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Sunny Boyd, PI

Sunny Boyd, Ph.D. — Principal Investigator and Lab Head

Sunny K. Boyd received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1981, her M.S. from Oregon State University in 1984, and her Ph.D. also from Oregon State in 1987.  She began as an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame in 1987 and is now a full professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.  In 2009, Professor Boyd became the Associate Vice President for Research at Notre Dame.  In this role, she oversees a broad portfolio of projects, including research development in the life sciences and communication of Notre Dame’s research advances to the world.

Professor Boyd’s research program focuses in the area of neuroscience.  She and her team study the interactions of the nervous system and the endocrine system, in order to understand how social behaviors are controlled.  Her laboratory is unusually broad in its scope – with projects that range from the molecular and cellular level to projects in the field that examine animal behavioral ecology.  Current research of special interest is the development of computational models for the neuroendocrine control of behaviors.  Professor Boyd’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes for Health, and the U.S. Forest Service.

The training of undergraduate and graduate students in the life sciences is a long-term commitment for Professor Boyd.  She has focused especially on teaching of Human Physiology to students who plan to enter health professions.  She served as a Kaneb Faculty Fellow during the 2003-2004 academic year and has won 4 teaching awards, including the Joyce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in both 2007 and 1999.  Dr. Boyd currently serves as the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Professor Boyd has served as the chair of the Public Policy Committee of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, secretary for the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, and education committee chair for the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, as well as service on proposal review panels for the NIH, NSF, and American Heart Association.

DOWNLOAD:  Dr. Boyd’s Short Bio OR Dr. Boyd’s Full CV

Personal Notes:

Sunny was born in northern California but grew up in southern Oregon. She ran wild through the woods (learning biology the easy way) before leaving for Princeton (to learn biology the hard way). After 4 years, it was back to Oregon — and that marvelous little town, Corvallis — for graduate school. Finally, in a nod toward geographical diversity, Sunny moved to Indiana for a plum job at Notre Dame. Sunny is married to Eric Tripp, a hospitalist physician, and they have three brilliant and beautiful daughters.

Sunny raised and trained Shetland Sheepdogs as a hobby for many years. Now, she just raises frogs and children (more of the former than the later). Neither the frogs nor the children have proven to be trainable. Sunny’s primary hobbies these days are gardening and traveling. The photo on the right was taken at the Irish School of Falconry, Cong, Ireland during the summer of 2003.