Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students

Hormones in a Performance-Enhanced Society

High school classes in biology, biochemistry, or human biology would be helpful, but not necessary.

This seminar will explore how the availability of hormone therapy has affected various aspects of our daily lives. Our topics will include the controversies concerning use of hormones in athletics; cosmetic use of hormones to enhance growth, strength, and libido; use of hormones as anti-aging drugs; and how the hormone system has influenced our notions of gender. You will learn about the biochemistry and physiology of the human endocrine system, how hormones influence behavior, and how to read a scientific paper. We will also combine your presentations of material with class discussions on specific topics. We will discuss how environmental endocrine disruptors may be altering fertility and causing cancer, and debate the relationship between hormones and obesity.


Meet the Instructor(s)

Andrew Hoffman

Andrew R. Hoffman, M.D.

"I am a professor of medicine, studying growth factors and the genetics and epigenetics of cancer in the lab, and investigating the endocrinology of aging in clinical trials. In addition, I remain an active clinician specializing in the treatment of pituitary and other neuroendocrine diseases. I became interested in endocrinology when I was a Stanford medical student working in a psychiatry lab, examining how hormone levels change dramatically during stressful situations. While I decided that a career in basic endocrinology research suited me better than a life as a psychiatrist, I have remained fascinated by how the brain controls our hormone levels and how hormones have influenced society in general."