Rebecca Jordan-Young

Tow Associate Professor for Distinguished Scholars

Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Research and Teaching Interests:

Rebecca Jordan-Young is the author of Brain Storm: The flaws in the science of sex differences (Harvard University Press 2010), and more than three dozen articles and book chapters at the intersection of science and social differences, especially gender, sexuality, and race. Jordan-Young holds a Ph.D. in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. She teaches such courses as Science and Sexualities; Introduction to Women and Health; Pleasures and Power (an Introduction to Sexuality Studies); and the Senior Seminar in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Professor Jordan-Young directs the Science and Social Difference Working Group in the Center for Study of Social Differences at Columbia University, and co-directs the Columbia University Seminar on Sexuality, Gender, Health, and Human Rights (with Professor Carole S. Vance in Anthropology at Columbia and Professor Alice Miller, Yale University Law School). Jordan-Young has held visiting appointments at Radboud University, The Netherlands (2013-14) and the Cognitive Neurosciences Division of the School for International Advanced Studies (SISSA), in Trieste, Italy (2008).

Before coming to Barnard College, Jordan-Young spent more than ten years conducting research on HIV/AIDS and urban health, and ran street outreach programs to prevent HIV among drug users and street-based sex workers.  Prior to 2010, Jordan-Young published under the name Rebecca M. Young.

Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation; the Tow Family Foundation; the Brocher Foundation; the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences; the Social Science Research Council; the Foundation for Veteran, Worker, and Environmental Health; the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA/NIH); the Center for the Study of Social Differences at Columbia; and a Presidential Research Award from Barnard College.




Jordan-Young, R.M. Brain Storm: The Flaws in the Science of Sex Differences. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2010 (in paperback 2011).

·       Winner, Distinguished Publication Award, Association for Women in Psychology (2011).

·       French translation (Belin) forthcoming, 2016.

Selected Articles and Book Chapters:

Karkazis, K., and Jordan-Young, R.M. Debating a “Sex Gap” in Testosterone. Science 348:6237. May 22, 2015, 2-4.

Rippon, G. Jordan-Young, R., Kaiser, A., and Fine, C. Recommendations for sex/gender neuroimaging research: Key principles and implications for research design, analysis and interpretation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 8:650. August 2014. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00650.

Jordan-Young, R., Sonksen, P. and Karkazis, K. Sex, Health, and Athletes. BMJ 28 April 2014; 348:g2926 doi: 10.1136/bmj.g2926.

Fine, C., Jordan-Young, R., Kaiser, A., and Rippon, G. Plasticity, plasticity, plasticity ... and the rigid problem of sex. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, November 2013 17(11): 550-551. 

Karkazis, K., Jordan-Young, R.M., Davis, G., and S. Camporesi. “Out of Bounds? A Critique of Policies on Hyperandrogenism in Elite Female Athletes.” The American Journal of Bioethics 12(7): 3-16. Published online June 14, 2012.

Jordan-Young, R. and R. Rumiati. Hardwired for Sexism? Approaches to Sex/Gender in Neuroscience. Neuroethics, 5:3 December 2012, pp 305-315.

Jordan-Young, R. Hormones, Context, and “Brain Gender”: A Review of Evidence from Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. Social Science & Medicine 74:11, June 2012, Pages 1738-1744.

Springer, K., Stellman, J. and Jordan-Young, R. Beyond a Catalogue of Differences: A Theoretical Frame and Good Practice Guidelines for Researching Sex/Gender in Human Health. Social Science & Medicine, Volume 74:11, June 2012, Pages 1817-1824.

Cheslack-Postava, K. and Jordan-Young, R.  Autism Spectrum Disorders: Towards a Gendered Embodiment Model. Social Science & Medicine, 74:11, June 2012, Pages 1667-1674.

Jordan-Young, R. (guest editor and contributor). Critical Conceptions: Technologies, Justice, and the Global Reproduction Market. The Scholar & Feminist Online 9.1-9.2: Fall 2010/ Spring 2011.

Nehm, R.H. and Young, R.M. “Sex Hormones” in Secondary School Biology Textbooks. Science & Education. Online First DOI 10.1007/s11191-008-9137-7, March 2008.

Young, R. and Meyer, I. The Trouble with "WSW" and "MSM”: Erasure of the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Person in Public Health Discourse. American Journal of Public Health 95:1144-1149, 2005.

Young, R. and Balaban, E. Psychoneuroindoctrinology. Review of The Female Brain, by Louanne Brizendine. Nature. 443(12): 634, 2006.

Young, R., Friedman, S. and Case, P. Exploring an HIV Paradox: An Ethnography of Sexual Minority Women Injectors. Journal of Lesbian Studies. 9(3): 103-133, 2005.

Young, R., Weissman, G., and Cohen, J. Assessing Risk in the Absence of Information: HIV Risk Among Women Injection Drug Users Who Have Sex with Women. AIDS and Public Policy Journal, 7(3):175 183, Fall 1992.


Selected Grants

2013 - National Science Foundation, Science, Technology, and Society Division, "Collaborative Research - Discordant Models of Testosterone Function" (R. Jordan-Young, PI); collaboration with Helen Longino (Co-PI) and Katrina Karkazis, Stanford University; NSF Award # SES-1331123

2012 - Presidential Research Award, Barnard College, "Out of Bounds? Ethical and Scientific Issues in “Gender Verification” of Elite Female Athletes"

2010 - Foundation for Worker, Veteran, and Environmental Health, "Gender, Sex, and Human Health"

2001 – 2004: Principal Investigator, "Measuring Sexual Minority Status Among Women Drug Users"
National Institutes of Health (NIDA)
Grant # R03 DA14399-01

2001 - 2002: Principal Investigator, "Pilot Studies of Analytic Dialogues with Women Drug Users"
Center for Drug Use and HIV Research, NDRI, Inc.
Grant #P30 DA11041

1997: Co Investigator, "HIV Risk Among Women Injectors Who Have Sex with Women" NDRI, Inc.
National Institutes of Health (NIDA)
Grant #1 R01 DA10870 01

1997 - 1998: Dissertation Fellow, Sexuality Research Fellowship Program, Social Science Research Council

Selected Honors

2013-15:  Tow Professorship for Distinguished Scholars and Practitioners, Barnard College

2003-04: Health Disparities Scholar, National Center on Minority Health & Health Disparities (NCMHD)

2003: Disability Access Recognition Award, Barnard College

2000: Marisa de Castro Benton Prize for Outstanding Dissertation in the Sociomedical Sciences; Ph.D. dissertation with Distinction

1993: John and Kathleen Gorman Public Health Humanitarian Award, Columbia University School of Public Health


B.A., Bryn Mawr College

M.A., Ph.D., Columbia University

In the News