Alexandra Garcia

Alexandra Garcia

Alexandra Garcia

alexandra.garcia@utexas.edu
Graduate Student, Department of Psychology

Background: I graduated from Arizona State University in 2010 with a B.S. in Psychology. During my time at ASU, I worked in Dr. Heather Bimonte-Nelson’s memory and aging research laboratory studying the effects of estrogen and progesterone on cognitive and neurobiological endpoints using various rodent models of menopause. In summer 2010, I participated in the summer fellowship program at The Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh (CNUP) and worked under the mentorship of Dr. Anthony Kline. Our research focused on optimizing rehabilitation treatment after traumatic brain injury. Specifically, we investigated the role of neurogenesis in environmental enrichment-mediated behavioral benefits in rats after experimental traumatic brain injury.

Current Research: I am currently a 3rd year graduate student in the Psychology department in the Behavioral Neuroscience area. I joined the Gore lab in the summer of 2011. Since joining the lab I have become interested in studying behavioral, molecular, and neuroanatomical components of social functioning. My main research focus is studying how timing and duration of estradiol (E2) treatment (relative to ovariectomy, as a model for hormone deprivation) affect social interaction and social memory. I look at the underlying molecular and cellular changes in the brain by using real-time PCR.  Tissues from the behaviorally characterized rats are used to determine effects of aging and E2 timing/duration on some of the neural circuits that underlie social behaviors. In the future I plan on using immunohistochemistry and stereological counting to assess protein expression and neuroanatomical localization. My choices of protein targets and brain regions will be determined by the most robust qPCR results. The implications of this work are relevant to all women undergoing menopause or surgical oophorectomy and may guide novel estrogen therapeutic strategies with respect to the timing and to identify the shortest possible duration to minimize risk.

Publications:
Yelleswarapu, N. K., Tay, J. K., Fryer, W. M, Shah, M. A., Garcia, A. N., Cheng, J. P., and Kline, A. E. (2012). Elucidating the role of 5-HT1A and 5-HT7 receptors on 8-OH-DPAT-induced behavioral recovery after experimental traumatic brain injury. Neurosci Lett 515:153-156.

Wolf A. B., Braden B. B., Bimonte-Nelson H., Kusne Y., Young N., Engler-Chiurazzi E., Garcia A. N., Walker, D. G., Moses, G. S., Tran H., Laferla F., Lue L., Emerson Lombardo N., and Valla, J. (2012). Broad-based nurtritional supplementation in 3xTg Mice corrects mitochondrial function and indicates sex-specificity in response to Alzheimer’s disease intervention. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 1;32 (1):217-232.

Garcia, A. N., Shah, M. A., Dixon, C. E., Wagner, A. K., and Kline, A. E. (2011). Biologic and plastic effects of experimental traumatic brain injury treatment paradigms and their relevance to clinical rehabilitation. PMR 3:S18-S27.

Braden, B. B., Garcia, A. N., Mennenga, S. E., Prokai, L., Villa, S. R., Acosta, J. I., Lefort, N., Simard, A. R., and Bimonte-Nelson, H. A. (2011). Cognitive-impairing effects of medroxyprogesterone acetate in the rat: independent and interactive effects across time. Psychopharmacology 218 (2):405-418.

Selected Abstracts:
Weiling Y., Garcia, A. N., Dang, N. V., Wang, X., Tesfamariam, H. M., Liang, J., Pham, B., Carroll, A., and Gore, A. C. Timing and duration of estradiol treatment in a rat menopause model: Activity and diurnal rhythms. Society for Neuroscience, 2013.

Dang, N. V., Garcia, A. N., Jones, T. A., Gore, A. C., and Yin, W. Hormone treatment and fine motor skill learning in middle-aged rats. Society for Neuroscience, 2012.

Phelps, T. I., McAloon, R. L., Yelleswarapu, N. K., Garcia, A. N., Shah, M. A., Cheng, J. P., and Kline, A. E. The therapeutic efficacy of aripiprazole after experimental traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma, 28:A103, 2011; and Program No 462.08, 2011 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. Washington, DC: Society for Neuroscience, 2011.

Garcia, A. N., Shah, M. A., and Kline, A. E. The role of neurogenesis in environmental enrichment-mediated behavioral benefits after experimental traumatic brain injury. Safar Center for Resuscitation Student Research Day, University of Pittsburgh, 2010.

Talboom, J. S., Engler-Chiurazzi, E., Whiteaker, P., Simard, A., Scheldrup, M., Cosand, M., Garcia, A. N., Mennenga, S., Bowman, B., Lukas, R., Prokai, L., and Bimonte-Nelson, H.A. Components of the most commonly prescribed hormone therapy improve cognition, alter nicotinic binding sites in cognitive brain regions and suppress luteinizing hormone in the surgically menopausal rat. Society for Neuroscience, 2009.


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