Ashlyn Swift-Gallant

B.A. (Hons.) University of Western Ontario; M.A., Ph.D. University of Toronto

Assistant Professor

Office: SN1052
Phone: (709) 864-7583
Affiliations: Behavioural Neuroscience

Research Interests

My research examines the role hormones play in the development of the brain and behaviour with the overall goal of understanding how individual differences develop. I use transgenic rodent models and viral vectors to ask how, when and where hormones act to differentiate the brain and how these differences in the brain translate to sex differences in behaviour. I am currently pursuing research evaluating the role for hormone action outside of the brain for the development of sex differences in the brain and behaviour. For example, in one line of investigation, I am studying the role of the vomeronasal organ (VNO), an organ in the nasal cavity of many mammalian species, for the development of socio-sexual behaviour; this organ is largely responsible for pheromone processing, and interrupting it results in sex-reversals in behaviour (e.g., female mice will exhibit male-typical sexual behaviours). Interestingly, my recent work indicates that interrupting the VNO also affects the neuroendocrine environment, suggesting a complex interplay between this peripheral organ, hormones and the brain.

In addition to rodent models, I also lead a line of investigation in humans evaluating how hormones affect the development of the brain and behaviour. Currently, I am looking at sex differences in pain sensitivity, and evaluating whether hormones play a role. I will also be starting up a line of investigation evaluating the bio-development of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).


I received my Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Ashley Monks. Following completion of my Ph.D., I joined Drs. Cynthia Jordan and Marc Breedlove at Michigan State University for a two-year NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Student Mentoring

Undergraduate Students: I welcome prospective undergraduate Honours students who are interested in projects related to the role of hormones for behaviour in animal models and/or in humans to contact me to set up an appointment to discuss current availability in my lab.

Graduate Students: I am currently recruiting graduate students interested in studying the role of hormones for socio-sexual behaviours in mice, and students interested in evaluating the bio-development of ASD.


Swift-Gallant, A., Jordan, C.L, & Breedlove, S.M. (2018). Consequences of caesarean delivery for neural development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [Epub ahead of print]

Ramzan, F., Phung, T., Swift-Gallant, A., Coome, L.A., Holmes, M.M. & Monks, D.A. (under review). Both neural and non-neural androgen receptor overexpression affect sexual dimorphism in the mouse brain. Journal of Neuroendocrinology.

Swift-Gallant, A. (under review). Individual differences in the biological basis of androphilia in mice and men. Hormones and Behavior.

Swift-Gallant, A., Coome, L.A., Aitken, M., Monks, D.A. & VanderLaan, D.P. (under review). Distinct Bio-Developmental Pathways Influence Sexual Orientation in Men: A Latent Class Analysis Approach. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Swift-Gallant, A., Coome, L.A., Monks, D.A. & VanderLaan, D.P. (2018). Pubertal Onset and Anal Sex Role Among Gay Men. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. [Epub ahead of print]

Coome, L.A., Swift-Gallant, A., Holmes, M.M., Karatsoreos, I., & Monks, D.A. (under review). Androgens affect behavioral rhythms and the photic response of the suprachiasmatic nucleus in male mice via actions on neural androgen receptors. Hormones and Behavior.

Swift-Gallant, A., Duarte-Guterman, P., Hamson, D.K., Monks, D.A. & Galea, L.A. (2018). Neural androgen receptors affect hippocampal neurogenesis in the adult male mouse. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 30(4): p.e.12578.

Swift-Gallant, A. & Breedlove, S. M. (2018). O Gay World: Ramifications of the Maternal Immune Hypothesis. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47(1):39-41.

Coome, L.A., Swift-Gallant, A., Ramzan, F., Melhuish Beaupre, L., Brkic, T. & Monks, D.A. (2017). Neural androgen receptor overexpression affects cell number in the spinal nucleus of the bulbocavernosus. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. 29(9): p.e.12515.

Swift-Gallant, A., & Monks, D. A. (2017). Androgenic mechanisms of sexual differentiation of the nervous system and behavior. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 46, 32-45.

Monks, D. A., & Swift‐Gallant, A. (2018). Non‐neural androgen receptors affect sexual differentiation of brain and behaviour. Journal of Neuroendocrinology, 30(2), e12493.

Peragine, D.P., Pokarowski, M., Mendoza Viveros, L., Swift-Gallant, A., Cheng, H.-Y.M., Bentley, G.E. & Holmes, M.M. (2017). RFamide-related peptide-3 (RFRP-3) suppresses sexual maturation in a eusocial mammal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(5), 1207-1212.

Hobbs, N.J., Swift-Gallant, A., Jordan, C.L. & Breedlove, S.M. (2017). Neurochemicals drawing the line between love and hate. Biological Psychiatry, 81(3), 177-178.

Swift-Gallant, A., Coome, L.A., Monks, D.A. & VanderLaan, D.P. (2017). Handedness is a biomarker of variation in sexual behavior and gender nonconformity among gay men. PLoS ONE, 12(2): e0170241.

Swift-Gallant, A., Coome, L. A., Monks, D. A., & VanderLaan, D. P. (2018). Gender Nonconformity and Birth Order in Relation to Anal Sex Role Among Gay Men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47, 1041-1052.

Swift-Gallant, A., Coome, L., Srinivasan, S. & Monks, D.A. (2016). Non-neural androgen receptor promotes androphilic odor preference in mice, Hormones and Behavior, 83, 14-22.

Peragine, D.E., Yousuf, Y., Fu, Yi., Swift-Gallant, A., Ginzberg, K. & Holmes, M.M. (2016). Contrasting effects of opposite versus same-sex housing on hormones, behavior and neurogenesis in a eusocial mammal. Hormones and Behavior, 81, 28-37.

Swift-Gallant, A., Coome, L., Ramzan, F. & Monks, D.A. (2016). Non-neural androgen receptors affect sexual differentiation of brain and behavior, Endocrinology, 157, 788-798.

Swift-Gallant, A., Mo, K., Peragine, D.E., Monks, D.A. & Holmes, M.M. (2015). Removal of reproductive suppression reveals latent sex differences in brain steroid hormone receptors in naked mole-rats, Heterocephalus glaber. Biology of Sex Differences, 6:31.

Ramzan, F., McPhail, M., Rao, P., Mo, K., Halievski, K., Swift-Gallant, A., Mendoza-Viveros, L., Cheng, H.Y., Monks, D.A. (2015). Distinct Etiological Roles for Myocytes and Motor Neurons in a Mouse Model of Kennedy’s Disease/Spinobulbar Muscular Atrophy. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(16), 6444-6451.

Swift-Gallant, A. & Monks, D.A. (2013). Androgen receptor expression in satellite cells of the neonatal rat levator ani. Developmental Neurobiology, 73(6), 448-454.

Swift-Gallant, A., Niel, L. & Monks, D.A. (2012). Turning Sex Inside-Out: Peripheral Contributions to Sexual Differentiation of the Central Nervous System. Biology of Sex Differences, 3:12.

Chapters and Encyclopedia Entries

Swift-Gallant, A. & Breedlove, S. M. (In press). Neuroendocrine Influences on Human Sexuality, in Oxford Encyclopedia of Neuroendocrine and Autonomic Systems, Oxford University Press.

Swift-Gallant, A. & Coome, L.A. (2018). Development of Sex Differences. In T.K. Shackelford & V. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), in Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychology Science, Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_666-1

Coome, L.A. & Swift-Gallant, A. (2018). Boy’s Rough and Tumble Play. In T.K. Shackelford & V. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychology Science, Springer International Publishing.

Coome, L.A. & Swift-Gallant, A. (2018). Girl’s Interest in Familial Care. In T.K. Shackelford & V. Weekes-Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychology Science, Springer International Publishing.

Swift-Gallant, A. & Monks, D.A. (2014). Disorders of Sex: Handbook of Behavior Genetics, Vol. 2, Cambridge University Press.