Dr. Marina Cholanian began her research career during her undergraduate studies at University of Massachusetts (UMass), Boston, where she was a team member of the Behavioral Neuroscience lab of Dr. S. Tiffany Donaldson studying sex differences in amphetamine addiction. This project sparked her interest in how steroid hormones, specifically estrogens, modulate neuronal activity in different areas of the brain. Upon graduation from UMass summa cum laude she enrolled in Graduate Interdisciplinary Doctorate Program in Neuroscience at University of Arizona, Tucson. Dr. Cholanian’s initial interest in estrogen-induced regulation of neuronal activity resulted in a decision to join the lab of Dr. Naomi E. Rance, the main focus of which is neuroendocrine control of reproduction. During her studies at University of Arizona, Dr. Cholanian received multiple merit-based awards, including Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) fellowship, Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation fellowship, and Evelyn F. McNight Brain Institute fellowship.
For her doctoral dissertation thesis Dr. Cholanian used Tac2-EGFP transgenic mice to characterize estrogen-induced modulation of morphological and electrophysiological properties of arcuate NKB neurons, which are thought to be critical players in estrogen negative feedback. Her dissertation, defended in 2013, led to 3 publications and multiple abstracts presented at Society for Neuroscience Annual meetings.
Upon completion of her PhD, Dr. Cholanian joined the laboratory of Dr. Ralph Fregosi (University of Arizona, Tucson) as a postdoctoral fellow, where she investigated the effects of prenatal nicotine exposure on medullary networks involved in neuronal control of breathing. Although Dr. Cholanian had great interest in this work and produced 2 manuscripts (currently under review) during her time in Fregosi lab, her passion for neuroendocrine control of reproduction led to a decision to pursue a second postdoctoral position at the Reproductive Endocrine Unit.
Currently Dr. Cholanian is working with Dr. Seminara to elucidate mechanisms by which neuropeptides, including kisspeptin and neurokinin B, modulate GnRH release in disorders of puberty, including hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and Kallman’s syndrome.