William Deering Professor
- Pancoe 2-407
Regions(s): Systems Neuroscience; Brain and Behavior; Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
Research interest(s): Neuroendocrinology; Structural and functional plasticity of neural circuits; Epilepsy; Anxiety and Depression
Our research focuses on steroid regulation of synaptic structure and function and the consequences of steroid-driven synaptic modulation for behavior. Most of our work is on the hippocampus, a brain region important in learning and memory, epilepsy, and in affective behaviors like anxiety and depression. We use a range of approaches in our studies including molecular biology, biochemistry, light and electron microscopy, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, microdialysis, and behavioral assays.
Two ideas driving current work in the lab are: 1) that estrogens are produced not only in periphery as hormones but also directly within the brain as neurosteroids that rapidly modulate synaptic function and behavior, and 2) that some mechanisms of synaptic modulation in non-reproductive parts of the brain differ between the sexes, which is important for understanding how experience or interventions, such as drugs, affect males and females differently.
- Jain A, Huang GZ, Woolley CS. (2019). Latent sex differences in molecular signaling that underlies excitatory synaptic potentiation in the hippocampus. J Neurosci, 39:1552-65
- Shansky RM, Woolley CS. (2016). Considering sex as a biological variable will be valuable for neuroscience research. J. Neurosci 36(47):11817-22
- Sato SM, Woolley CS. (2016). Acute inhibition of neurosteroid estrogen synthesis suppresses status epilepticus in an animal model. Elife e12917.
- Tabatadze N, Huang G, May RM, Jain A, Woolley CS. (2015). Sex differences in molecular signaling at inhibitory synapses in the hippocampus. J Neurosci, 35(32): 11252-11265.
- Tabatadze N, Smejkalova T, Woolley CS. (2013). Distribution and post-translational modifications of synaptic ERα in the adult female rat hippocampus. Endocrinology, 154(2):819-30.
- Huang GZ, Woolley CS. (2012). Estradiol acutely suppresses inhibition in the hippocampus through a sex-specific endocannabinoid and mGluR-dependent mechanism. Neuron, 74(5):801-8
- 2019 Gill Center Transformative Research Award, Indiana University
- 2018 McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence, Northwestern University
- 2016 Transformative Research Award, National Institutes of Health
- 2014-18 Councilor, Society for Neuroscience
- 2013 William Deering Chair in Biological Sciences, Northwestern University
- 2011 Special Lecture, Society for Neuroscience
- 2007-09 Pioneer Award, Northwestern University Women’s Health Research Institute
- 2007 C.J. Herrick Award, American Association of Anatomists
- 2004-05 Faculty Honor Roll, Associated Student Government
- 2003 Distinguished Teaching Award, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences
- 2002-07 Distinguished Young Scholar in Medical Research Award, W.M. Keck Foundation
- 2000 Cortical Explorer Prize, Cajal Club
- 1998-99 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship