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Ruth I. Wood, PhD, is professor and chair of the Department of Integrative Anatomical Sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, where she also works as a researcher, teacher, and associate dean for appointments and promotions.
Wood received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, and her PhD from the University of Michigan, where she also completed post-doctoral training.
Wood is an expert in anabolic-androgenic steroid abuse and behavioral neuroendocrinology, the study of how hormones act in the brain to control behavior. As chair of the department, she is passionate about creating and maintaining premiere educational and training programs to develop the next generation of physicians and scientists.
About Ruth I. Wood, PhD
Wood’s research investigates the neurobiology of social and cognitive behavior, and how gonadal steroid hormones act in the brain, both during development and in the adult, to effect sex differences and modify behavior.
Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are drugs of abuse used to improve athletic performance. In 1991 testosterone and other AAS were declared controlled substances. Nonetheless, AAS abuse continues to increase, in both the number of users and steroid dosage. Importantly, AAS use is not limited to elite athletes, and the potential for dependence and addiction remains unclear. Studies from Wood’s 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. A recent line of research has shown that AAS also modify decision-making capabilities. These findings highlight potential risks of AAS abuse.