Phone: (919) 966-4447
B.A., History, Duke University
M.D., University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Fellowship, Neurobiology, University of North Carolina
Residency, Psychiatry, University of North Carolina Memorial Hospital
In addition to his position in the Department of Psychiatry, Dr Pedersen is also on the faculty of the Neurobiology Curriculum, Neuroscience Center and the Center for Developmental Science at UNC. Dr. Pedersen’s laboratory conducts animal research on brain systems that motivate mothers to care for their infants and that activate female sexual behavior, areas in which he has received numerous research grants, has published many papers and is an nationally and internationally acknowledged expert. Much of this research focuses on oxytocin and vasopressin, small proteins (peptides) that have many effects in the brain. Dr. Pedersen’s current federally-funded research project is investigating how maternal nurturing received by female rats during infancy alters the development of their brain oxytocin systems, which then influences how well they mother their own infants.
Dr. Pedersen is also an active clinician and conducts research on postpartum depression and other psychiatric illnesses associated with pregnancy and the postpartum period. He treats a wide variety of patients in his outpatient practice and, most years, serves several months as the Attending Physician in charge on one of the UNC Psychiatry inpatient units. Dr Pedersen trains undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who work in his laboratory in behavioral neurobiology. He also teaches medical students and resident physicians who rotate through the psychiatric inpatient service. In addition, Dr. Pedersen frequently gives talks about psychiatric issues related to pregnancy within the UNC Medical School and at AHEC sites and also speaks regularly locally and at national and international scientific meetings on the biology of maternal and sexual behavior and oxytocin systems in the brain.
- Pedersen CA: Oxytocin control of maternal behavior: regulation by sex steroids and offspring stimuli. In: The Integrative Neurobiology of Affiliation, Carter CS, Kirkpatrick B, Lederhendler II (eds.), Cambridge, Massachussets, The MIT Press, pp. 301-320, 1998.
- Boccia ML, Pedersen CA: Brief vs. long maternal separations in infancy: contrasting relationships with adult maternal behavior and lactation levels of aggression and anxiety. Psychoneuroendocrinology 26:657-672, 2001.
- Pedersen CA: Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders: a guide for the nonpsychiatric clinician with an aside on thyroid associations with postpartum mood. Thyroid 9:691-697, 1999.
- Pedersen CA, Boccia ML: Oxytocin maintains as well as initiates female sexual behavior: effects of a highly selective oxytocin antagonist. Horm Behav 41:170-177, 2002.
- Pedersen CA, Boccia ML: Oxytocin links mothering received, mothering bestowed and adult stress responses. Stress 5:259-267, 2002.