University Distinguished Lecture
Randy J. Nelson is a Distinguished Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at The Ohio State University, professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, and serves as co-director for the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Ohio State. He earned his AB and MA degrees in psychology in at the University of California at Berkeley. He earned a PhD in psychology, as well as a second PhD in endocrinology, simultaneously from the University of California at Berkeley. Dr. Nelson then completed a postdoctoral fellowship in reproductive physiology at the University of Texas at Austin. He served on the faculty at The Johns Hopkins University from 1986 until 2000, where he was Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and joined Ohio State’s faculty in 2000.
Behavior is the result of genotype and phenotype, and Nelson uses photoperiod (day length) as a precise environmental factor to probe gene expression underlying behavioral phenotype. This approach has been used to study diverse phenomena including sexual and aggressive behaviors, stress biology, immune function, as well as seasonal effects on affect and cognition. Nelson has published nearly 300 research articles and several books describing studies in seasonality, behavioral endocrinology, biological rhythms, stress, immune function, sex behavior, and aggressive behavior. His current studies examine the effects of light at night on metabolism and behavior.
Nelson has been continuously funded since 1984, has served on many federal grant panels and currently serves on the editorial boards of five scientific journals. He has been elected to Fellow status in several scientific associations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, and the Animal Behavior Society and was awarded Ohio State’s Distinguished Scholar Award in 2006.