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Lise Eliot, PhD


Dr. Lise Eliot, professor in the Department of Neuroscience, received her PhD in Physiology and Cellular Biophysics from Columbia University. Working in Eric Kandel's laboratory, she combined electrophysiology and calcium imaging methods to analyze the synaptic mechanisms underlying learning and memory. 

Dr. Eliot next trained as a Postdoctoral Fellow with Dan Johnston at Baylor College of Medicine, where her research addressed the mechanisms of calcium influx in hippocampal neurons. She joined the CMS faculty in 2002 and currently directs the Medical Neuroscience course for first year medical students, the Ethics in Biomedical Research course for first year PhD students, and the Interdepartmental PhD Program in Neuroscience. 

Dr. Eliot has published more than 60 works, including peer-reviewed journals articles, magazine pieces, and the book, What's Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life (Bantam, 2000). Honors include a Magna cum laude bachelor's degree from Harvard, a predoctoral NSF fellowship, a postdoctoral NIH fellowship, a Grass Fellowship in Neurophysiology, a Whiteley Scholarship from the University of Washington, and a Rosalind Franklin Award for Excellence in Teaching. 

Dr. Eliot's second book, Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps and What We Can Do About It (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), was published in hardcover in 2009 and paperback in 2010. 



Pink Brain Blue Brain Book Cover

Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps and What We Can Do About It. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2009). Also published in Great Britain (One World) and in translation in German (Berlin Verlag), French (Robert Laffont), Japanese (Japan Broadcast Publishing Co.), Chinese (China Machine Press/HZ), Korean (The Book in My Life Co.), Romanian (Editura Trei), Turkish (Pegasus), and Portuguese (Artmed, Brazil). 

What's Going On in There? Book Cover

What's Going On in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. New York: Bantam (1999). Published in the UK by Penguin Books, under the title Early Intelligence. Also published in German by Berlin Verlag, in Taiwan by Parenting Source Press, in Polish by Harbor Point, in Korean by King Ree Press, in China by Shantou University Press, and as an audio book by Tantor Media.

Selected articles and book chapters

  • The human hippocampus is not sexually-dimorphic: Meta-analysis of structural MRI volumes. NeuroImage 124:350-366 (2016). With co-authors Anh Tan, Wenli Ma, Amit Vira and Dhruv Marwha.
  • Segregation by sex harms personal and career development. The New York Times, Room for Debate(16 September 2015).
  • Hardwired for combat? First female Army Ranger graduates prove grit beats gender in military training. Huffington Post (31 August 2015).
  • Why coeducation matters. The Independent School Magazine Blog (11 May 2015).
  • Same-sex schools perpetuate notions of difference between men and women. The New York Times, Room for Debate (10 March 2015).
  • Busy boys and little ladies: How fake brain science has supported gender segregation in schools. Slate (4 December 2014).
  • Do brain sex differences explain gendered job preferences? Huffington Post (9 September 2014).
  • Women's hockey and hardwiring, Huffington Post (21 February 2014).
  • Sex-trapolation in the latest brain science, Huffington Post (30 December 2013).
  • Should single-sex education be eliminated? The American (10 September 2013).
  • Gender segregation and civil rights. Huffington Post (6 September 2013).
  • Why CoEducation Matters. ASCD Inservice Blog (6 March 2013).
  • Single-Sex Schools: Vive la Différence or Oppression? Letters, Wall Street Journal (25 Oct. 2012).
  • The case against single-sex schooling. The Washington Post Answer Sheet (4 June 2012), with co-author Rebecca Bigler.
  • The trouble with sex differences. Neuron, (2011), 72:895-898.
  • The feminist case against single-sex schooling. Slate (31 Oct. 2011), with co-author Rebecca Bigler.
  • The pseudoscience of single-sex schooling. Science, 333:1706-1707 (2011). with co-authors Halpern DF, Bigler RS, Fabes RA, Hanish LD, Hyde J, Liben LS, Martin CL.
  • Single-sex education and the brain. Sex Roles, 69:363-81 (2013).
  • The single-sex trick. Slate (15 Dec. 2010), with co-author Diane F. Halpern.
  • Editorial: Stop the pseudoscience of gender differences in learning. ASCD Inservice Blog (3 Nov. 2010).
  • The myth of pink & blue brains. Educational Leadership, 68(3): 32-36 (Nov. 2010).
  • Out with pink and blue: Don't foster the gender divide. New Scientist, Issue 2769, June 19, 2010.
  • The truth about boys and girls (May 2010), Scientific American Mind, 21:22-29 (May-June 2010).
  • Common ground on gender. Education Week, March 31, 2010, with co-author Richard Whitmire.
  • Girl Brain, Boy Brain? New work shows just how wrong it is to assume that all gender differences are "hardwired." (Sept. 8, 2009) Scientific American Online.
  • Gender segregation in schools isn't the answer. USA Today, Aug. 20, 2008, co-authored with Susan McGee Bailey.
  • Language and the Brain. in Gilkerson L and Klein R (Eds.), Early Development and the Brain: Teaching Resources for Educators, Washington DC: Zero-to-Three Press, 2008, co-authored with Sharon Syc.


Courses directed by Dr. Eliot:

  • Medical Neuroscience (MNC501, GIGP504)
  • Ethics and Regulatory Issues in Biomedical Research (GIGP508)
  • Human Brain Dissection (GNSC505)

Courses in which Dr. Eliot lectures:

  • Medical Neuroscience (MNC501, GIGP504)
  • Ethics and Regulatory Issues in Biomedical Research (GIGP508)
  • Neurophysiology (GNSC600) 
  • Clinical Neuroscience (MPSY601)
  • Neuroscience (Scholl Course, PBBS504)


  • Director, Interdepartmental PhD Program in Neuroscience
  • Institutional Review Board
  • Educational Affairs Committee
  • Years 1 & 2 Curriculum Committee
  • University Senate
  • Interdisciplinary Graduate Program Advisory Board
  • Learning Management Systems Review Subcommittee
  • CMS Advisor