Larry Cahill

Picture of Larry Cahill
Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior
School of Biological Sciences
PH.D., University of California, Irvine, 1990
B.A., Northwestern University, 1982, Biology
University of California, Irvine
116 Bonney Bldg (inner office)
Irvine, CA 92697-3800
Research Interests
Sex influences on the mammalian brain/body. Effects of hormonal contraception on teen girls' brain development. NOTE: I am not currently taking new graduate students
Academic Distinctions
Outstanding Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, 2005-6, 2007-8

2019 Top 2% of scientists by citation analysis (1996-2019; Ioannidis et al., 2019, PLoS Biology)
Technische Hochschule Darmstadt, Germany 1991-1992
University of California, Irvine 1992-1996
Research Abstract
For the first half of my career I, like most neuroscientists, assumed that biological sex (i.e., being female or male, the two reproductively viable phenotypes in all anisogamous species) does not matter for understanding any brain processes outside those directly related to reproduction. It turns out that this assumption is completely false. Sex influences of all sizes exist at all levels of mammalian brain function, necessarily including the human brain, all the way down to the genetic level. My work the past 20 years focused on understanding sex influences in the specific domain of emotional memory, and in changing all of research/medicine to start actively understanding, rather than denying, sex influences (often referred to as "sex differences"), especially since denying them disproportionately harms women.
Short Biography
"I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves -- this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth." Albert Einstein

“Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex and varied than our subsequent explanations of them.” Fyodor Dostoevsky

“The happiest people are those who do the most for others. The most miserable are those who do the least.” Booker T. Washington

“Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.” Kahlil Gibran

Abraham Lincoln once asked, "How many legs will a sheep have if you call the tail a leg?" Most people answer 5. Lincoln said no, the answer is 4: "Calling the tail a leg does not make it a leg."

"Most people think they are thinking when in fact they are rearranging their prejudices." William James

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

"The escalator to success is out of order. You have to take the stairs" (unknown)

"Keep away from people belitle your ambitions. Small people always do that. Great people make you think that you, too, can be great." Mark Twain

“There ain't no answer. There ain't gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer.” Gertrude Stein
I edited the first issue of any neuroscience journal devoted to the issue of sex influences on brain function. All 70 papers are permanently open access
I have summarized the extensive, and growing data indicating the necessity for neuroscience to investigate, not avoid, the issue of sex influences in particular to help women in many reviews over the last 20 years, such as this:
Cahill, L. Why Sex Matters for Neuroscience. Nature Neuroscience Reviews. 7: 477-484. (2006).
My interest in sex influences on brain began with this discovery about amygdala function in emotional memory:
Cahill, L, Haier, R.J., White, N.S., Fallon, J., Kilpatrick, L., Lawrence, C., Potkin, S.G., and Alkire, M.T. Sex-related difference in amygdala activity during emotionally influenced memory storage. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (2001) 75: 1-9. (article highlighted in Nature Neuroscience Reviews; 2nd most cited paper in NLM from 2000 to 2005).
Cahill, L (2018) How does hormonal contraception affect the developing human adolescent brain? Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 23: 131-135.
Cahill, L. (2017) Sex influences exist at all levels of human brain function. In Principles of Gender Specific Medicine (M. Legato, Ed)., 3rd edition, London: Academic Press, p. 121-127.
Cahill, L, and Hall, E. (2017) Is it time to resurrect “Lazaroids?” Journal of Neuroscience Research, 95:17-20.
Petersen N, Cahill L (2015) Amygdala reactivity to negative stimuli is influenced by oral contraceptive use Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(9):1266-72.
Cahill, L. (2017) An Issue Whose Time Has Come. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 95:12–13.
Cahill L, Aswad D., (2015) Sex Influences on the Brain: An Issue Whose Time Has Come. Neuron. 2015 Dec 16;88(6):1084-5.
Pletzer, B., Petasis, O., Cahill, L. (2014) Switching between forest and trees: Opposite relationship of progesterone and testosterone to global-local processing. Hormones and Behavior, 66: 257–266.
Petersen, N, Kilpatrick, L., Goharzad, A., Cahill, L. (2014) Oral contraceptive pill use and menstrual cycle phase are associated with altered resting state functional connectivity. Neuroimage. 90: 24-32.
Nielsen, S., Ahmed, I., Cahill, L (2013) Sex and menstrual cycle phase at encoding influence emotional memory for gist and detail Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 106: 56–65
Nielsen SE, Segal SK, Worden IV, Yim IS, Cahill L. (2013) Hormonal contraception use alters stress responses and emotional memory.
Biol Psychol. 2013 Feb;92(2):257-66.
Ferree, N., Wheeler, M., Cahill,L. (2012) The influence of emergency contraception on post-traumatic stress symptoms following sexual assault. Journal of Forensic Nursing, Sep;8(3):122-30
Cahill, L (2012) A Half Truth is a Whole Lie: on the Necessity of Investigating Sex influences on Brain Function. Neuroendocrinology. Jun;153(6):2541-3.
Ertman, N. , Andreano, J., and Cahill, L (2011) Progesterone at encoding predicts subsequent emotional memory. Learning and Memory, 18: 1-6.
Nielsen, S., Ertman., N., Lakhani, Y., and Cahill L. (2011) Hormonal contraception usage is associated with altered memory for an emotional story. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 96: 378- 384.
Cahill, L. (2010) Sex Influences on Brain and Emotional Memory: The Burden of Proof has Shifted. Progress in Brain Research (I. Savic, Ed) 186: 29-40.
Andreano, J and Cahill, L (2010) Menstrual cycle modulation of medial temporal lobe activity evoked by negative emotion. Neuroimage 53: 1286-1293
Andreano, J. and Cahill, L (2009) Sex Influences on the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. Learning and Memory. 16: 248-266.
Segal, S. and Cahill, L. (2009) Endogenous noradrenergic activation and subsequent memory in men and women. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 34: 1263-1271.
Ferree, N. and Cahill, L. (2009) Post-event spontaneous intrusive recollections and strength of memory for emotional events in men and women. Consciousness and Cognition. 18: 126-134
Alkire, M., Gruver, R., Miller, J., McReynolds, J., Hahn, E. and Cahill., L. (2008) Neuroimaging analysis of an anesthetic gas that blocks human emotional memory. PNAS USA, 105: 1722-1727.
Andreano, J.M. and Cahill, L. Glucocorticoid Release and Memory Consolidation in Men and Women. Psychological Science 17:466-70 (2006).
Kilpatrick, L. Zald, D.H., Pardo, J.V. and Cahill, L. Sex-related Differences in Amygdala Functional Connectivity during Resting Conditions. Neuroimage. 30: 452-461. (2006).
Cahill, L. His Brain, Her Brain Scientific American. May 2005
Cahill, L. (2014) Equal (equals not sign) The Same: Sex Differences in the Human Brain. Cerebrum (Dana Foundation) Mar-Apr, Vol. 5. PMC4087190.
Cahill, L (2018) How does hormonal contraception affect the developing teen brain? Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
Ferree, N., Kamat, R. and Cahill, L. (2011) Influences of menstrual cycle position and sex hormone levels on spontaneous intrusive recollections following emotional stimuli. Consciousness and Cognition, 20: 1154-1162.
Parker, E.S., Cahill, L., and McGaugh, J.L. A case of unusual autobiographical remembering. Neurocase. 12: 35-49. (2006)
Cahill, L., Uncapher, M. Kilpatrick, L., Alkire, M. and Turner, J. Sex-Related Hemispheric Lateralization of Amygdala Function in Emotionally-Influenced Memory: An fMRI Investigation. Learning and Memory. (2004) 11: 261-266.
Cahill, L., Gorski, L., Belcher, A. and Huynh, Q. A study of the influence of sex versus sex-related traits on long-term recall of gist and detail from an emotional story. Consciousness and Cognition. (2004) 13: 391-400.
Cahill, L. Why Sex Matters for Neuroscience. Nature Neuroscience Reviews. 7: 477-484. (2006).
Kilpatrick, L and Cahill, L. Amygdala modulation of parahippocampal and frontal regions during emotionally influenced memory storage. Neuroimage. (2003) 20: 2091-2099.
Jazin, E and Cahill, L. (2010) Sex Differences in Molecular Neuroscience: From Drosophila to Humans. Nature Neuroscience Reviews. 11: 9-17
Cahill, L., Sex- and hemisphere-related influences on the neurobiology of emotionally influenced memory. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. (2003) 27: 1235-1241.
Cahill, L. and Alkire, M. Epinephrine enhancement of human memory consolidation: Interaction with arousal at encoding. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. (2003) 79: 194-198.
Cahill, L. and van Stegeren, A. Sex-related impairment of memory for emotional events with ß-adrenergic blockade. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. (2003) 79:81-88.
Cahill, L. and McGaugh, J.L. Mechanisms of emotional arousal and lasting declarative memory. Trends in Neurosciences (1998) 21:294-299.
Cahill, L., Weinberger, N., Roozendaal, B., and McGaugh, J.L. Is the amygdala a locus of "conditioned fear?" Some questions and caveats. Neuron. (1999) 23:227-228.
Other Experience
NOTE: I am not currently accepting graduate students

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