Jacob Harrison Levine

Rethinking the Mammalian Reproductive Axis

The current conception of the hormonal regulation of mammalian reproduction purports that the anterior pituitary gland and the peripheral sex organs are controlled by a hypothalamic releasing factor (Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone: GnRH) which acts on the pituitary. Recent research suggests that secretion of hypothalamic releasing factor is itself tightly regulated by neuropeptides that are novel to this line of research. One such peptide, kisspeptin, also known in cancer research as metastin for its role as a metastasis suppressor, has been shown to be a positive regulator of the reproductive axis, acting to increase secretion of GnRH from the hypothalamus. Recently, a novel neuropeptide was shown to be a negative regulator of the mammalian reproductive axis by our lab (Gonadotropin Inhibiting Hormone: GnIH). The goal of the lab is to integrate these two new findings into an updated conception of mammalian reproductive regulation. The present study seeks to use seasonal breeding rodents, whose reproductive systems predictably regress and regenerate, to elucidate the mechanism by which kisspeptin stimulates reproductive behavior.

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  • Major: Psychology
  • Mentor: Lance Kriegsfeld, Psychology