Brenda Cisneros

Carol Elias Lab

Areas of Interest

I am interested in better understanding the neural networks of Prokineticin receptor 2 (PROKR2) expressing neurons that link PROKR2 signaling to reproductive control. Proper development and function of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis are necessary for fertility. A subset of patients diagnosed with Kallmann Syndrome, characterized by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) deficiency and anosmia, have been found to have mutations in the PROKR2 gene. Genetic studies in humans combined with research in mice have determined PROKR2 signaling to be important in the migration of (GnRH) neurons from the nasal placode to the hypothalamus. However, expression of PROKR2 persists in areas of the brain known to regulate reproduction and PROKR2 signaling has been implicated in regulating the estrous cycle via unknown pathways. Using the PROKR2-Cre mouse model we developed, I intend to uncover the neural circuitry by which PROKR2 neurons modulate the HPG axis in adulthood.

Honors & Awards

  • Rackham Merit Fellowship 2016-2018
  • Benard Maas Fellowship 2016
  • Rackham Graduate Student Research Grant 2017