From the Office of Dr. David Crews
My research has focused on problems in reproductive biology, principally on the development and function of sex differences. The research strategy employed has been to identify important problems in behavioral biology and then find a species that allows me to address that problem in a unique way. Experience has taught me that Nature provides all of the experimental preparations required. Conventional animal models are also utilized when they enable me to extend findings to the mammalian condition, or provide unique preparations with which to study neuroendocrine mechanisms.
All of my research uses a comparative, interdisciplinary approach that combines and integrates the molecular, cellular, physiological, morphological, organismal, ecological, and evolutionary levels of analysis. The research is conducted both in the laboratory and in the field to illustrate how the causal mechanisms and functional outcomes of reproductive processes operate at each level of biological organization while, at the same time, illuminating the relations among the levels. It has been my experience that field and laboratory studies are complementary; the field has proven to be a valuable testing ground for adaptive functions, whereas the laboratory is the only possible arena for determining many of the physiological and molecular bases of phenomena observed in the field.
What follows is a description of the current research projects in the laboratory. All but the last are supported by long-standing federal research grants; it is my intention to apply for NIH extramural funds for the research on the evolution of the human estrogen receptor in the near future.