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Psychological Science
Project Proposal

Comparative Analysis of Steroid Mediated Neuroprotection

Kevin Holloway (Psychological Science)

Following injury to the brain, a subset of steroid hormones (androgens, estrogens, and progestins) act neuroprotectively. This hormone-mediated promotion of neuronal survival and repair occurs via alterations of second messengers, regulation of apoptotic and anti-inflammatory genes, and upregulation of neurotropic factors. However, if you look across vertebrates, some vertebrates are more adversely affected by neuronal damage than others. Specifically, work in the zebra finch brain has shown that zebra finches have a faster and more robust steroidal response to injury than other more commonly studied rodent models. The goal of this study is to examine both the expression and effect of steroid hormones and their receptors following brain trauma in different vertebrate model organisms (Zebra finches, Japanese quail, and Mice). Additionally, we also plan on examining the activation of downstream steroid-induced targets following TBI to determine if different organisms activate different targets following TBI. We propose that studies of these species will help in our understanding of the underlying and potentially common mechanisms that regulate the steroid mediated response to neuronal damage. This project will be conducted as a collaboration between neuroscientists from the Biology and Psychological Science departments, and we are hoping to complete the team with URSI students.

Pre-requisites: Ideally, students will have completed NEUR/PSYC 229/249 and/or one of BIOL 226, 228,272, 283 before the summer. Experience with biochemistry and/or the hormonal mediation of behavior, either in-class or in research laboratories, is highly desirable.

How should students express their interest in this project? After reviewing applications, I will contact students to set-up interviews. Students do not need to contact me directly before hearing from me. Any laboratory experience should be clearly noted in the application.