Neuroscientist argues against ‘sexist’ beliefs that keep research focused on male animals
In a newly published paper, neurobiologist Rebecca Shansky argues that “sexist” misconceptions continue to persist about female hormones being “messy” and inherently making research more difficult, even when male hormones can often be equally, or more, variable. But such variability is not taken into account when it comes to male research models, Shansky says. The NIH issued a mandate in 2016 to factor sex as a variable when submitting grant applications, but it doesn’t make clear how to incorporate both female and male animals into experiments. Since animal models form the basis of research, “I would hope that if a researcher considers their research to be clinically relevant, then they would want it to be clinically relevant for everyone and not just men,” Shansky tells STAT.