Dr. Larry J. Young, PhD is Director of the Center for Translational Social Neuroscience and of the Silvio O. Conte Center for Oxytocin and Social Cognition at Emory University in Atlanta. He is also William P. Timmie Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Emory University School of Medicine and chief of the Division of Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychiatric Disorders at Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Dr. Young has published over 200 peer reviewed publications, including in premier journals such as Science, Nature, Nature Neuroscience, PNAS and Nature Reviews Drug Discovery. He is Past-President of the international Society for Social Neuroscience. Dr. Young has most recently established a new Center for Social Neural Networks at the University of Tsukuba in Japan. Dr. Young has received several awards for his academic achievements including the Golden Brain Award, the Frank Beach Award, the Daniel H. Efron Award from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and has been elected as Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Young’s research seeks to understand how the brain functions to regulate social relationships. His research has revealed that brain chemicals such as oxytocin and vasopressin regulate the neural processing of social information and promote the formation of social bonds by acting in specific neural pathways. Much of his research uses socially monogamous prairie voles as a model organism. More recently he has been exploring the neural bases of empathy in prairie voles. He uses state-of-the-art technology including viral vector transgenics, CRISPR, electrophysiology, optogenetics and genomics to investigate the regulation and diversity of social behavior in voles. He has also developed paradigms using prairie voles that are being used to screen drugs that enhance social function, and is developing novel strategies for drug discovery for treating social impairments in psychiatric disorders.