Let’s first start off by stating that I am a student in the Endocrinology and Animal Biosciences Program at Rutgers. The program I am in is very diverse and we study multiple aspects of endocrinology–or the study of hormones. There are professors here that study anything from cancer biology to the reproductive system to obesity. The lab that I am in focuses on estrogens. Specifically, I am interested in how estrogens control the body–what changes it can make to energy balance (consuming more or less than our body uses), thermoregulation (temperature control), and reproduction.
In addition, our lab is interested in how estrogen acts. Estrogen is considered to be a steroid hormone, which means that it is able to go into cells and bind to a receptor to become activated. However, there is now a new way that it can function–it does not have to go into the cell, but responds to receptors on the outside cell membrane. Furthermore, I am interested in something called KNDy neurons, which are neurons that produce three different genes: Kisspeptin, Neurokinin B, and Dynorphin. These neurons are located in the brain and are important for many body functions including those that respond to estrogen.