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Meet the Kinsey Institute Researchers

Kinsey Institute Director & Senior Scientist, Dr. Julia Heiman
KI Director, Dr. Julia Heiman
Dr. Julia Heiman

Director, 2004-2013
Senior research fellow

Dr. Heiman is interested in the interaction between sexuality of an individual and their relationships; most current research considers only the individual, and can miss important factors like how partner's attitudes can affect levels of arousal or desire. She is also researching sexual violence, postpartum depression and hormone-behavior interactions.

Kinsey Institute Associate Director & Senior Scientist, Dr. Stephanie Sanders
Dr. Stephanie Sanders
Dr. Stephanie Sanders
Interim Director
Associate Scientist

Dr. Sanders is a member of the research team conducting a long-term research project into condom use errors, with ramifications for public health initiatives around sexual health education and STI/HIV prevention.

Dr. Sanders also investigates factors influencing women's sexual arousal, and contributed to developing the SIS/SES questionnaire for women.

Senior Scientist, Dr. Virgina J. Vitzthum
Dr. Virginia J. Vitzthum
Dr. Virginia J. Vitzthum
Senior Scientist

Dr. Vitzthum is an evolutionary biologist, and has spent over 20 years investigating variations in women's reproductive functioning. Her research with rural populations in the highlands of Bolivia has shown how human reproduction adapts to fit the changing levels of available resources.

Men and women in her Bolivian studies showed fluctuations in ovulation and testosterone levels that corresponded to seasonal shifts. In addition, rural Bolivian women in her studies were able to concieve at much lower hormone levels than we consider normal for American women.

Dr. Vitzthum is taking her investigations to different populations, including nomadic Mongolian herders and comparing former East & West Germans, to examine the effect of various factors like diet and activity levels on hormone production. Vitzthum sees her work as a bridge to the world of applied health policy such as to contraceptive technology, where less hormonal variation among woman and populations is assumed than her research indicates.

Associate Scientist, Dr. Erick Janssen
Dr. Erick Janssen
Dr. Erick Janssen
Associate Scientist

Dr. Janssen was involved in the formulation of the Dual Control model of sexuality, which gives researchers a way to consider how the competing forces of excitation and inhibition vary widely between individuals, and what impact this has on our sexual relationships, and why some people continue to conduct risky sexual behavior.

Dr. Janssen is also interested in the interaction of mood with sexuality. He has conducted studies with couples and individuals to see how sexual and non-sexual emotions can impact sexual functioning, and people's sexual satisfaction. Some of his recent research studies also investigate how substances and behaviors that alter mood, like alcohol use and compulsive behavior, can affect how an individual makes choices about taking sexual risks.

Dr. Justin Garcia
Dr. Justin Garcia

Assistant Professor
Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. Justin R. Garcia is Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender Studies and Assistant Research Scientist at The Kinsey Institute. His research focuses on the bio-cultural foundations of human behavior, particularly romantic and sexual relationships. 

He holds a M.S. in biomedical anthropology and Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from Binghamton University (SUNY). He is co-editor of Evolution's Empress: Darwinian Perspectives on the Nature of Women (Oxford University Press, 2013), and co-author of Evolution and Human Sexual Behavior (Harvard University Press, 2013).

He is also Scientific Advisor to the international online dating site, Match.com.

Dr. Krista Milich
Dr. Krista Milich

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Milich is a biological anthropologist with a focus on primate reproductive ecology, and holds a PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research has focused on the effect of social and ecological conditions on behaviors and hormone concentrations in populations of nonhuman primates, including the red colobus monkeys of Kibale National Park, Uganda, and rhesus macaques on the island of Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico.  

She is currently working with Dr. Virginia Vitzthum to examine how changes in photoperiod in Greenland affect the hormone profiles of Greenlandic women.

Dr. Tierney Lorenz
Dr. Tierney Lorenz

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Lorenz's work examines the bidirectional relationship between sexual behaviors and symptoms of mood disorders. Her predoctoral work included psychophysiological studies of antidepressant use, sympathetic nervous system activity and genital arousal, clinical trials of behavior and writing-based therapies to improve sexual wellbeing in women with mood disorders, and cross-sectional studies of frequency of sexual activity and immunologic markers in men and women with and without mood disorders.

Her post-doctoral research examines how the presence or absence of sexual activity may influence immune response in healthy human females across the menstrual cycle, and if men and women differ in immune response to partnered sexual activity.


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