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Personal profile

Research Interests

Research Topics

Endocrinology, Ion Channels, Neurobiology, Synaptic Transmission

Disease Research Interests

Neurological and Behavioral Disorders, Reproductive Diseases, Infertility, and Menopause

Education

A.B. 2001 Smith College, Northampton, MA
Ph.D. 2007 University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Postdoc 2008-2014 Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA

Professional Information

Cellular, synaptic, and circuit neurophysiology in neuroendocrinology and epilepsy

My laboratory explores research questions at the intersection of neuroscience, physiology, and endocrinology.  We are particularly interested in the neural mechanisms linking epilepsy and comorbid reproductive endocrine disorders. Both women and men with temporal lobe epilepsy, the most common form of epilepsy seen in adults, show higher rates of reproductive endocrine disorders in comparison with the general population. Importantly, reproductive endocrine problems can reciprocally impact the severity of epilepsy seen and influence the choice and efficacy of anti-seizure treatments. We aim to understand how temporal lobe seizures impact the hypothalamic control of reproduction, and how altered hypothalamic function reciprocally affects seizure activity and epilepsy severity.

Another area of research in the lab examines the roles of estrogen synthesized within the brain in seizures and epilepsy. Although estrogens, particularly estradiol, are primarily observed to have effects that promote seizure activity, much of the attention has been paid to estrogens from the ovaries. The brain itself, however, is also a source of estradiol in both males and females, and concentrations of estradiol in certain areas of the brain can exceed those observed in the circulation. Our ongoing research is examining the specific roles for brain-derived estradiol (neuroestradiol) in excitability and seizures in mouse models of epilepsy and Alzheimer disease.

To perform our research, we use several techniques including patch clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics/chemogenetics, stereotactic surgeries, electroencephalography (EEG), viral vectors, neuroanatomy, and behavioral assays. 

Honors & Awards

List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, 2016, 2021
Center for Advanced Study Fellow, UIUC 2020-2021
Brain Research Foundation Fay/Frank Seed Grant, 2016-2018
Whitehall Foundation Research Grant, 2016-2019
NARSAD Young Investigator Grant, 2016-2018
Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) Taking Flight Award, 2014
McCormick Advanced Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford School of Medicine, 2012
Epilepsy Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2011
Endocrine Scholars Award, The Endocrine Society, 2008
Peach Outstanding Graduate Student Award, University of Virginia, 2006
NIH National Research Service Award, 2005-2007
Fulbright Fellowship to Italy, 2001
Beckman Foundation Science Scholarship, 2000

Office Address

524 Burrill Hall
407 S. Goodwin Ave
Urbana, IL 61801

Office Phone

(217) 244-8230

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