David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1974
Biopsychology, Pheromones, Social Behavior and the Regulation of Fertility, Health and Sexual Motivation
Martha K. McClintock is the David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology. She is the Founder of the Institute for Mind and Biology, Co-Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Disparities Research (CIHDR), and holds joint appointments in the Departments of Psychology and Comparative Human Development, the Committees on Neurobiology and Evolutionary Biology, and the College. Dr. McClintock has been at the University of Chicago since 1976.
Dr. McClintock was the first researcher to discover menstrual synchronization among human females while still an undergraduate at Wellesley College. McClintock made this now famous discovery when she observed that the menstrual cycles among her dormitory mates became synchronized. After researching the topic further for her senior thesis, she concluded that the synchronization of the menstrual cycles among female friends and dormitory mates was caused by pheromones transmitted through social interaction. This research was later published in Nature (McClintock 1971).
Dr. McClintock's current research focuses on the interaction between behavior and reproductive endocrinology and immunology. Because behavior and endocrine function are reciprocally linked, Dr. McClintock focuses on the behavioral control of endocrinology, in addition to the hormonal and neuroendocrine mechanisms of behavior. Working with both animal and parallel clinical processes in humans, Dr. McClintock studies pheromones, sexual behavior, fertility and reproductive hormones. McClintock also studies the psychosocial origins of malignant and infectious disease, applying this to the dramatic health disparity in cancer promoting genes between African-American women and women of Northern European ancestry.
Professor McClintock is the recipient of numerous distinctions, including the American Psychological Association's Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology, the University of Chicago's Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching, and the Wellesley College Alumnae Achievement Award. McClintock is also an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Animal Behavior Society, the American Psychological Society, the American Psychological Association, and the International Academy of Sex Research.