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Brian Trainor


  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2003
  • M.S., Biology, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, 1998
  • B.S., Biology, University of Texas at Austin, 1996


In addition to his academic appointment in the Department of Psychology, Brian Trainor is an affiliated faculty member with the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience.   He is also director of the Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Lab at UC Davis. Professor Trainor is a member of several professional organizations, including the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, the Society for Neuroscience and the Society for Biological Psychiatry. He is also an editorial board member for the journal Hormones and Behavior.

Research Focus

Mood and anxiety disorders are more likely to occur in women, yet most mouse models focus on males. Using the monogamous California mouse, Professor Trainor studies the effects of stress on the brain and behavior. His research finds that males and females adapt to social stress using different behavioral strategies. He uses immunohistochemistry, sequencing/PCR, and pharmacology to study how a variety of neurotrophin, neurotransmitter, and neuropeptide systems mediate behavioral responses to stress.

Selected Publications

Laman-Maharg, A. & Trainor, B. C. 2017. Stress, sex, and motivated behaviors. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 95, 83-92.

Steinman, M. Q., Duque-Wilckens, N., Greenberg, G. D., Hao, R. Campi, K. L., Laredo, S. A., Laman-Maharg, A., Manning, C. E., Doig, I. E., Lopez, E. M., Walch, K., Bales, K. L. and Trainor, B. C. 2016. Sex-specific effects of stress on oxytocin neurons correspond with responses to intranasal oxytocin. Biological Psychiatry, 80, 406-414 (cover image). 

Duque-Wilckens, N., Steinman, M. Q., Laredo, S. A., Hao, R., Perkybile, A. M., Baes, K. L. & Trainor, B. C. 2016. Effects of V1a receptor in bed nucleus of stria terminalis on social behavior and anxiety in males and females. Neuropharmacology, 110, 406-414. 

Laredo, S. A., Steinman, M. Q., Robles, C. F., Ferrer, E. & Trainor, B. C. 2015. Effects of defeat stress on behavioral flexibility in males and females: modulation by the mu-opioid receptor. European Journal of Neuroscience, 41, 434-441. 

Greenberg, G. D., Laman-Maharg, A., Campi, K. L., Voigt, H., Orr, V. N. & *Trainor,B. C.* 2014. Sex differences in stress-induced social withdrawal: role of brain derived neurotrophic factor in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 7, 223.

Trainor, B. C., Pride, M. C., Villalon Landeros, R., Knoblauch, N. W.,Takahashi, E. Y., Silva, A.L. & Crean, K. K. 2011. Sex differences in social interaction behavior following social defeat stress in the monogamous California mouse. PLoS One, e17405.


Professor Trainor teaches courses in Introduction to Psychobiology, Behavioral Genetics, Behavioral Genetics and Epigenetics, and Hormones and Behavior.


Professor Trainor has won a number of awards, including the 2010 Frank Beach Young Investigator Award in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. He was also selected as a UC Davis Hellman Fellow in 2009.