Student Information Training Programs Research Centers

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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Margaret Bell

margaret.bell@utexas.edu
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology

Background: Originally from Michigan, I graduated from Boston University in 2006 with a bachelors degree in Biology, specializing in Neuroscience. While in Boston, I worked with Dr. Caroly Shumway at the New England Aquarium studying differences in navigational abilities between two species of cichlid fish and how they relate to differences in habitat complexity and telencephalon volume.
Upon graduation, I joined the Neuroscience PhD Program at Michigan State University, where I worked with Dr. Cheryl Sisk.  My dissertation focused on the maturation of social rewards during puberty. To do this, we used male Syrian hamsters as an animal model because their interpretations of a social stimulus, female pheromone, shift during puberty. Specifically, I demonstrated that these cues are inherently rewarding only after pubertal development and that this rewarding interpretation of female pheromones can be facilitated by testosterone and is dopamine-dependent. Moreover, using immunohistochemistry, I showed that mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic responses to these pheromones are gained over adolescence, and cannot be facilitated by testosterone.  Together, these results suggest that mesocorticolimbic adolescent maturation may be essential for performance of adult-typical sociosexual behaviors, and that dopaminergic actions outside this system (likely in the medial preoptic area) are essential for testosterone-sensitive modulation of pheromone reward. 
In addition to research, I taught Zoology 402 Neurobiology with Dr. Lynwood Clemens, where we used and tested efficacy of team-based problem-set learning in the classroom.  I also enjoy neuroscience educational outreach in the local community and running/ biking/ hiking/ camping with my husband. 

Current Research: I joined the Gore Lab at the University of Texas at Austin as a Postdoctoral Fellow in June 2012.  Given the known susceptibility of the perinatal brain to the effects of endocrine disruptors, and the normal organizational effects of hormones on the brain during puberty, I am determining the relative contributions and interactions of PCB exposure during these important developmental periods.  As social and anxiety behaviors change dramatically during adolescence, often in a sexually-dimorphic and hormone sensitive way, I am also studying the effects of PCB exposure on play and sociosexual ultrasonic vocalizations, sociability, and anxiety-like behavior.  Additionally, I am investigating associated gene expression changes in hypothalamic, amygdalar, and corticolimbic brain regions. Continued work will seek to determine the molecular mechanisms for such changes, including DNA methylation and miRNA. 

For lists of honors and awards, publications, and posters, please see c.v. (pdf)


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Alexandra Garcia

alexandra.garcia@utexas.edu
Graduate Student, Department of Psychology

Background: I graduated from Arizona State University in 2010 with a B.S. in Psychology. During my time at ASU, I worked in Dr. Heather Bimonte-Nelson’s memory and aging research laboratory studying the effects of estrogen and progesterone on cognitive and neurobiological endpoints using various rodent models of menopause. In summer 2010, I participated in the summer fellowship program at The Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh (CNUP) and worked under the mentorship of Dr. Anthony Kline. Our research focused on optimizing rehabilitation treatment after traumatic brain injury. Specifically, we investigated the role of neurogenesis in environmental enrichment-mediated behavioral benefits in rats after experimental traumatic brain injury.

Current Research: I am currently a 3rd year graduate student in the Psychology department in the Behavioral Neuroscience area. I joined the Gore lab in the summer of 2011. Since joining the lab I have become interested in studying behavioral, molecular, and neuroanatomical components of social functioning. My main research focus is studying how timing and duration of estradiol (E2) treatment (relative to ovariectomy, as a model for hormone deprivation) affect social interaction and social memory. I look at the underlying molecular and cellular changes in the brain by using real-time PCR.  Tissues from the behaviorally characterized rats are used to determine effects of aging and E2 timing/duration on some of the neural circuits that underlie social behaviors. In the future I plan on using immunohistochemistry and stereological counting to assess protein expression and neuroanatomical localization. My choices of protein targets and brain regions will be determined by the most robust qPCR results. The implications of this work are relevant to all women undergoing menopause or surgical oophorectomy and may guide novel estrogen therapeutic strategies with respect to the timing and to identify the shortest possible duration to minimize risk.

Publications:
Yelleswarapu, N. K., Tay, J. K., Fryer, W. M, Shah, M. A., Garcia, A. N., Cheng, J. P., and Kline, A. E. (2012). Elucidating the role of 5-HT1A and 5-HT7 receptors on 8-OH-DPAT-induced behavioral recovery after experimental traumatic brain injury. Neurosci Lett 515:153-156.

Wolf A. B., Braden B. B., Bimonte-Nelson H., Kusne Y., Young N., Engler-Chiurazzi E., Garcia A. N., Walker, D. G., Moses, G. S., Tran H., Laferla F., Lue L., Emerson Lombardo N., and Valla, J. (2012). Broad-based nurtritional supplementation in 3xTg Mice corrects mitochondrial function and indicates sex-specificity in response to Alzheimer’s disease intervention. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 1;32 (1):217-232.

Garcia, A. N., Shah, M. A., Dixon, C. E., Wagner, A. K., and Kline, A. E. (2011). Biologic and plastic effects of experimental traumatic brain injury treatment paradigms and their relevance to clinical rehabilitation. PMR 3:S18-S27.

Braden, B. B., Garcia, A. N., Mennenga, S. E., Prokai, L., Villa, S. R., Acosta, J. I., Lefort, N., Simard, A. R., and Bimonte-Nelson, H. A. (2011). Cognitive-impairing effects of medroxyprogesterone acetate in the rat: independent and interactive effects across time. Psychopharmacology 218 (2):405-418.

Selected Abstracts:
Weiling Y., Garcia, A. N., Dang, N. V., Wang, X., Tesfamariam, H. M., Liang, J., Pham, B., Carroll, A., and Gore, A. C. Timing and duration of estradiol treatment in a rat menopause model: Activity and diurnal rhythms. Society for Neuroscience, 2013.

Dang, N. V., Garcia, A. N., Jones, T. A., Gore, A. C., and Yin, W. Hormone treatment and fine motor skill learning in middle-aged rats. Society for Neuroscience, 2012.

Phelps, T. I., McAloon, R. L., Yelleswarapu, N. K., Garcia, A. N., Shah, M. A., Cheng, J. P., and Kline, A. E. The therapeutic efficacy of aripiprazole after experimental traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma, 28:A103, 2011; and Program No 462.08, 2011 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. Washington, DC: Society for Neuroscience, 2011.

Garcia, A. N., Shah, M. A., and Kline, A. E. The role of neurogenesis in environmental enrichment-mediated behavioral benefits after experimental traumatic brain injury. Safar Center for Resuscitation Student Research Day, University of Pittsburgh, 2010.

Talboom, J. S., Engler-Chiurazzi, E., Whiteaker, P., Simard, A., Scheldrup, M., Cosand, M., Garcia, A. N., Mennenga, S., Bowman, B., Lukas, R., Prokai, L., and Bimonte-Nelson, H.A. Components of the most commonly prescribed hormone therapy improve cognition, alter nicotinic binding sites in cognitive brain regions and suppress luteinizing hormone in the surgically menopausal rat. Society for Neuroscience, 2009.
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Michelle Naugle

michelle.m.naugle@gmail.com
Ph.D. candidate, Institute for Neuroscience

CURRENT RESEARCH
I joined Dr. Gore's lab in the spring of 2008. I am investigating the mechanisms underlying the menopausal transition. My thesis work is based on the observation that the aging brain does not respond to hormones in the same manner as young brains. I hypothesize that this is due to changes in the regulation of GnRH neurons (the ‘master control’ of the reproduction system). I predict that alterations in the distribution of hormone receptors and the physical environment around GnRH neurons are involved in these changes. My research consists of 3 projects in which I aim to answer the question: Why do older hypothalami respond to hormones differently than the young? I am exploring the differences between aged and young animals that received either estrogen or vehicle treatments.
My first goal is to quantify number of cells that express estrogen and progesterone receptors in 2 regions responsible for the indirect estrogen modulation of GnRH neurons. Differences found between the animal groups will provide possible mechanisms for the varied responses to sex steroid hormones.
My second goal is to determine whether GPER, a novel G protein-coupled estrogen receptor, is expressed on the GnRH neurons. This may provide a mechanism for direct feedback of E2 on to GnRH neurons, challenging the dogma that estrogen regulated GnRH via indirect pathways only.
My third goal is to characterize the microenvironment in the median eminence, the region where GnRH and other hypothalamic releasing hormones are secreted. I will also describe subcellular colocalization of GPER and GnRH. This may provide a mechanism that underlies the endocrine changes observed aged animals.  

PREVIOUS RESEARCH
While earning my undergraduate degree, I studied serotonergic modulation of the central pattern generator (CPG) responsible for the escape swim behavior of the mollusk Tritonia diomedea in Dr. Paul Katz's lab. The techniques I used include electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, and confocal microscopy. I also worked on a computer model of the CPG using the programming language Neuron.

BACKGROUND
Before entering the neuroscience graduate program at UT, I earned a B.S. in Biology with concentration in neuroscience and behavior and a minor in Chemistry. I graduated Magna cum laude, from Georgia State University in December of 2006.  I spent 3 years studying electrical engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology before transferring to Georgia State. I tutored students in chemistry, biology, physics, JAVA and statistics and also worked as a teacher’s assistant in chemistry and digital design lab classes. I worked in the service industry for many years, which enabled me to pay for school.

SELECTED ABSTRACTS

  • Naugle M, Guarraci F, Yin W, Gore A. Ultrastructural Properties of the Median Eminence are Altered During Reproductive Aging in the Female Rhesus Macaque. (2011). The Endocrine Society Conference
  • Naugle M, Nguyen L, Merceron T, Gore A. Stereologic Analysis of Progesterone Receptor in the Hypothalamus of Female Rhesus Macaques and Its Regulation by Aging and Estrogen. (2011) The Endocrine Society Conference & (2011) Institute for Neuroscience Symposium
  • Walker D, Shalk A, Tillekeratne S, Yoon J, Dihn N, Taing D, Riha P, Kermath A, Naugle M, Gore A. (2010). Transgenerationsal Effects of Estrogenic Endocrine Dispruptors on Embryonic Development. Gordon Research Conference on Environmental Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals.

HONORS
Howard Hughes Biotechnology Fellowship   Georgia State University August 2006


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Michael Reilly

michaelreillyp@gmail.com
Graduate Student, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology

I received a B.S in biology at the University of Texas-Pan American (Now UT-RGV) in 2011 where my research focused on the hormonal effects of chronic, low-dose arsenic exposure in rats. I moved to Austin and joined the Gore lab during the the summer of 2011. I'm currently a 3rd year graduate student in the Pharmacology & Toxicology division within the College of Pharmacy. My ongoing research investigates the mechanism(s) by which polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) may serve as an endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC). Exposure to PCBs during particularly sensitive periods of neuronal development could lead to dysfunctional physiology and behavior in adulthood. I'm especially interested in the neuroendocrine processing of social behavior and how PCBs may alter this complex system.


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Lindsay Thompson

lindsay.thompson82@gmail.com
Laboratory and Project Manager

I graduated from the University of North Texas in 2008 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. After graduating I worked at UT Southwestern where I helped to develop transgenic rats and improved the cell culturing methods involved in maintaining rat spermatogonial stem cells.
 
I joined Dr. Gore's lab in November of 2009. I am currently a lab manager overseeing a project that is dedicated to studying the effects of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the neuroendocrine system. The first goal of this project is to study the effects of PCBs on gene expression of steroid hormone receptors in the hypothalamus. The next goal of this project is to determine if fetal exposure to PCBs causes permanent effects in the hypothalamus through DNA methylation and histone modifications of steroid hormone receptors. Previous studies have shown that prenatal exposure to PCBs has an effect on the neuroendocrine system throughout development and therefore it is my goal to determine if those effects continue across three generations.


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 4, 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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> Read more about Dr. Mukhopadhyay's research.


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"Drugs, the Brain and Behavior" is co-authored by Dr. Carlton Erickson, the college's associate dean for research and graduate studies, and Dr. John Brick, executive director of Intoxikon International.

> Read more about Dr. Erickson's new book.


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Andrea Gore is named to the SEBM Distinguished Scientist Award.

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