+ University of Texas - College of Pharmacy - Pharmacology & Toxicology - Gore Lab Alumni
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Pharmacology & Toxicology

Research and Graduate Training Faculty

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Gore, Andrea C., Ph.D.
J&J Centennial
Professor of Pharm./Tox.
BME 3.510B
512-471-3669
andrea.gore@austin.utexas.edu



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Esther Chang: 2006-2008

esther.y.c@mail.utexas.edu
Pharmacy School student, University of Texas College of Pharmacy

As a pharmacy school student, I worked in Dr. Gore's lab on my Honors Thesis. In pharmacy school I am President of Kappa Epsilon (a professional pharmacy fraternity) and an active member in Rho Chi (pharmacy honors society), Student Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists, and Academy of Student Pharmacists. Outside of school, I work at Walgreens as a pharmacy intern. I also spent my undergraduate years at UT in the Dean's Scholars Honors Program.

My research focused on the effects of prenatal exposure to contraceptive hormones on hormone receptors in the brain. Hormonal oral contraceptives are among the most popular and effective forms of contraception in the US, and the large majority of formulations contain 17-a ethinyl estradiol (EE). Because of human error there is a 5% chance of unintended pregnancy during the first year of use, which can result in oral contraceptive use continuing through the first trimester. My project investigated the effects of exogenously administered EE during pregnancy on estrogen receptor a (ERa in the brains of exposed newborn offspring. Specifically, I focused on effects on ERa expression in the hypothalamus using immunohistochemistry.

Honors:

  • University of Texas, Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 2007

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Tina Chang: 2003-2005

tinachang@mail.utexas.edu
Pharmacy School student, University of Texas College of Pharmacy

Background:

I was an undergraduate pre-pharmacy student who is now attending the UT-Austin pharmacy school. As an undergraduate, I participated in many school organizations such as Texas Medical Missionaries, CantO, Longhorn PrePharmacy Association, EPIC, and intramural sports. In my spare time I like to run, work crossword puzzles, and bake cookies. My future dreams are to graduate from Pharmacy school, study Eastern medicine in a Taiwanese pharmaceutical company, and perform medical missionary work in third world countries.

I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Gore's lab under the supervision of a graduate student, Rebecca Steinberg. My project involved optimizing conditions for enzymatic DAB and fluorescent immunocytochemistry protocols in rodent brain, specifically GnRH, estrogen receptor beta, and aryl hydrocarbon receptor. I followed up by performing microscopic analyses of the expression of these molecules in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain controlling reproductive function. My immunocytochemistry experiments contributed to projects seeking to understand the distribution of these molecules in the rat brain, and their regulation by endocrine-disrupting chemicals.


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Nygerma Dangleben: 2003-2006

ndangleben@yahoo.com
Ph.D. Student, University of California-Berkeley

I graduated from UT-Austin as a Human Biology major. My interests in research led me to become part of the Science Undergraduate Research Group (SURGe), a very active registered student organization here on campus whose mission is to foster undergraduate student participation in UT's cutting edge research. Since then I served as SURGe secretary for the 2003-2004 academic year. I began working in the Gore lab as a work-study student in 2003 and stayed on to perform independent research in the Gore lab until I graduated in 2006.

During my years in the Gore lab I worked on two projects. The first looked at how gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons, the principal regulators of vertebrate reproductive function, may undergo cell loss during embryonic development, and whether environmental toxicants may accelerate this process. The second project, which was performed as my undergraduate thesis, investigated transgenerational, epigenetic effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on mate choice behaviors.

Published Abstracts:

  • Dickerson SM, Walker DM, Steinberg RM, Dangleben NL, Gore AC (2005) Mechanisms for polychlorinated biphenyl actions on GnRH development. Endocrine Society Forum on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Abst., San Diego, CA.
  • Dickerson SM, Walker DM, Steinberg RM, Dangleben NL, Gore AC (2005) Mechanisms for Aroclor 1221 actions on GnRH development. SETAC South Central Regional Meeting Abst., Marble Falls, TX.

Publication:

  • Crews D*, Gore AC*+, Hsu TS, Dangleben NL, Spinetta M, Schallert T, Anway MD, Skinner MK (2007) Transgenerational epigenetic imprints on mate preference. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 104: 5942-5946.

Honors:

  • Endocrine Society Summer Research Fellowship, 2005
  • University Co-op Award for Excellence in Health/Social Sciences Research, 2005
  • Society of Toxicology, 2005, Travel award to San Diego meeting.
  • University of Texas System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, 2005
  • University of Texas, Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 2005
  • NIEHS, Research Training Program for Minority Undergraduates, 2004

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Stephanie Cunningham

stephanie@studio896.com

I am a 4th year Biology (B.A.) major.  I am a member of Tri beta - a biological sciences honor society - and am about to start volunteering as an EMT with a local fire department. I came to the University of Texas almost 2 years ago from a small private school in North Carolina. My first semester here I was fortunate to begin working as an undergraduate in the Gore lab. I was matched with Sarah Dickerson - her project on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) really fascinated me. Coming into college I never saw myself doing research but after taking 2 courses: an intro to research and 'Environmental Toxicology' I was very interested in getting some experience and seeing how/if I liked it. I am so glad I did.

The project that I have been working on with Sarah is one of the EDC projects. We are looking at how developmental exposure to PCBs influences the neonate, pubertal, and adult rat. There is strong evidence to suggest that treatment during a 'critical window' in fetal development has both an immediate as well as a long-term effect on the animal. A landmark of interest in the adult animals is estrogen receptor (ER) alpha expression in the a region of the hypothalamus called the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) that is involved in the control of reproduction. Currently I am quantifying the expression of this receptor in this region [AVPV].


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Sarah Dickerson, PhD

sarah_dickerson@mail.utexas.edu
Former Ph.D. Student in Pharmacology/Toxicology

Background:
I graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2001 with a B.S. in Biology. Following graduation, I worked as an analytical chemist until I began my graduate career at the University of Texas at Austin in June 2004. My research has been generously funded by a one-year appointment to the Toxicology Training Grant, followed by a three-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. A UT University Continuing Fellowship currently supports my research efforts. 

Research:
My research focuses on the impact of a class of environmental toxicants known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on the development of brain regions that control reproduction. There are distinct morphological and functional differences between male and female central nervous systems, a phenomenon known as sexual dimorphism. These differences are predominantly regulated by steroid hormones, and are permanent, taking shape during perinatal development. The early organizational effects of hormones on the developing nervous system are critical. If they are disrupted, adult reproductive sexual behaviors and reproductive physiology are permanently compromised. The goal of my dissertation research is to elucidate the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which normal developmental brain sexual differentiation is disrupted by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a class of persistent EDCs. In my experimental model, developing fetal rats are exposed to PCBs during brain sexual differentiation. My hypothesis is that PCBs perturb normal developmental apoptosis (programmed cell death) in brain regions that contribute to sexual differentiation of the brain in infancy, leading to latent abnormalities in the attainment of adult reproductive function. To this end, I am investigating a group of cells in the neuroendocrine hypothalamus that control reproductive function. This population of neurons synthesizes and releases a peptide called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). In order for GnRH neurons to function properly, they require regulatory inputs from other hypothalamic brain regions, and my study focuses on one of the most sexually dimorphic regions in this regard: the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV). In this region, neurons that express estrogen receptor alpha (ERa) and kisspeptin (KISS) send projections to the GnRH neurosecretory system, and play an important role in pubertal onset, as well as ovulation and maintenance of estrus cycles in females via activation of GnRH neurons. Moreover, the expression pattern is sexually dimorphic, with females having a greater number than males. I've found that one of the repercussions of prenatal PCB treatment is a sex-dependent effect on pubertal onset, with an advancement of puberty observed in females and a delay in males. A potential mechanism through which EDCs disrupt maturation of neuroendocrine reproductive systems is through alteration of the sexually dimorphic expression pattern of ERa/KISS expressing neurons in the AVPV, thus interfering with normal transmission of regulatory/activational inputs onto the GnRH neurosecretory system. Interestingly, protein expression of ERa and KISS at early adulthood is reduced by PCBs in the female AVPV, but not affected in males. In addition, I am currently investigating whether perinatal EDC exposure interferes with GnRH activation during the afternoon of proestrus. These studies suggest that early life exposure to environmental EDCs may reprogram development of sexually dimorphic neuronal circuits involved in neuroendocrine control.

Publications:

Dickerson SM, Cunningham SL, and Gore AC (2010). Neuroendocrine HPG targets of developmental exposure to endocrine disruptors. In: Endocrine Disruptors and Puberty. ed. E Diamanti-Kandarakis and AC Gore. (In preparation)

Dickerson SM, Guevara E, Woller MJ, and Gore AC. (2009). Cell death mechanisms in GT1-7 GnRH cells exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls PCB74, PCB118, and PCB153. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology. 237(2):237-245.

Dickerson SM, Walker DM, Reveron ME, Duvauchelle CL and Gore AC (2008). The Recreational Drug Ecstasy Disrupts the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Gonadal Reproductive Axis in Adult Male Rats. Neuroendocrinology. 88(2):95-102.

Dickerson SM and Gore AC (2007). Estrogenic environmental endocrine-disrupting chemical effects on reproductive neuroendocrine function and dysfunction across the life cycle. Reviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders. 8(2):143-159.

Sailer BL, Liles N, Dickerson S, Sumners S and Chasteen TG (2004). Organotellurium Compound Toxicity in a Promyelocytic Cell Line Compared to a Non-Tellurium Containing Organic Analog. Toxicology in Vitro. 18:475-482.

Sailer BL, Liles N, Dickerson S and Chasteen TG (2003). Cytometric Determination of Novel Organotellurium Compound Toxicity in a Promyelocytic (HL-60) Cell Line Archives of Toxicology. 77:30-36.

Sailer BL, Prow T, Dickerson S, Watson J, Liles N, Patel SJ, Van Fleet-Stalder V and Chasteen TG (1999). Bacterial Cytotoxicity and Induction of Apoptosis in Promyelocytic (Line HL-60) Cells by Novel Organotellurium Compounds.  Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 18(12):2926-2933.


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Ross Gillette: 2007-2009

rossg@mail.utexas.edu
Undergraduate neurobiology and psychology major

Background:
I am a 3rd year neurobiology and psychology major at the University of Texas at Austin. I am a Resident Advisor at Jester East, a peer advisor with the Biological Sciences advising office, and I am passionately involved with Best Buddies International.

I first heard about the Gore lab from a previous professor who suggested it based on my interest in neuroscience, and I have loved being a part of the group ever since joining it over a year ago.  After graduation, I hope to attend medical school.

I am currently working with a Neuroscience graduate student Jackie Maffucci on a project concerning the prevalence of the expression of the NR2b subunit of the NMDA receptor in the anteroventral paraventricular nucleus (AVPV) of the hypothalamus. The NMDA receptor is a part of the neuronal circuitry that controls reproductive functions, and the NR2b subunit of this receptor appears to be particularly important in this role. We are quantifying the expression of the NR2b subunit protein and determining its regulation by both the age of the animals as well as hormone replacement therapies. This research will provide insight into both the role of the brain in reproductive aging, as well as how the brain is able to respond to hormones, such as estrogens, during this aging process. My contribution to the project lies in the labeling of the NR2b protein in the hypothalamic AVPV tissue (immunohistochemistry) and in the quantification of individual neurons in the hypothalamus that are expressing this particular protein (stereology).


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Esperanza Guevara : 2005-2008

EG3655@mail.utexas.edu
Pharmacy School student, Texas A&M Health Science Center Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy

I initiated my undergraduate studies at UT-Pan American. I was admitted to UT Austin's Short Term Research Training for Undergraduate Minority Students in the summer of 2005, and Dr. Gore invited me to continue working in her lab as part of this program. After commuting from Edinburg to Austin every other weekend I transferred to UT-Austin in the Spring of 2006 and have been a part of the lab since then until my graduation as a Neurobiology major in 2008. I am currently a member of Voices for Choice, and enjoy kickboxing and self-defense. I begin Pharmacy School in fall, 2008.

I first started working with the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) GT1-7 cell line in in vitro experiments. At that time, I worked on optimizing the growing conditions for the GT1-7 cell line and then tested effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the release of GnRH, cell morphology, and cell population with fluorescence microscopy. Since then, I have also been trained on microsurgery, immunohistochemistry, brain sectioning, and new undergraduate training, and assisted in managing the Gore lab.

Published Abstracts:

  • Dickerson SM, Guevara E, Gore AC (2006) Differential effects of polychlorinated biphenyl congeners PCB74, PCB118, and PCB138 on GT1-7 cells. Gulf Coast Society of Toxicology Abst, Waco, TX. Awarded second place, best poster presentation.
  • Guevara E, Dickerson SM, Gore AC (2006) PCB77 induces caspase-dependent apoptosis in the GT1-7 hypothalamic cell line. Gulf Coast Society of Toxicology Abst, Waco, TX.

Honors:

  • Society of Toxicology, 2005, Travel award to San Diego meeting.
  • NIEHS, Research Training Program for Minority Undergraduates, 2005 for summer and fall research in Dr. Gore's lab.

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Tim Hsu: 2004-2006

timshsu@gmail.com
Medical School Student, UTMB

As an undergraduate I was a pre-medical student studying psychology as part of the Plan II program. I was also an active member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-medical honors society, and in the Asian American Campus Ministry organization. In addition to my academics and clubs, my hobbies include swimming and biking, playing basketball, and learning classical/jazz guitar. My career goal is to graduate from medical school and practice internal medicine.

In Dr. Gore's lab, I participated in a research study investigating transgenerational, epigenetic effects of an endocrine-disrupting chemical, vinclozolin, on mate choice behaviors. I developed the behavioral assays and analyses, and wrote an honor's thesis based on this project.

Publication:

  • Crews D*, Gore AC*+, Hsu TS, Dangleben NL, Spinetta M, Schallert T, Anway MD, Skinner MK (2007) Transgenerational epigenetic imprints on mate preference. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 104: 5942-5946.

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Sonya Hughes: 2003-2007

sonya.hughes@alumni.utexas.net
Public Health Apprentice for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dallas, TX

Background:

I was a Pre-Med/African-American studies major at UT-Austin. On the UT campus I was involved in Black Health Professions, Longhorn Scholars and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society.

I came to Dr. Gore's lab in 2003, when she had first moved to Austin and was setting up her lab. I was the first work-study student that she hired, and I stayed in her lab until my graduation in 2007. For the summer 2004 I received an Endocrine Society fellowship, which provided me a stipend and allowed me to perform research full time. I began my research projects by investigating the circadian (24 hour day/night cycle) regulation of the timing of puberty, taking a pharmacological approach. I also developed an interest in how puberty is regulated in humans, and wrote a paper with Dr. Gore on this subject.

Currently, I am working for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Dallas, and attending UNTHSC in the Masters in Public Health program.

Publication:

  • Hughes SM, Gore AC (2007) How the brain controls puberty, and implications for sex and ethnic differences. Family and Community Health 30: S112-S114.

Published Abstracts:

  • Gore AC, Feduccia A, Choudhury L, Yin W, Steinberg RM, Maffucci JA, Hughes S (2004) Blockade of the nocturnal increase in GnRH release delays the onset of puberty in female rats. Endocrine Society Abst.
  • Hillsman KD, Hughes SM, Maffucci JA, Gore AC (2004) Circadian regulation of the timing of puberty in rats. Society for Neuroscience Abst.
  • Hughes SM, Yin W, Gore AC (2006) The GnRH antagonist acyline delays puberty and suppresses the reproductive axis of male but not female rats. Endocrine Society Abst, Boston, MA.

Honors:

  • University of Texas, Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 2006
  • University of Texas System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, 2005
  • Endocrine Society Summer Research Fellowship, 2004

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Justin Jefferson: 2007-2009

jjeff06@yahoo.com
Undergraduate Student

I am a third year human biology/ pre-medical student at the University of Texas at Austin. The Intellectual Entrepreneurship program and my passion for scientific research led me to Dr. Gore's laboratory. I began working in Dr. Gore's laboratory in fall 2007 as a volunteer and became an official member in the spring of 2008. I am a member of the Kinesiology Club, a volunteer at Dell's Children's Hospital, a member of the Intellectual Entrepreneurship program, and a U.T. Presidential Scholarship recipient. After graduation, I plan to attend medical school or graduate school.

The Gore lab is a great community of scientists.  I am currently working with a Neuroscience graduate student, Deena Walker on her research project, which is focused on the mechanisms for the control of the onset of puberty. We use quantitative real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to measure mRNA levels of GnRH and steroid hormone receptors. I contribute to this research by carrying out the PCR reactions for the puberty project Deena is working on. I have also learned how to do the ovariectomy surgery for Dr. Gore's work on reproductive aging, and I will be doing real-time PCR measurements of gene expression in the brains of these animals.

Publications:

  • Jefferson JR (2008). Jefferson: Creating a phalanx of citizen-scholars. Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX).
  • Jefferson JR (2008). Finding a niche at UT. Daily Texan (Austin, TX).
  • Jefferson JR (2008). Path to the future is no longer lonely. Austin American-Statesman (Austin, TX).
  • Jefferson JR (2008). A Head Start. The Scientist. Vol. 22: page 25
  • Jefferson JR (2008). Housing Projects to Research Projects. The Alcalde (Austin, TX).

Honors:

  • University of Texas at Austin, Featured story, Exploring All the Options, 2008
  • University of Texas at Austin, Guest Speaker at Gone to Texas, 2008

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Bailey Kermath

baileykermath@gmail.com
PhD 2013, Institute for Neuroscience
Kermath CV (pdf)

Background: I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2006 with a B.S. in Biology; Neurobiology option. As an undergraduate, I worked in the laboratory of Dr. John G. White studying the role of the protein STU-10 in the rotation of mitotic spindle during asymmetric cell division in the C. elegans early embryo. Following my undergraduate studies, I volunteered as a research technician in Capulalpan de Mendez, Mexico for a Union de Comunidades Zapoteca-Chananteca (UZACHI) in their edible mushroom production lab and for Estudios Rulares y Asesora Campesina and Global Environmental Management (GEM) to test the local water quality. Next, I work as an analyst for Covance Laboratories before beginning the PhD program at UT-Austin in the Institute for Neuroscience in 2007. I first worked in the laboratories of Dr. Tim Schallert and F. Gonzalez-Lima investigating the neuroprotective effects of methylene blue in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease. I then joined Dr. Andrea Gore’s laboratory in the Dept. of Pharmacy to study hypothalamic mechanisms underlying the transition to menopause.

In addition to research at UT-Austin, I held offices in the Neuroscience Graduate Students’ Assocation (NGSA) and helped initiate and take part in Outreach activities to teach children K-8th grade about the brain. I also served as Chair of the student-run 15th Annual Neuroscience Symposium and TAed Comparative Animal Physiology, where I took part in “flipped classroom” instruction and problem-based group activities to facilitate interactive learning.

Dissertation Research: I joined the Gore Lab in the summer of 2009. My dissertation focused on hypothalamic changes underlying the transition to menopause using a novel ovarian-intact model of the natural progression to acyclicity in middle-aged female rats. In Aim 1, I demonstrated changes in expression of genes involved in sex steroid hormone feedback (receptors and steroidogenic enzymes) and excitatory neurotransmission (kisspeptin, other neuropeptides and neurotrophic factors) with reproductive aging within the arcuate nucleus (ARC) and median eminence (ME) of the hypothalamus. Cell counting of double-labeled immunofluorescent images confirmed a decrease in the percentage of kisspeptin neurons and their colocalization with estrogen receptor alpha in the ARC. Aim 2 results revealed the importance of glutamatergic signaling through the NMDA receptor in the ME in acyclicity, as chronic infusion of an antagonist for NR2b-containing NMDA receptors into the ME was able to partially restore aspects of reproductive physiology. Quantification of NR2b subunit protein expression through double-labeled immunofluorescence and correlation network analysis revealed the importance of the NR2b phosphorylation state and colocalization with GnRH terminals in the external zone of the ME in these processes. Lastly, in Aim 3 I showed, in collaboration with Dr. Deena Walker, gene expression changes in the ARC and ME with reproductive aging that were altered with perinatal endocrine disruption, including kisspeptin expression in the ARC and estrogen receptor alpha gene expression in the ME. Together my data suggest that the regulation of excitatory stimulation and hormone feedback at the site of GnRH processes and terminals are important hypothalamic mechanisms underlying the transition to acyclicity.


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Sharon Kim: 2007-2008

kimshalon@mail.utexas.edu
Pre-medical student, University of Texas at Austin

Background:

I am a pre-medical student at UT-Austin. I love studying science but I also have an interest in medical ethics. Thus, I am in the Bridging Disciplines Program to get a certificate in Ethics and Leadership, concentrating in Ethics of Health care. Currently, I serve as the president of Women in Science. I am also active in Hunger in North Korea, Nutritional Peer Educator Program, Acts college fellowship, and the FIG program. Off campus, I teach Sunday school at my church. I love playing with kids! In the future, I want to practice medicine and do research as well. I was recently admitted to Baylor College of Medicine for my medical school studies.

In the lab, my work focused on the neurons in the brain that secrete the GnRH peptide from terminals at the base of the brain, and how their interrelationships with glial cells undergo age-related alterations. I used the method of immunocytochemistry for GnRH, and analyzing their expression using the confocal microscope. I hope that my project will contribute to an understanding of how the neuroendocrine GnRH terminals, and their interactions with glial cells, change with age.

Published Abstract:

  • Yin W, Monita MM, Kim S, Wu D, Gore AC (2008) GnRH neuroterminal changes and interaction with glia in reproductive aging. Endocrine Society Abst., San Francisco, CA.

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Jackie Maffucci

maffucci@mail.utexas.edu
Ph.D. 2008, Institute for Neuroscience

Background:

Jacqueline Maffucci graduated from Cornell University in 2000 with a B.S. in Animal Science. During her undergraduate career, she spent a semester abroad at the University of Melbourne studying the flora and fauna of Australia, where she was introduced to the wonderful world of fieldwork. Upon returning to the States, she was fortunate enough to work in the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Adkins-Regan examining the neural basis of maternal behavior in Japanese quail. It was this experience that turned her focus from a career in veterinary medicine to scientific research.

After graduating, she spent two years as a research technician in the laboratory of Dr. Monica Justice in the Molecular and Human Genetics Department at Baylor College of Medicine. During this time, she also tutored high school students in a variety of natural science courses, volunteered at the Houston Zoo as a K-12 natural science educator, and worked as a marine life rehabilitator with the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network. She began her graduate career at The University of Texas at Austin in August 2002 and was awarded an Institute for Neuroscience Graduate Student Fellowship.

During her tenure at UT Austin, Jackie was active in the Neuroscience Graduate Student Association (NGSA), for which she served and headed the committee to organize the annual INS Neuroscience Symposium, and was heavily involved in organizing the INS student recruitment. She also volunteered as a Women in Natural Sciences mentor. She is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, Society for Endocrinology, Women in Endocrinology, and the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. She has also received a number of awards in recognition of her research, including a Glen/American Federation for Aging Research Grant, an American Psychological Association Dissertation Research Award, the David Bruton Fellowship, and a Butch DuBois/Brand Source National Scholarship.

Outside of the lab, she is an avid animal lover and continues to foster her interest in animal behavior. She volunteers her time at the Austin Humane Society, assists in finding foster and permanent homes for South Central Bloodhound Rescue, is a trained United Animal Nations Emergency Response Volunteer, and has recently become involved in trialing her dog in agility competitions.

Research:

My PhD research examined the neuroendocrine mechanisms influencing the onset of reproductive senescence in female rats. Although rats do not have menstrual cycles and do not undergo menopause, they have a reproductive aging process characterized by a loss of reproductive cycles at middle age. Additionally, the reproductive system is controlled by a neural network, of which many components experience age-related changes. The rat provides an excellent model for studying how these changes affect the onset of reproductive aging. Specifically, my research focused on the action of NMDA receptors on the reproductive axis. I studied how changes in NMDAR subunit composition over time may influence alterations in reproductive function of aging female rats and the contribution of estrogen to these actions. Through administration of an NMDAR selective antagonist, I have documented changing reproductive hormone status and gene transcription of GnRH in young and middle-aged female rats. My techniques included tracking changes in luteinizing hormone pulses through serial blood drawing, and quantifying GnRH mRNA expression using real-time PCR. Additionally, I examined the NR1 and NR2b subunit population in the AVPV, and changes with age and steroid hormone treatment.

Currently, the mechanisms by which reproductive failure occurs, and the relative role of each level of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, remain largely unknown. While the reproductive system is very complicated and involves a large number of processes, my goal is to obtain clearer understanding of the contributions of a receptor that appears to play an important role in the onset of reproductive senescence.

Publications:
Maffucci JA, Walker DM, Ikegami A, Woller MJ, Gore AC (2008) The NMDA receptor subunit NR2b affects LH release and GnRH gene expression in female rats, with modulation by estradiol. Neuroendocrinology 87: 129-141

Maffucci JA, Gore AC (2009) Hypothalamic neural systems controlling the female reproductive life cycle: gonadotropin-releasing hormone, GABA, and glutamate. International Review of Cytology: A Survey of Cell Biology, Academic Press, In Press.

Maffucci JA, Gore AC (2006) Age-related changes in hormones and their receptors in animal models of female reproductive senescence. In: Handbook of Models for the Study of Human Aging. ed. PM Conn, Academic Press/Elsevier, 533-552.

Maffucci, JA. (Dec. 2007) Menopause: What every woman (and man) should know. Nside MD San Antonio.

Abstracts:
Yin W, Monita MM, Reynolds KK, Wu D, Maffucci JA, Gore AC (2007) GnRH neuroterminal properties in reproductive aging. Endocrine Society Abstract, Toronto, Canada.

Maffucci JA, Walker DM, Makos B, Woller MJ, Gore AC (2006) Neural regulation of reproductive aging in female rats: The role of the NMDA receptor. American Federation of Aging Research Grantee's Conference, Santa Barbara, CA.

Maffucci JA, Walker DM, Makos B, Woller MJ, Gore AC (2006) The NMDA receptor subunit NR2b affects GnRH gene expression and LH release in female rats, with modulation by estrogen, but not aging. Endocrine Society, Boston, MA.

Gore AC, Maffucci JA, Reynolds K, Wu D, Yin W (2005) Rat models of reproductive aging (and what does the NMDA receptor have to do with menopause?). Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories Symposium on Rat Models & Genomics, Cold Spring Harbor, NY.

Walker DM, LaPlant Q, Maffucci JA, Gore AC (2005) Hypothalamic GnRH gene expression profile in developing male rats, assayed by two quantitative methods. Endocrine Society, San Diego, CA..

Gore AC, Feduccia A, Choudhury L, Yin W, Steinberg RM, Maffucci JA, Hughes SH (2004) Blockade of the nocturnal increase in GnRH release delays the onset of puberty in female rats. Endocrine Society, New Orleans, LA.

Hillsman KD, Hughes SM, Maffucci J, Gore AC (2004) Circadian regulation of the timing of puberty in rats. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Maffucci JA, Ikegami A, Hillsman KD, Woller MJ, Gore AC (2004) NR2b selective antagonists of the NMDA receptor decrease luteinizing hormone levels in young and middle-aged rats. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.


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Brittany Makos: 2004-2005

brittanymakos@mail.utexas.edu
Pharmacy School student, University of Texas College of Pharmacy

Background:

I was a pre-pharmacy student at UT-Austin. During this time, I worked at Randall's Pharmacy as a Certified Pharmacy Technician. Also, I was a Residential Peer Mentor at Whitis Court Residence Halls where I conducted weekly seminars for a group of 20 freshman students addressing academic, social, and skill development topics. I was an active member in the Longhorn Pre-Pharmacy Association, Alpha Lambda and Phi Eta Sigma national academic excellence honor societies. I enjoy watching movies, reading, ceramics and baking.

In Dr. Gore's lab, I worked with a neuroscience graduate student, Jackie Maffucci, who is researching the action of NMDA receptors (NMDAR) on GnRH neurons in young and aging female rats. Over the summer, I provided technical assistance with the rats doing implant surgeries and interval blood drawing. I also analyzed the 120+ brain tissue samples for RNA content.

Published Abstracts:

  • Maffucci JA, Walker DM, Makos B, Woller MJ, Gore AC (2006) The NMDA receptor subunit NR2b affects GnRH gene expression and LH release in female rats, with modulation by estrogen but not aging. Endocrine Society Abst, Boston, MA.
  • Maffucci JA, Walker DM, Makos B, Woller MJ, Gore AC (2006) Neural regulation of reproductive aging in female rats: The role of the NMDA receptor. American Federation of Aging Research Grantee's Conference, Santa Barbara, CA.

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Tyler Merceron

tylermerceron@sbcglobal.net
Medical student at Vanderbilt University

I majored in both Plan II Honors (B.A.) and Cell & Molecular Biology (B.S.).  I was involved in various organizations on campus and held leadership roles in Beta Beta Beta (a national Biological Honor Society) and the Longhorn Premedical Student Association.  While I am dedicated primarily to my studies, I am also a saxophone player, play soccer and am a 2nd-degree black belt in TaeKwonDo and I mentored a middle-school student at a local junior high school.  

I joined the Gore Lab in Spring 2008 as a volunteer after hearing about the lab's dedication to training undergraduates from my Genetics TA.  I worked with graduate student Michelle Naugle on a project involving hormone receptor expression (both the Estrogen Receptor-alpha (ERa) and the Progesterone Receptor (PR)) in the hypothalami of aged versus young monkey specimens.  We used immunohistochemistry to label these receptors and stereology as a means to quantify the number of neurons labeled.  Insight into the change in number of sex hormone receptors in the aged monkey brain will provide information important to the study of female reproductive senescence (menopause) and possible human therapies.


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Foad Meshkinian: 2007 - 2008

foad_mat@yahoo.com
Undergraduate chemistry major

Background:
I am a fourth year chemistry major. My interests in research led me to join Dr. Gore’s laboratory. After I graduate, my plan is to attend pharmacy school.

In my spare time I like to work out, play basketball, and listen to music.

 

Research:
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are synthetic organic compounds that were used in coolants and capacitors until the 1970’s. Exposure to PCBs during development, especially embryogenesis, can result in profound neurological and reproductive deficits. Many of the mechanisms for these deficits are not well understood. My research aims to better understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the PCB-induced alterations in normal sexual differentiation. As an undergraduate research assistant, I work with a Pharm-Tox graduate student, Sarah Dickerson to test the hypothesis the prenatal exposure to PCBs has sexually dimorphic effects on the developing hypothalamus of male and female rats. The research techniques I utilize in this study include immunohistochemistry and microscopic analyses of the expression of ER alpha receptors in rat brains.


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Monique "Mo" Monita: 2005-2009

Monique.monita@gmail.com
Texas Interdiscplinary Plan, Neurobiology
Texas IP Minor, Medical Ethics and Policy

Background
A senior at the University of Texas at Austin, I've been a member of the Gore Lab since the summer of 2005. I've been affiliated with the American Medical Student Association, Science Undergraduate Research Group, and the Texas Interdiscplinary Plan. From August 2007 to May 2008, I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark to fulfill my minor requirements and give the Gore lab a break from my shenanigans. After graduation I plan to attend medical school in hopes of becoming a physician scientist.

Research
In the Gore Lab, the bulk of my research has been in collaboration with Weiling Yin, the now resident postdoctoral researcher. During this time, I studied the expression of estrogen receptor-alpha on glia and neurons in the median eminence of the hypothalamus. Furthemore, I assisted in creating three-dimensional reconstructions of GnRH neuroterminals. After coming back from abroad, I'm now working with another graduate student in the lab, Sarah Dickerson. Together, we are studying the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on the developing brain, specifically the sexually dimorphic nuclei. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a particular class of EDCs that are prominent within the environment. If alterations in sexually dimorphic nuclei arise within the brain due to PCBs, such regions may become feminized, de-feminized, masculinized, or de-masculinized. These structural changes may be manifested in reproductive function and behavior. I've hypothesized that perinatal exposure to PCBs causes a change in the adult AVPV volume and the number of neurons exhibiting ER-alpha immunopositive nuclei and I'm currently in the stages of testing this hypothesis.

Research Interships
Neuroendocrine Clinical Research, Laurence Katznelson, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, The Pituitary Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Summer 2008 
                                               
Neuroendocrine Laboratory Research, Michael Woller, Ph.D., College of Letters & Sciences, University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, Summer 2006

Abstracts
Sarah M. Dickerson, Stephanie Cunningham, Monique Monita, Andrea C. Gore (2009) Perinatal exposure to PCBs disrupts sexual differentiation of the reproductive neuroendocrine axis. The Endocrine Society's 2009 International Meeting, Washington, D.C.

Weiling Yin, Monique M. Monita, Sharon Kin, Di Wu, Andrea C. Gore (2008) GnRH Neuroterminal Changes and Interaction with Glia in Reproductive Aging. The Endocrine Society's 2008 International Meeting, San Fransisco, California.

Weiling Yin, Monique M. Monita, Kristen K. Reynolds, Di Wu, Jacqueline A. Maffucci, Andrea C. Gore (2007) GnRH Neuroterminal Properties in Reproductive Aging. The Endocrine Society's 2007 International Meeting, Toronto, Canada.
                       
Honors          
Texas IP Research Scholarship, Spring 2008
Danish Institue for Study Abroad Scholarship, Fall 2007 & Spring 2008
Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Fall 2007
Cleo Seelinger Scholarship, Spring 2007
Texas IP Study Abroad Scholarship, Spring 2007
Texas IP Research Scholarship, Spring 2007
International Education Fee Scholarship, Spring 2007
University of Texas Co-operative Society Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Fall 2006
Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program Research Fellowship, 2005-2006

 


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Lorenzo Perez: 2006-2008

lperez1064@gmail.com
Medical School Student, University of Texas at Houston

Background:

I graduated from UT-Austin as a biochemistry/pre-medical student. I began working in Dr. Gore's laboratory in fall 2006 as a work-study student, but as of summer 2007 I began working on my own independent research project. I began attending medical school in fall, 2008.

My research focused on the mechanisms for the control of the onset of puberty, which involve the activation of hypothalamic GnRH neurons. In rats, gonadal steroid hormone feedback regulation of GnRH cells is dramatically increased during the pubertal process. In order to ascertain whether this increased sensitivity to hormones is due to changes in expression of their nuclear receptors in the hypothalamus, I worked together with a Neuroscience graduate student, Deena Walker, to determine the postnatal developmental changes in progesterone receptor (PR), androgen receptor (AR), and the estrogen receptors (ERa and ERb) mRNA levels, using quantitative real-time PCR. In addition, I compared the gene expression profiles of male and female rats in order to investigate potential sex differences in the neural changes responsible for the onset of puberty.

Published Abstracts:

  • Perez LF, Walker DM, Gore AC (2008) Neuroendocrine gene expression in the medial basal hypothalamus throughout postnatal development. Endocrine Society Abstract (San Francisco, CA).
  • Walker DM, Perez LF, Gore AC (2008) Sex differences in neuroendocrine gene expression in the preoptic area-anterior hypothalamus throughout development. Endocrine Society Abstract (San Francisco, CA).

Honors:

  • University of Texas, Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 2008

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Karla Resendiz: 2007-2009

karla.resendiz@mail.utexas.edu
Pharmacy School student, The University of Texas College of Pharmacy

Background:
I am currently working on my PharmD degree at the University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy. I am originally from Rockwall, Texas. In my spare time I like to read, relax and enjoy life. I am looking forward to doing rotations in a clinical pharmacy setting, where I hope to learn more about oncology, neonatology, and how pharmacists affect clinical outcomes.

Research:
My Honors Project consists of documenting the expression of membrane ER-alpha receptors on the median eminence of the rat brain. Currently I am working with enzymatic DAB immunochemistry in order to test and optimize 3 different antibodies specific to this receptor. In the future, I hope to determine if membrane ER-alpha receptors are co-localized with GnRH receptors on the median eminence of the rat brain.


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Penny Riha, Ph.D

pdriha@gmail.com
Senior Laboratory & Project Manager

I became interested in neurological research during my undergraduate studies at UT Austin.  After graduating with a BA in Psychology, I decided to attend graduate school at UT Austin with a major focus in Behavioral Neuroscience and supporting work in Toxicology.  I was interested in both normal brain aging and neurodegeneration.  I decided to study under Dr. Gonzalez-Lima due to his expertise in metabolic brain imaging and his unique perspective of the mitochondrial cause of Alzheimer's disease.  I began my graduate studies examining behavior and brain effects of metabolic-enhancing drugs on learning and memory in both young and aged rats.  For my dissertation, I independently created a unique rodent model of early-stage Alzheimer's disease called mild cognitive impairment.  After earning my Ph.D. in 2007, I decided to learn more about molecular aspects of disease and aging, and worked as a postdoctoral fellow under Dr. Michelle A. Lane in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at UT Austin.  I studied the chemotherapeutic mechanisms of retinoids in colorectal cancer cell lines.  Learning techniques ranging from RNA assays to transfection allowed me to appreciate the molecular mechanisms underlying disease. 

After finishing my postdoctoral position, I began working in June 2009 in the Laboratory of Dr. Andrea Gore within the Division of Pharmacology & Toxicology.  One major focus in the laboratory is studying reproductive function and the primary regulator, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH).  GnRH is released in the median eminence, and as such, is a major area of interest.  In addition to my role as Senior Laboratory Manager, I also manage projects that include characterizing the hypothalamic changes in ovariectomized rats receiving hormone replacement therapy.  Specifically, we are testing the hypothesis that there are critical windows of opportunity and durations of hormone treatment that will affect hypothalamic circuits regulating reproduction in aging female rats.  Another major project is based on the hypothesis that glutamate is critical in normal reproductive function and may mediate the transition to acyclicity at middle age.  We are testing the effects of chronic glutamatergic NMDA receptor agonists and antagonists on reproductive behavior and hypothalamic function.  In both projects, we are measuring steroid hormone levels using radioimmunoassays as well as quantitating membrane receptor changes using both light and confocal microscopy.  In addition, we are using electron microscopy to describe qualitative changes in the synaptic ultrastructure of the median eminence, including neural-glial relationships. 

Studying the neural mechanisms of reproductive development and aging was a natural transition from my graduate studies.  Working in the Gore Lab has allowed me to use my existing skills as well as expand my skill set in the laboratory.  I feel fortunate to work in a lab that values teamwork and encourages innovative ideas. 

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Riha PD, Rojas JC, Colorado RA, & Gonzalez-Lima F. (2008).  Animal model of posterior cingulate cortex hypometabolism implicated in amnestic MCI and AD.  Neurobiology of Learning and  Memory, 90, 112-124.

Wrubel KM, Riha PD, Maldonado, MA, McCollum D, & Gonzalez-Lima F. (2007).  The brain metabolic enhancer methylene blue improves discrimination learning in rats.  Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior, 86(4), 712-717.

Riha PD, Bruchey AK, Echevarria DJ, & Gonzalez-Lima F. (2005). Memory facilitation by methylene blue: dose-dependent effect on behavior and brain oxygen consumption. European Journal of Pharmacology, 511, 151-158.

Callaway NL, Riha PD, Bruchey AK, Munshi Z, & Gonzalez-Lima F. (2004). Methylene blue improves brain oxidative metabolism and memory retention in rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 77, 175-181.

Callaway NL, Riha PD, Wrubel KM, McCollum D, & Gonzalez-Lima F. (2002). Methylene blue restores spatial memory retention impaired by an inhibitor of cytochrome oxidase in rats. Neuroscience Letters, 332, 83-86.


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Rebecca Steinberg

rmsteinberg@mail.utexas.edu
Ph.D. 2007


Background:

I graduated from the University of Chicago in 2000 with degrees in Neurobiology and Ecology and Evolution. Upon coming to the Institute for Neuroscience at the University of Texas, I was awarded a University Preemptive Fellowship. I completed the Neural Systems and Behavior Course at Woods Hole, Massachussetts in 2002. As a graduate student, I was president of the Neuroscience Graduate Students' Association, and organized of the Annual Neuroscience Symposium. My graduate research was funded by a two-year predoctoral grant offered by PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers' of America Foundation.

My PhD dissertation investigated the long-term and multigenerational effects of prenatal exposure to a class of environmental toxicant known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). I used a model of prenatal exposure to low, environmental-relevant levels of PCBs on reproductive development, adult physiology and behavior, and effects on the next generation.

Publications:

  • Steinberg RM, Juenger TE, Gore AC (2007) The effects of prenatal PCBs on adult female paced mating reproductive behaviors in rats. Hormones & Behavior 51: 364-372.
  • Steinberg RM, Walker DM, Juenger TE, Woller MJ, Gore AC (2008) The effects of perinatal PCBs on adult female rat reproduction: Development, reproductive physiology, and second generational effects. Biology of Reproduction 78: 1091-1101.

Published Abstracts:

  • Gore AC, Feduccia A, Choudhury L, Yin W, Steinberg RM, Maffucci JA, Hughes S (2004) Blockade of the nocturnal increase in GnRH release delays the onset of puberty in female rats. Endocrine Society Abst.
  • Steinberg RM, Gore AC (2004) Effects of fetal PCB exposure on reproductive neuroendocrine function. Joint NIEHS-ACC Grantee Meeting Abst.
  • Steinberg RM, Gore AC (2004) Endocrine disrupting chemicals alter reproductive development and paced mating behavior in female rats. Society for Neuroscience Abst.
  • Gore AC, Steinberg RM (2004) Reproductive outcomes of prenatal PCB exposures. National Conference on Persistent Contaminants: New Priorities, New Concerns, Abst.
  • Steinberg RM, Walker DM, Gore AC (2005) Prenatal PCB exposure results in altered development and sexual behaviors in female rats. Endocrine Society Forum on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Abst., San Diego, CA.
  • Dickerson SM, Walker DM, Steinberg RM, Dangleben NL, Gore AC (2005) Mechanisms for polychlorinated biphenyl actions on GnRH development. Endocrine Society Forum on Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Abst., San Diego, CA.
  • Dickerson SM, Walker DM, Steinberg RM, Dangleben NL, Gore AC (2005) Mechanisms for Aroclor 1221 actions on GnRH development. SETAC South Central Regional Meeting Abst., Marble Falls, TX.
  • Gore AC, Steinberg RM, Walker DM (2005) Fetal PCB exposure disrupts reproductive physiology and behavior in adulthood. NIEHS Grantee Meeting Abst., Durham, NC.
  • Gore AC, Steinberg RM, Walker DM (2005) Endocrine disrupting effects of PCBs on reproductive neuroendocrine function. Gulf Coast Society of Toxicology Abst., Austin, TX.
  • Steinberg RM, Walker DM, Gore AC (2005) Altered adult gene expression following prenatal PCB exposure - a microarray study. Gulf Coast Society of Toxicology Abst., Austin, TX.
  • Steinberg RM, Walker DM, Juenger T, Gore AC (2006) Perinatal PCBs induce altered adult gene expression in the preoptic area of the female rat. Endocrine Society Abst, Boston, MA.
  • Wagner T, Wu D, Garcia Y, Chin L, Walker DM, Steinberg RM, Gore AC (2007) The effects of gestational ethinyl estradiol exposure on reproductive development and function in adulthood. Endocrine Society Abst., Toronto, Canada.

Honors:

  • PhRMA Predoctoral Fellowship, 2004-2006 ($20,000 for 2 years, Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America) for dissertation stipend.
  • Elected to Sigma Xi, 2005

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Deena Walker

dwalker@mail.utexas.edu
Ph.D. 2012, Institute for Neuroscience

Background:
I graduated from UT in 2002 with a B.S. in biology. As an undergraduate, I worked under Dr. Tom Mabry studying the estrogenic nature of compounds extracted from several plant species native to central Texas. Following this, I began research in the lab of Dr. Su Dharmawardhane and was given an independent project determining the role of TGF-Beta in breast cancer metastasis. In addition to my work in research laboratories, I worked with Dr. Delia Brownson, supervising the preparations for the upper and lower-division molecular biology lab courses at UT-Austin.
After graduation, I was hired as a technician in Dr. Cheryl Walker's laboratory at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Research Division in Smithville, TX. While there, I studied the effects of diethylstilbesterol (DES) on the development of uterine leiomyomas in rats. The research I conducted in Dr. Walker's lab was instrumental in establishing an interest in endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and their effects on the developing fetus.
I worked for two years as a technician in Dr. Gore's laboratory prior to graduate school. While there, I served as the molecular biology specialist for the lab. I established a real-time PCR protocol and developed assays to substitute for our RNase Protection Assay (RPA) protocols, such as assays measuring the primary transcript for GnRH. I was involved in a number of molecular based projects, but was interested in those projects concerning EDCs and development in rats. I completed my own project which sought to elucidate the role of GnRH gene expression in pubertal development in male rats using real-time PCR.

Research:
I started graduate school in 2006. Since being in graduate school, I have expanded my interest in the molecular mechanisms underlying the onset of puberty in rats by studying gene expression changes in sex steroid hormone receptors in the developing preoptic area. Along with Lorenzo Perez, an undergraduate in our lab, I have also begun work identifying sex differences in gene expression in both the preoptic area and the medial basal hypothalamus. We are also interested to determine if the changes in gene expression that we have observed are associated with changes in serum hormone concentrations. Finally, I would like to determine if developmental exposure to EDCs can alter the gene expression profiles in both male and female rats. Together, I hope these studies will help to identify basic molecular mechanisms required for the onset of puberty in mammals.

Published Papers:

  1. Walker DM, Gore AC (2007) Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and the brain. In: Gore AC (ed), Handbook of Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals, Humana Press, pp 63 - 109.

  2. Dickerson SM, Walker DM, Reveron ME, Duvauchelle CL, Gore AC (2008) The recreational drug ecstasy disrupts the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal reproductive axis in adult male rats. Neuroendocrinology 88(2):95-102.

  3. Maffucci JA, Walker DM, Ikegami A, Woller MJ, Gore AC (2008) The NMDA receptor subunit NR2b: Effects on LH release and GnRH gene expression in young and middle-aged rats, with modulation by estradiol. Neuroendocrinology 87(3):129-41.

  4. Steinberg RM, Walker DM, Juenger TE, Woller MJ, Gore AC (2008) The effects of perinatal PCBs on adult female reproduction: Development, reproductive physiology, and second generational effects. Biology of Reproduction 78(6):1091-101.

  5. Walker DM, Juenger TE, Gore AC (2009) Developmental profiles of neuroendocrine gene expression in the preoptic area in the male rat. Endocrinology 150: 2308-2316.


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    Di Wu

    diwu@mail.utexas.edu
    Ph.D. 2009 Pharmacology/Toxicology

    Background:
    I received my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology in 2000 and Master of Science in the same major in 2003, both from Nanjing University in China. I came to the United States in 2003 to begin my Ph.D. work in Dr. Andrea Gore's laboratory.

    Research:
    My current research investigates the effects of aging on reproductive function in male rats to see whether testosterone and estradiol still play important roles in shaping masculine behavior and physiology in older adulthood. In general, I am looking at altered sex steroid hormone levels with aging along with alterations in the numbers and distribution of steroid hormone receptors. Specifically, I am looking at a negative regulation of the density of androgen receptors in response to declining testosterone and a compensatory up-regulation of the density of estrogen receptors, in the hypothalamus and POA. In addition, I am also seeking to determine whether exogenous testosterone treatment can change the alternation of hormone receptor expression in old male rats. My dissertation research will also include the effects of experience on hormones and hormone receptor expression in the brain.

    Publications:

    1. Wang G, Milner TA, Speth RC, Gore AC, Wu D, Iadecola C, Pierce JP (2008) Sex differences in angiotensin signaling in bulbospinal neurons in the rat rostral ventrolateral medulla. American Journal of Physiology, Regul Integr Comp Physiol, 295: R1149-R1157.

    2. Wu D, Lin G, Gore AC (2009) Age-related changes in hypothalamic androgen receptor and estrogen receptor a in male rats. Journal of Comparative Neurology 512 (5): 688-701.

    Abstracts:

    1. Gore AC, Maffucci JA, Reynolds K, Wu D, Yin W (2005) Rat models of reproductive aging (and what does the NMDA receptor have to do with menopause?). Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories Symposium on Rat Models & Genomics, Cold Spring Harbor, NY.

    2. Wu D, Kristobak EE, Gore AC (2006) Do estrogen receptor numbers decrease in the aging male hypothalamus? Endocrine Society Abst, Boston, MA.

    3. Wagner T, Wu D, Garcia Y, Chin L, Walker DM, Steinberg RM, Gore AC (2007) The effects of gestational ethinyl estradiol exposure on reproductive development and function in adulthood. Endocrine Society Abst., Toronto, Canada.

    4. Wu D, Lin G, Gore AC (2007) Androgen receptor and estrogen receptor a cell numbers in the medial preoptic nucleus (MPN) of aging male rats. Endocrine Society Abst., Toronto, Canada.

    5. Yin W, Monita MM, Reynolds KK, Wu D, Maffucci JA, Gore AC (2007) GnRH neuroterminal properties in reproductive aging. Endocrine Society Abst., Toronto, Canada.

    6. Gore AC, Wu D, Yin W, Chakraborty TR (2008) Hormone receptors in the brain and relevance to reproductive aging. Experimental Biology Abst, San Diego, CA.

    7. Wu D, Gore AC (2008) Differential effects of castration and testosterone replacement on sexual behavior in young and middle-aged male rats. Endocrine Society Abst., San Francisco, CA.

    8. Yin W, Monita MM, Kim S, Wu D, Gore AC (2008) GnRH neuroterminal changes and interaction with glia in reproductive aging. Endocrine Society Abst., San Francisco, CA.


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    Weiling Yin

    weiling.yin@mail.utexas.edu
    Ph.D. 2008, Pharmacology/Toxicology

    Graduate education and research:
    My PhD research concerned "the brain control of reproductive aging", the goal of which is to reveal the critical interactions between the female reproductive system and the central nervous system.

    At the base of our brain, in a small, enigmatic, and powerful place called the median eminence, many "brain messengers" dock and depart, including our reproductive messenger - the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Changes at this messenger "harbor" may also affect our reproductive system, and sometimes elicit a large response from the body with dramatic, seemingly unpredictable physical changes. My research was to observe changes to GnRH nerve terminals and their surrounding microenvironment in normal and abnormal physical conditions in rats. Using immuno-fluorescence microscopy and post-embedding immuno-gold electron microscopy on rats of different ages and estradiol treatment, I have found ultrastructural evidence of changes in GnRH nerve terminals, their surrounding glial cells and the nearby capillary system.

    My goal is to understand the natural processes of the interaction of the brain with reproduction during aging.  We do undergo inevitable changes both large and small as we age, but as our understanding of these processes grows, so does our ability to predict and manage them.

    Education & Professional Experience:
    8/2003 - 12/2008: Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, Div. Pharmacology & Toxicology
    1/2003 - 8/2003: Research Associate. Supervisor:  Dr. Andrea C. Gore. University of Texas at Austin, Div. Pharmacology & Toxicology.
    5/2001 - 1/2003: Research Coordinator. Supervisor: Dr. Andrea C. Gore. Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York
    8/2000 - 5/2001: Research Coordinator. Supervisor: Dr. Mary S. Wolff. Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, Dept. Community & Preventive Medicine.
    8/1998 - 8/2000: Resident Physician. Supervisor: Dr. Zheping Gao. China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing. Participated in medical treatments and clinical research.
    8/1992 - 8/1998: M.D., Jinan University School of Medicine, Guangzhou, China.

    Papers

    Yildirim M, Mapp OM, Janssen WG, Yin W, Morrison JH, Gore AC. Postpubertal decrease in hippocampal dendritic spines of female rats. Experimental Neurology 210: 339-348 (2008)

    Yin W, Mendenhall JM, Bratton SB, Oung T, Janssen WG, Morrison JH, Gore AC. Novel localization of NMDA receptors within neuroendocrine gonadotropin-releasing hormone terminals. Experimental Biology and Medicine 232: 662-673 (2007).

    Yin W, Gore AC. Neuroendocrine control of reproductive aging: Roles of GnRH neurons. Reproduction 131: 403-414 (2006).

    Yin W, Gao Z, Meng L. Survey on antibiotic in China-Japan friendship hospital from 1996 to 1999. Drug information of China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Vol. 16 No. 1, (2000).

    Abstracts and Proceedings in National and International Meetings

    Yin W, Monita MM, Kim S, Wu D, Gore AC. GnRH neuroterminal changes and interaction with glia in reproductive aging. The 90th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, San Francisco, Jun 2008.

    Yin W, Monita MM, Reynolds KK, Wu D, Maffucci JA, Gore AC. GnRH neuroterminal properties in reproductive aging. The 89th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Toronto, Canada, Jun 2007.

    Yin W, Reynolds KK, Wu D, Maffucci JA, Monita MM, Gore AC. GnRH release in reproductive aging. The University of Texas College of Pharmacy Celebrating Research Achievements, Austin, TX, Apr 2007.

    Yin W, Mendenhall JM, Wu D, Reynolds KK, Gore AC. Three dimensional (3D) reconstruction of GnRH neuroterminals in the rat median eminence. The 88th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Boston, MA, Jun 2006.

    Hughes SM, Yin W, Gore AC. The GnRH antagonist acyline delays puberty and suppresses the reproductive axis of male, but not female rats. The 88th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Boston, MA, Jun 2006.

    Reynolds KK, Wu D, Yin W, Gore AC. Anatomical relationships between NMDA receptor subunits and GnRH neuroterminals. The 88th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, Boston, MA, Jun 2006.

    Gore AC, Maffucci JA, Reynolds KK, Wu D, Yin W. Rat models of reproductive aging (and what does the NMDA receptor have to do with menopause?). The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories Symposium on Rat Models & Genomics, Cold Spring Harbor, New York, NY, Dec. 2005.

    Gore AC, Feduccia A, Choudhury L, Yin W, Steinberg RM, Maffucci JA, Hughes S. Blockade of the nocturnal increase in GnRH release delays the onset of puberty in female rats. The 86th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society, New Orleans, LA, Jun 2004.

    Yin W, Oung T, Ng CL, Janssen WGM, Morrison JH, Gore AC. Novel subcellular localization of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) within neuroendocrine GnRH terminals, The 32nd annual meeting of Neuroscience Society, Orlando, FL, Nov 2002.

    Yin W, Gao Z. Investigation of disinfectant effect of electrolyzed oxidizing water (EOW) on gastroscope used for hepatitis patients, The 1st International Congress of Asia Pacific Society of Infection Control (APSIC), Hongkong, China, Aug 1999.

    Yin W, Shen Y. Nosocomial Infection control in hospital management, China-USA Nosocomial Infection Control Symposium, Beijing, China, Mar 1999.


    More information about Dr. Gore
    > Gore CV (PDF File)
    > Books
    > Publications & PDFs
    > Articles/Editorials written as Editor-in-Chief of Endocrinology
    > Gore Lab Members
    > Gore Lab Alumni
    > In the News
    > Current Teaching
    > Links to Journals & Scientific Societies
    > Links to UT Departments & Programs
    > Return to Gore's Home Page


Last Reviewed: February 13, 2014

Division Information

Mailing Address:
Pharmacology & Toxicology
College of Pharmacy
The University of Texas
at Austin
107 W. Dean Keeton
Stop C0875
Austin, TX, USA
78712

Email Address: pharmtox
@austin.utexas.edu

Phone: 512-471-5158


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