Distinguished Faculty: Steering Committee

James G. Pfaus

Concordia University

Originally from the US, Jim Pfaus received his Ph.D. in behavioral neuroscience from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver in 1990. After postdoctoral training in molecular biology and behavior at the Rockefeller University in New York City with Dr. Donald Pfaff, he joined Center for Studies in Behavioral Neurobiology, Department of Psychology at Concordia University in Montréal in 1992 where he is currently a professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, and a university research fellow, with cross-appointments to the graduate programs in Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Exercise Science. His research is generally concerned with the neurochemical and molecular events that subserve sexual behavior and neuroendocrine functions. His particular interests are in the role of brain monoamine and neuropeptide systems in sexual arousal, desire, reward, and inhibition in laboratory animals, and the role played by steroid hormones and cell-signalling mechanisms in the neuronal and behavioral responses to primary and conditioned sexual stimuli, especially those that induce conditioned sexual excitation and inhibition, resulting in epigenetic changes to neurochemical systems that subserve sexual partner preferences. His research in human sexual function is focused on subjective and objective measures of sexual desire and pleasure in women and men using a combination of eye-tracking, EEG, brain imaging, and genital arousal measures. His research is funded by operating grants from CIHR and NSERC (Canada), FRQS (Québec), and NIH (USA). In addition, he has held consulting grants from several pharmaceutical and biotech companies to work on the sexual side-effects of different psychiatric medications and on the identification of new drugs to treat male and female sexual dysfunctions. He has published over 200 research papers, reviews, and book chapters in peer-reviewed journals and books, and presented his research at numerous scientific conferences and consultations worldwide. His research into the mechanisms of conditioned sexual responses and sexual desire in the brain has received international attention and been the subject of many newspaper, magazine, and television reports (notably interviews in Playboy, American Scientist, and Urbania), and featured in lay books about sex and sexuality. He is interviewed regularly on news reports and syndicated programs such as Discovery Channel's Sex Files, Daily Planet, and The Nature of Things. He has appeared on French TV (most recently on Télé-Québec's Code Chastenay) and he has been interviewed in numerous documentaries, including the joint HBO-BBC documentary "Middle Sex". He is Editor-in-Chief of Current Sexual Health Reports, an Associate Editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine and Sexual Medicine Reviews, and sits on the editorial boards of the Behavioral Neuroscience. Physiology & Behavior, and Investigative and Clinical Urology. He is the immediate Past President of the International Academy of Sex Research. He has served as scientific program chair for the International Academy of Sex Research, International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health, and the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. He also serves as a member of the Standards Committee for International Society for Sexual Medicine, and was Chair of the preclinical research committee for the 2010 and 2015 International Consultations in Sexual Medicine. He has served as a member and chair of several grant selection committees for Canadian (CIHR, NSERC) and US (NIH) granting agencies. Dr. Pfaus also serves as the Chair of both of Concordia University's Research Ethics Committees (human and animal), and has chaired university site visits across Canada for the Canadian Council on Animal Care. He currently supervises the research of 1 postdoctoral fellow, 11 graduate students, and 16 undergraduates in his laboratory.