Larry J. Young, Ph.D.

Nobel Conference 47

William P. Timmie Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, and collaboratory leader, Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Atlanta, Ga.

Larry Young has spent his professional life trying to understand the relationship between genes, brain, and innate behaviors. As a postdoctoral fellow he began investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying social attachment in prairie voles, which differ from other species of voles in forming lifelong social bonds. Earlier research had identified two hormones in the regulation of pair bond formation in prairie voles and, using comparative molecular approaches, Young investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the species’ differences in behavior. His lab is now using interdisciplinary approaches to understand how specific genes regulate the expression of innate behaviors, with a continuing focus on social attachment and social behavior in general. By understanding the mechanisms underlying social attachment, he and his colleagues hope to gain insight into human disorders characterized by social impairments, including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.

Young received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Georgia, Athens (B.S., 1989) and undertook graduate study at the University of Texas at Austin. Earning a Ph.D. in neuroendocrinology in 1994, he accepted a position as a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., joining the faculty in psychiatry at the School of Medicine there two years later. He is also an associate of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, a consortium of six Atlanta universities.

Young is the author or co-author of more than 40 refereed articles in journals such as The Journal of Neuroscience, The Journal of Comparative Neurology, Hormones and Behavior, Endocrinology, and Nature on the neurobiology of attachment and related topics.