Laura Fonken is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Fonken’s research investigates interactions between the endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. Current projects focus on endogenous (e.g. circadian rhythms) and exogenous (e.g. infection and injury) factors that influence neuroimmune function across the lifespan.
Dr. Fonken completed her PhD in Neuroscience in Dr. Randy Nelson’s laboratory at The Ohio State University. Laura’s dissertation research focused on the effects of nighttime light exposure on physiology and behavior. During her PhD, Dr. Fonken was supported by an American Heart Association pre-doctoral fellowship. Several of Dr. Fonken’s studies from graduate school were featured in the popular press, including National Public Radio, The Economist, and The Telegraph.
Next, Laura completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Dr. Steven Maier’s laboratory in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. In the Maier laboratory, Laura received a National Institute on Aging NRSA fellowship (F32) and a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator Grant to support her work. Dr. Fonken’s research focused on understanding how heightened neuroinflammatory responses contribute to mood disorders and cognitive impairments with aging.