RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Area(s) of Expertise:
Cognitive Genomics, Women's Health, Psychopharmacology
Emily Jacobs received her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in the Department of Neuroscience. Her work examines how estrogen impacts the brain’s dopaminergic system and, in turn, frontal lobe function. In humans there has been a strong effort to understand the effects of estrogen on cognition, but the data have been inconsistent. Her work suggests that taking baseline dopamine levels into account is pivotal to detecting the direction of estrogen’s effect on working memory. The results carry direct ramifications for women’s health, as the response to dopamine medications (e.g. Ritalin for ADHD) may differ between men and women, and within women in different endocrine states. Emily received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Smith College in 2004 where she majored in Neuroscience. She grew up in southern Illinois. Outside lab she’s either reading Martha Nussbaum or traipsing through the little towns that dot the California coast, combing the waters for sea urchin or exploring old barns.