Areas of Interest
My research seeks to elucidate the neuronal control circuit regulating reproduction. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons serve as the central gatekeepers of reproduction, ultimately regulating gonadal steroidogenesis and gametogenesis. Kisspeptin neurons in the arcuate nucleus (KNDy neurons) are considered to be the main regulators of GnRH output. However, there is evidence that glia (non-neuronal cells in the brain and periphery) such as astrocytes also play a critical role in reproduction, though the mechanisms of this are incompletely understood. Using a combination of electrophysiology, viral vector targeting, and glial cell cultures, my project aims to first understand to what extent astrocytes influence GnRH and/or KNDy neuron activity in mice. This will be followed by an investigation into the mechanisms underlying astrocyte regulation of reproduction.