Han Amy Li

Dynamic Regulation of the Circadian Control of Ovulation in the AVPV of the Hypothalamus

This research attempts to determine how the circadian system controls the timing of ovulation, a requirement for successful reproduction. Initiation of ovulation requires a signal from the brain’s master clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). This signal’s necessity in most mammals, including humans, is apparent as disruptions in circadian rhythms lead to reproductive deficits. Currently, the neural pathways and neurochemical mechanisms by which the SCN triggers ovulation remain uncharacterized. Previous work indicates daily rhythms of GABA and kisspeptin, neurotransmitters that inhibit and stimulate ovulation, respectively, are crucial for reproductive maintenance. We will explore the cellular and molecular pathways associated with the coordination of GABA and kisspeptin expression, as well as their roles in the timing of ovulation, using Syrian hamsters, a well-studied animal model of ovulation. This work will contribute to gaining more insight into and finding new treatments for current problems in health fields such as infertility and maternal-fetal health.

Message to Sponsor

This research opportunity allows me to focus on research without having to balance my time with academic coursework. The SURF award gives me the chance to further explore I topic in which I take a great interest and learn more about the process of research in its entirety, from writing a proposal to presenting the scientific findings. I am excited about conducting this independent research and hope it will contribute towards a greater understanding of circadian biology.
  • Major: Integrative Biology, Psychology
  • Mentor: Lance Kriegsfeld, Psychology