Wendy J. Lynch is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. She received both her undergraduate (B.A.) and graduate (Ph.D.) degrees in Psychology (Neuroscience minor) in her home state of Minnesota. She has a passion for travel and international education which began when she was an undergraduate at Augsburg College and participated in study abroad courses in Tanzania and Greece. She has continued to travel to different places around the globe throughout her education and career, and her recent teaching engagement in China at Hangzhou University served to further fuel her interest in international education. She is delighted to participate in the Semester at Sea program and is looking forward to sharing her experiences as an educator, scientist, and world traveler.
As a scientist, Dr. Lynch works with a team of undergraduate, graduate, and medical students to explore the biological basis of drug addiction. She is particularly interested in sex differences and has shown that females have an enhanced sensitivity to the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse and become addicted sooner than males. Her work has identified a number of factors that contribute to these differences, including hormones such as estradiol and progesterone, and differences in the brain’s reward center. Her research has also shown that exercise reduces vulnerability to addiction in both males and females, and does so by reversing drug-induced changes in the brain. Dr. Lynch is excited to combine her knowledge of addiction with her love of international education and teaching in her Special Topics in Psychology Semester at Sea course titled “Views on Drug Use, Addiction, and Treatment Around the World” (PSY 292D). She will also integrate interdisciplinary and multicultural themes to explore sociocultural and sex/gender differences in her other courses on brain and behavior (General Psychology, PSY 100) and brain, behavior, and mental health (Abnormal Psychology, PSY 320).
Away from the lab and classroom, Dr. Lynch enjoys hiking, running, and participating in sports, and has been skating on a Division 1/2 roller derby team for the past 7 years. She is looking forward to experiencing her first Semester at Sea Voyage with her husband, Jason, and their teenage daughters, Ivy (16) and Alex (13). As a family, they enjoy traveling, sports, movies, and adventure, and are very much looking forward to this Canals and the Atlantic Voyage!