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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

Duque-Wilckens, N., Steinman, M. Q., Busnelli, M, Chini, B., Yokoyama, S., Pham, M., Laredo, S. A. Hao, R., Perkeybile, A. M., Minie, V. A., Tan, P. B.. Bales, K. L. and Trainor, B. C. 2018. Oxytocin receptors in the anteromedial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis promote stress-induced social avoidance in females. Biological Psychiatry, 83, 203-213. (Priority communication).

Williams, A. V., Laman-Maharg, A., Armstrong, C. V., Ramos-Maciel, S., Minie, V. A., Trainor, B. C. 2018. Acute inhibition of kappa opioid receptors before but not after social defeat blocks anhedonia and social avoidance in female California mice. Progress in Neuropsychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 86, 166-174.

Williams, A. V. & Trainor, B. C. 2018. The impact of sex as a biological variable in the search for novel antidepressants. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 50, 107-117.

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).

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.


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.