The Lab's most recent work has focused on health disparities: the interaction between social behavior and disease mechanisms, working with both animal models and parallel clinical processes in humans. In both rat and transgenic mouse models the Lab has discovered that social isolation dysregulates the adrenal axis and stress function, disrupts the inflammatory reflex and increases the risk of malignant mammary tumors, accelerates aging and shortens the lifespan, demonstrating that social isolation regulates the molecular and gene mechanisms of disease and aging.
The McClintock Lab also directs the Survey Biomeasure Laboratory for the National Social Life Health and Aging Project (NSHAP). With this transdisciplinary team of collaborators the Lab is testing similar relationships between social lives, health and aging in a diverse population representative of older adults living in the United States. NSHAP's primary goal continues to be reconceptualizing health during aging to include not only precise physiological measures and health status, but also psychological health, functional health, and social context. The neuroscience of pheromonal communication is the Lab's second research focus, also part of the NSHAP project, studying human pheromonal systems that regulate the neuroendocrine mechanisms of ovulation and stress and concurrent changes in dynamic connectivity in brain areas subserving mood and perception of emotional information.