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    Ruth I. Wood, PhD

    TitleChair and Professor of Integrative Anatomical Sciences Associate Dean For Appointments and Promotions
    SchoolKeck School of Medicine of USC
    DepartmentIntegrative Anatomical Sciences
    AddressBMT 401 A 1333 San Pablo Street
    Health Sciences Campus
    Los Angeles California 90089
    Phone+1 323 442 1980
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      Collapse Overview 
      Collapse Overview
      My research investigates neural circuits for behavior, including social behavior, addiction and mood. In particular, we are interested in how gonadal steroid hormones act in the brain, both during development and in the adult, to effect sex differences and modify behavior.

      One line of research investigates the neurobiology of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) abuse. AAS are drugs of abuse, but the potential for dependence and addiction remains unclear. Studies from our laboratory have shown that male and female rodents will voluntarily self-administer testosterone and other AAS. This suggests that AAS are potentially addictive, independent of their effects on muscle mass or athletic performance. We are currently exploring how AAS alter decision-making and response to risk.

      We are also interested in the behavioral endocrinology of cooperation: how hormones modulate cooperative behavior. We have developed operant models to test cooperation in rats working for food reward. Our studies investigate the effects of oxytocin and prolactin to promote cooperation, and the effects of AAS to inhibit cooperative behavior.


      Collapse Biography 
      Collapse Education and Training
      University of California, Davis, Davis, CABS03/1986Animal Science
      University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MIPhD01/1991Physiology
      University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MIPost-doc05/1994Anatomy & Cell Biology

      Collapse Bibliographic 
      Collapse Publications
      Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
      List All   |   Timeline
      1. Donhoffner ME, Al Saleh S, Schink O, Wood R. Prosocial effects of prolactin in male rats: Social recognition, social approach and social learning. Horm Behav. 2017 Sep 24; 96:122-129. PMID: 28935447.
        View in: PubMed
      2. Li G, Wood R. Male rats play a repeated donation game. Physiol Behav. 2017 May 15; 174:95-103. PMID: 28302575.
        View in: PubMed
      3. Wallin-Miller KG, Chesley J, Castrillon J, Wood R. Sex differences and hormonal modulation of ethanol-enhanced risk taking in rats. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2017 May 01; 174:137-144. PMID: 28324816.
        View in: PubMed
      4. Wallin-Miller K, Li G, Kelishani D, Wood R. Anabolic-androgenic steroids decrease dendritic spine density in the nucleus accumbens of male rats. Neuroscience. 2016 Aug 25; 330:72-8. PMID: 27238893; PMCID: PMC4927385 [Available on 08/25/17].
      5. Wood R, Kim JY, Li GR. Cooperation in rats playing the iterated Prisoner's Dilemma game. Anim Behav. 2016 Apr 01; 114:27-35. PMID: 27019513.
        View in: PubMed
      6. Wood R, Knoll AT, Levitt P. Social housing conditions and oxytocin and vasopressin receptors contribute to ethanol conditioned social preference in female mice. Physiol Behav. 2015 Nov 01; 151:469-77. PMID: 26282397; PMCID: PMC4587335 [Available on 11/01/16].
      7. Wallin KG, Alves JM, Wood R. Anabolic-androgenic steroids and decision making: Probability and effort discounting in male rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Jul; 57:84-92. PMID: 25900595; PMCID: PMC4437834.
      8. Wallin KG, Wood R. Anabolic-androgenic steroids impair set-shifting and reversal learning in male rats. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2015 Apr; 25(4):583-90. PMID: 25638026; PMCID: PMC4405434.
      9. Brewer CJ, Wood R, Wood JC. mRNA regulation of cardiac iron transporters and ferritin subunits in a mouse model of iron overload. Exp Hematol. 2014 Dec; 42(12):1059-67. PMID: 25220979; PMCID: PMC4266478.
      10. Kim JY, Wood R. Anabolic-androgenic steroids and appetitive sexual behavior in male rats. Horm Behav. 2014 Sep; 66(4):585-90. PMID: 25200201; PMCID: PMC4253570.
      11. Cooper SE, Wood R. Androgens and opiates: testosterone interaction with morphine self-administration in male rats. Neuroreport. 2014 May 07; 25(7):521-6. PMID: 24488032; PMCID: PMC4894851.
      12. Kent K, Butler K, Wood R. Ethanol induces conditioned social preference in male mice. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2014 Apr; 38(4):1184-92. PMID: 24460901; PMCID: PMC3984360.
      13. Pope HG, Wood R, Rogol A, Nyberg F, Bowers L, Bhasin S. Adverse health consequences of performance-enhancing drugs: an Endocrine Society scientific statement. Endocr Rev. 2014 Jun; 35(3):341-75. PMID: 24423981; PMCID: PMC4026349.
      14. Cooper SE, Goings SP, Kim JY, Wood R. Testosterone enhances risk tolerance without altering motor impulsivity in male rats. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Feb; 40:201-12. PMID: 24485492; PMCID: PMC3919461.
      15. Brewer C, Otto-Duessel M, Wood R, Wood JC. Sex differences and steroid modulation of cardiac iron in a mouse model of iron overload. Transl Res. 2014 Feb; 163(2):151-9. PMID: 24018182; PMCID: PMC3946637.
      16. Wood R, Rice R. Ethanol-induced conditioned partner preference in female mice. Behav Brain Res. 2013 Apr 15; 243:273-7. PMID: 23369716; PMCID: PMC3593977.
      17. Wood R, Armstrong A, Fridkin V, Shah V, Najafi A, Jakowec M. 'Roid rage in rats? Testosterone effects on aggressive motivation, impulsivity and tyrosine hydroxylase. Physiol Behav. 2013 Feb 17; 110-111:6-12. PMID: 23266798; PMCID: PMC3615053.
      18. Wood R, Stanton SJ. Testosterone and sport: current perspectives. Horm Behav. 2012 Jan; 61(1):147-55. PMID: 21983229; PMCID: PMC3264812.
      19. Wood R, Vertelkina NV, Antzoulatos E. Testosterone as a discriminative stimulus in male rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2011 Nov; 100(1):185-90. PMID: 21893083; PMCID: PMC3183107.
      20. Antzoulatos E, Jakowec MW, Petzinger GM, Wood R. MPTP Neurotoxicity and Testosterone Induce Dendritic Remodeling of Striatal Medium Spiny Neurons in the C57Bl/6 Mouse. Parkinsons Dis. 2011; 2011:138471. PMID: 21765998; PMCID: PMC3134993.
      21. Gorton LM, Vuckovic MG, Vertelkina N, Petzinger GM, Jakowec MW, Wood R. Exercise effects on motor and affective behavior and catecholamine neurochemistry in the MPTP-lesioned mouse. Behav Brain Res. 2010 Dec 01; 213(2):253-62. PMID: 20472000; PMCID: PMC2902645.
      22. Antzoulatos E, Jakowec MW, Petzinger GM, Wood R. Sex differences in motor behavior in the MPTP mouse model of Parkinson's disease. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 Jun; 95(4):466-72. PMID: 20347863; PMCID: PMC2866026.
      23. Wood R. The many facets of sex and drugs. Horm Behav. 2010 Jun; 58(1):1. PMID: 20303970.
        View in: PubMed
      24. Kanayama G, Brower KJ, Wood R, Hudson JI, Pope HG. Treatment of anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence: Emerging evidence and its implications. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2010 Jun 01; 109(1-3):6-13. PMID: 20188494; PMCID: PMC2875348.
      25. Sato SM, Johansen JA, Jordan CL, Wood R. Membrane androgen receptors may mediate androgen reinforcement. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2010 Aug; 35(7):1063-73. PMID: 20137860; PMCID: PMC2891198.
      26. Kanayama G, Brower KJ, Wood R, Hudson JI, Pope HG. Anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence: an emerging disorder. Addiction. 2009 Dec; 104(12):1966-78. PMID: 19922565; PMCID: PMC2780436.
      27. Kanayama G, Brower KJ, Wood R, Hudson JI, Pope HG. Issues for DSM-V: clarifying the diagnostic criteria for anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence. Am J Psychiatry. 2009 Jun; 166(6):642-5. PMID: 19487399; PMCID: PMC2696068.
      28. Schauwecker PE, Wood R, Lorenzana A. Neuroprotection against excitotoxic brain injury in mice after ovarian steroid depletion. Brain Res. 2009 Apr 10; 1265:37-46. PMID: 19236850; PMCID: PMC2673965.
      29. Gorton LM, Mahoney MM, Magorien JE, Lee TM, Wood R. Estrogen receptor immunoreactivity in late-gestation fetal lambs. Biol Reprod. 2009 Jun; 80(6):1152-9. PMID: 19164175; PMCID: PMC2804801.
      30. Antzoulatos E, Magorien JE, Wood R. Cell proliferation and survival in the mating circuit of adult male hamsters: effects of testosterone and sexual behavior. Horm Behav. 2008 Nov; 54(5):735-40. PMID: 18775431; PMCID: PMC2588138.
      31. Vuckovic MG, Wood R, Holschneider DP, Abernathy A, Togasaki DM, Smith A, Petzinger GM, Jakowec MW. Memory, mood, dopamine, and serotonin in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-lesioned mouse model of basal ganglia injury. Neurobiol Dis. 2008 Nov; 32(2):319-27. PMID: 18718537; PMCID: PMC3280725.
      32. Sato SM, Schulz KM, Sisk CL, Wood R. Adolescents and androgens, receptors and rewards. Horm Behav. 2008 May; 53(5):647-58. PMID: 18343381; PMCID: PMC2435368.
      33. Triemstra JL, Sato SM, Wood R. Testosterone and nucleus accumbens dopamine in the male Syrian hamster. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2008 Apr; 33(3):386-94. PMID: 18249072; PMCID: PMC2275113.
      34. Wood R. Anabolic-androgenic steroid dependence? Insights from animals and humans. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2008 Oct; 29(4):490-506. PMID: 18275992; PMCID: PMC2585375.
      35. Wood R. Sex and drugs: comment on "Evidence for involvement of erbeta and rgs9-2 in 17-beta estradiol enhancement of amphetamine-induced place preference behavior" by Silverman and Koenig. Horm Behav. 2007 Aug; 52(2):143-5. PMID: 17553500; PMCID: PMC1959339.
      36. Ballard CL, Wood R. Partner preference in male hamsters: steroids, sexual experience and chemosensory cues. Physiol Behav. 2007 May 16; 91(1):1-8. PMID: 17316716; PMCID: PMC1924919.
      37. Nagypál A, Wood R. Region-specific mechanisms for testosterone-induced Fos in hamster brain. Brain Res. 2007 Apr 13; 1141:197-204. PMID: 17276422; PMCID: PMC1857344.
      38. Wood R. Anabolic steroids: a fatal attraction? J Neuroendocrinol. 2006 Mar; 18(3):227-8. PMID: 16454806.
        View in: PubMed
      39. DiMeo AN, Wood R. Self-administration of estrogen and dihydrotestosterone in male hamsters. Horm Behav. 2006 Apr; 49(4):519-26. PMID: 16388806.
        View in: PubMed
      40. Dimeo AN, Wood R. ICV testosterone induces Fos in male Syrian hamster brain. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2006 Feb; 31(2):237-49. PMID: 16157456.
        View in: PubMed
      41. Triemstra JL, Nagatani S, Wood R. Chemosensory cues are essential for mating-induced dopamine release in MPOA of male Syrian hamsters. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005 Aug; 30(8):1436-42. PMID: 15702137.
        View in: PubMed
      42. Ballard CL, Wood R. Intracerebroventricular self-administration of commonly abused anabolic-androgenic steroids in male hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus): nandrolone, drostanolone, oxymetholone, and stanozolol. Behav Neurosci. 2005 Jun; 119(3):752-8. PMID: 15998196.
        View in: PubMed
      43. Wood R. Reinforcing aspects of androgens. Physiol Behav. 2004 Nov 15; 83(2):279-89. PMID: 15488545.
        View in: PubMed
      44. DiMeo AN, Wood R. Circulating androgens enhance sensitivity to testosterone self-administration in male hamsters. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004 Oct; 79(2):383-9. PMID: 15501316.
        View in: PubMed
      45. Triemstra JL, Wood R. Testosterone self-administration in female hamsters. Behav Brain Res. 2004 Sep 23; 154(1):221-9. PMID: 15302128.
        View in: PubMed
      46. Peters KD, Hom SM, Wood R. Testosterone and chemosensory detection in male Syrian hamster. Horm Behav. 2004 Sep; 46(3):341-8. PMID: 15325234.
        View in: PubMed
      47. Wood R, Johnson LR, Chu L, Schad C, Self DW. Testosterone reinforcement: intravenous and intracerebroventricular self-administration in male rats and hamsters. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2004 Jan; 171(3):298-305. PMID: 14557917.
        View in: PubMed
      48. Chu L, Wood R. Castration, dopamine and food choice: a cost/benefit test in male hamsters. Behav Brain Res. 2002 Oct 17; 136(1):137-42. PMID: 12385798.
        View in: PubMed
      49. Wood R. Oral testosterone self-administration in male hamsters: dose-response, voluntary exercise, and individual differences. Horm Behav. 2002 May; 41(3):247-58. PMID: 11971658.
        View in: PubMed
      50. Wood R, Williams SJ. Steroidal control of male hamster sexual behavior in Me and MPOA: effects of androgen dose and tamoxifen. Physiol Behav. 2001 Apr; 72(5):727-33. PMID: 11337005.
        View in: PubMed
      51. I'Anson H, Manning JM, Herbosa CG, Pelt J, Friedman CR, Wood R, Bucholtz DC, Foster DL. Central Inhibition of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Secretion in the Growth-Restricted Hypogonadotropic Female Sheep1. Endocrinology. 2000 Feb 01; 141(2):520-527. PMID: 28200940.
        View in: PubMed
      52. Kosut SS, Wood R, Herbosa-Encarnacio N C, Foster DL. Prenatal Androgens Time Neuroendocrine Puberty in the Sheep: Effect of Testosterone Dose. Endocrinology. 1997 Mar 01; 138(3):1072-1077. PMID: 28199586.
        View in: PubMed