People - Mariana



Name: Mariana A. Jimenez
Title: Graduate Student
Degree: BA Psychology, San Jose State University
Research Area: Behavioral Neuroscience, Neuroendocrinology
Program: Interdepartmental Neuroscience (NUIN)
Northwestern University
Department of Neurobiology & Physiology
2205 Tech Drive, Hogan 2-160
Evanston, IL 60208
Phone: (847) 491-5528
E-mail: m-jimenez2@northwestern.edu

Research Description:  
My research project focuses on the neurobiological influences of reproductive hormones on social behaviors.  Sex steroid hormones such as progesterone, which are involved in the facilitation of male and female reproductive function, can also alter social behaviors.  Using progesterone receptor knock-out mice (PRKO’s), my laboratory has found that lack of this important steroid hormone receptor facilitates paternal behavior in the male.  Progesterone has also been found to alter the expression of central vasopressin and oxytocin in extra-hypothalamic systems, neuropeptides known to modulate specific social behaviors.  Vasopressin and oxytocin treatment seem to share similar behavioral effects as progesterone antagonism and are both required in the formation of social memories and the discrimination of previously encountered individuals.  Interestingly, these neuropeptides have also been linked to psychiatric disorders such as autism. Using the PRKO mouse model, the goal of my research project is to elucidate the relationship between these neuropeptides and progesterone and to begin to understand how the interaction between these systems, alter sociality, social discrimination and affiliation.  Understanding how the brain collects and processes social information is an extremely important part of understanding many psychiatric disorders.












Dr. Jon E. Levine
Department of Neurobiology and Physiology -  Institute for Neuroscience – Center for Reproductive Science
Northwestern University
2205 Tech Drive, Evanston, IL 60208. Office Phone: 847-491-7180. Lab Phone 847-491-7949

E-Mail: jlevine@northwestern.edu

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