Diane A. KellyHome.html

By day, I’m a scientist. My ongoing research falls under two broad headings:

The Evolution and Functional Morphology of Intromittent Organs. Or in plain English, how penises work. Yes, really. I’ve worked on mammals and turtles, and I’m currently collaborating with Brandon Moore (University of Missouri) and Patricia Brennan (Mount Holyoke College) to figure out how the system evolved in archosaurs. I'm also working on a project with Dara Orbach ( Texas A&M, Galveston) that looks at dolphin copulatory behaviors.  

Want to know more? Check out the talk I gave about penis biomechanics at TED MED 2012.




Sexual Dimorphism in Neural Circuitry.

I’m collaborating with Joseph Bergan (UMass Amherst) to describe the connectome of one subset of neurons in a sexually-relevant region of the brain.

                Selected Research Papers

                      (full list available at NCBI)


 Dwyer J. F. D., D. A. Kelly, J. F. Bergan 2022. Brain-wide synaptic inputs to aromatase-expressing neurons in the medial amygdala suggest complex circuitry for modulating social behavior. eNeuro 24 January 2022, 9 (2)

Moore, B. C., D. A. Kelly, M. Piva, M. Does, D. K. Kim, M. Simoncini, P. M. L. Leiva and C. I. Pina 2021. Genital anatomy and copulatory interactions in the broad snouted Caiman (Caiman latirostris). Anat Rec. DOI: 10.1002/ar.24699  

Vinther J., R. Nicholls, D. A. Kelly 2021. A cloacal opening in a non-avian dinosaur. Curr. Biol. 

Moore, B. C., P. L. R. Brennan, R. Francis, S. Penland, K. Shiavone, K. Wayne, A. R. Woodward, M. D. Does, D. K. Kim, and D. A. Kelly 2021. Glans inflation morphology and female cloaca copulatory interactions of the male American alligator phallus. Biology of Reproduction 104: 374-386.

 Billing, A., M. H. Correia, D. A. Kelly, G-L. Li, and J. F. Bergan 2020. Synaptic connections of aromatase circuits in the medial amygdala are sex specific. Eneuro 7, no. 3.

 Orbach, D. N., D. A. Kelly, M. Solano, and P. L. R. Brennan 2017. Genital interactions during simulated copulation among marine mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284: 20171265.

 Kelly, D. A. 2016. Intromittent organ morphology and biomechanics: Defining the physical challenges of copulation. Int. Comp. Biol. 56: 705-714.

 Kelly, D. A., M. M. Varnum, A. A. Krentzel, S. Krug and N. G. Forger 2013. Differential control of sex differences in estrogen receptor α in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and anteroventral periventricular nucleus. Endocrinology 154(10): 3836-3846. 

Kelly, D. A. 2013. Penile anatomy and hypotheses of erectile function in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis): Muscular eversion and elastic retraction. Anat. Rec. 296: 488-494.

 Kelly, D. A. 2004. Turtle and mammal penis designs are anatomically convergent. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 271: S293-S295 **NB: Anatomical decriptions in this paper remain sound, but the interpretation has been disproved. See Sanger et al. 2015 for details.

 Kelly, D. A. 2000. Anatomy of the baculum-corpus cavernosum interface in the laboratory rat (Rattus norvegicus) and implications for force transfer during copulation. J. Morphol. 244: 69-77.

Kelly, D. A. 1999. Expansion of the tunica albuginea during penile inflation in the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus). J. Exp. Biol. 202(3): 253-265. 

Kelly, D. A. 1997. Axial orthogonal fiber reinforcement in the penis of the nine banded armadillo (D. novemcinctus). J. Morphol. 233(3): 249-255.




 Selected Research Publications