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Women’s Brain Health Initiative Trainee-Mentor Session

March 2, 2021

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The Women’s Brain Health Initiative Trainee-Mentor Sessions intend to provide students with the opportunity to meet and engage with sex and gender experts through informal conversations on diverse topics including professional development and research. To ensure an intimate and valuable experience, each Trainee-Mentor session will be limited to 30 registrants.

Please note that these sessions are for registrants of the Women’s Brain Health Conference (2020-2021). If you have not registered for the conference, you may do so here before you register for the session(s) you would like to attend.

Robert-Paul Juster is the Director of the Center on Sex*Gender, Allostasis, and Resilience (CESAR) situated at the Research Center of the Montreal Mental Health University Institute. Dr. Juster is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Addiction at the University of Montreal and holds a CIHR Sex and Gender Science Chair. Dr. Juster completed his graduate studies in Psychology at Concordia University (BSc) and Neuroscience at McGill University (MSc, PhD) before completing a Post-Doctoral fellowship in Psychiatry at Columbia University.

Dr. Juster’s research focuses on teasing apart the role of biological sex and socio-cultural gender in explaining pathways that render us vulnerable or resilient to stress-related disease. Dr. Juster has become an expert in the measurement of allostatic load, the ‘wear and tear’ of chronic stress and unhealthy behaviors that he measures with biomarkers collected from saliva and blood. Robert-Paul has led research on understanding how stigma, stress, and strain influence the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and more recently transgender individuals. In his newly launched laboratory CESAR, he and his students aim to further advance sex/gender and allostatic load research among diverse populations such as the LGBT community, workers, and psychiatric patients.

In this talk, I will share my career path and philosophy regarding transdisciplinary research approaches that nuance sex, gender, and sexual orientation in relation to stress biology and mental health. By applying a sex- and gender-based analysis that appreciates individual variation beyond sex binaries, I will demonstrate how one’s sex, sex hormones, gender-roles, gender identity, and sexual orientation uniquely influence functioning of the stress hormone cortisol and multi-systemic physiological dysregulation known as allostatic load linked to both physical and mental health. The take-home message of this decade’s worth of integrative neuroscience research can be summarized as follows: when studying stress-related phenomena that appears to differ between the sexes, accounting for interactions among sex and gender (sex*gender) is essential.