There are many differences between female and male brains, and these differences can have important implications for brain health. For example, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, headaches, anxiety, eating disorders, and obesity affect more women than men. We also know that women are at reduced risk for Parkinson’s, autism, and addictive behaviors, to name a few. The reasons for these critical sex biases are unknown.
The Women’s Brain Initiative represents a major commitment across the Brigham to understand how sex differences affect the brain. We aim to advance our understanding of how sex may affect disease risk, progression, and treatment response, as well as the fundamental biological mechanisms that lead to sex differences in neurologic and psychiatric disorders. The Program is also focused on how female-specific factors and life transitions may influence brain health.
The Women’s Brain Initiative is attracting critical attention, resources, and talented scientists to the field of women’s brain health. Our activities include a portfolio of core projects, research fellowships, and pilot funding awards, along with a regular seminar series and an annual symposium.
Some examples of the Program’s areas of interest include:
The Women’s Brain Initiative has made significant progress since its fall 2017 Launch including:
The Women’s Brain Initiative has held two Symposiums:
2019 WBI Symposium
2018 WBI Symposium
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are unable to hold our 2020 fall symposium as planned. We continue to host individual guest speakers via zoom. We look forward to resuming in-person events as soon as circumstances permit.
The Women’s Brain Initiative includes a portfolio of multi-year research efforts led by senior Brigham physicians and investigators. Topics of investigation include post-menopausal depression, weight gain, and memory, endocrine disrupters, Parkinson’s & female resilience.
The Women’s Brain Initiative Seminar Series brings guest speakers to Brigham, providing opportunities for our community to learn about key developments elsewhere and for our young researchers to meet with leaders in the field. These seminars are open to all and are followed by a reception. We welcome attendance from across the Longwood and Harvard communities, and beyond.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our 2020 seminar series is being held via zoom.
We welcome questions and suggestions for future speakers or events.
Kate Burdick, PhD
Charles Jennings, PhD