center’s website.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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