Faculty

Janet Gray

Professor of Psychology and Director of Science, Technology and Society

Janet Gray received her B.A. in psychology in 1974 from Simmons College and her Ph.D. in biopsychology (behavioral neuroscience) from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1980.  She has been at Vassar College since 1980, first as an NIMH post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology and then as a member of the faculty in the Department of Psychology. 

She is an active participant in the inter-departmental program in Neuroscience & Behavior and directs the multidisciplinary program in Science, Technology, & Society (STS).  Recent courses she has taught include Principles of Physiological Psychology (Psyc 241), Neuroscience and Behavior (Neur 201), Senior Seminar in Neuroscience and Behavior (Neur 301), and the Biopolitics of Breast Cancer (STS/WmST 254).

Ms. Gray's primary laboratory research focused on neural and peripheral metabolic mechanisms by which estrogens and mixed antiestrogens, especially tamoxifen, affect eating, body weight regulation and metabolic activity.  As the use of tamoxifen became more pervasive as an adjuvant treatment for breast cancer, her work focused on the mechanisms by which tamoxifen affects neural  (especially hypothalamic) cellular activity.

In the past few years, Ms. Gray has been increasingly interested in learning and teaching about the intersection of environmental and women's health issues, focusing on environmental risks and breast cancer. She has turned her research and writing focus towards engaging in the public and scientific conversation on these complex issues.  She is the Director of the Vassar College Environmental Risks and Breast Cancer Project, a team effort that has led to the production of a bilingual, interactive, user-friendly CD and website (http://erbc.vassar.edu/erbc/), and the principle author of the Breast Cancer Fund's State of the Evidence: The Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment (2008).