Monique “Mo” Monita: 2005-2009

Monique "Mo" Monita

Monique “Mo” Monita

Monique.monita@gmail.com
Texas Interdiscplinary Plan, Neurobiology
Texas IP Minor, Medical Ethics and Policy

Background
A senior at the University of Texas at Austin, I’ve been a member of the Gore Lab since the summer of 2005. I’ve been affiliated with the American Medical Student Association, Science Undergraduate Research Group, and the Texas Interdiscplinary Plan. From August 2007 to May 2008, I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark to fulfill my minor requirements and give the Gore lab a break from my shenanigans. After graduation I plan to attend medical school in hopes of becoming a physician scientist.

Research
In the Gore Lab, the bulk of my research has been in collaboration with Weiling Yin, the now resident postdoctoral researcher. During this time, I studied the expression of estrogen receptor-alpha on glia and neurons in the median eminence of the hypothalamus. Furthemore, I assisted in creating three-dimensional reconstructions of GnRH neuroterminals. After coming back from abroad, I’m now working with another graduate student in the lab, Sarah Dickerson. Together, we are studying the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) on the developing brain, specifically the sexually dimorphic nuclei. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a particular class of EDCs that are prominent within the environment. If alterations in sexually dimorphic nuclei arise within the brain due to PCBs, such regions may become feminized, de-feminized, masculinized, or de-masculinized. These structural changes may be manifested in reproductive function and behavior. I’ve hypothesized that perinatal exposure to PCBs causes a change in the adult AVPV volume and the number of neurons exhibiting ER-alpha immunopositive nuclei and I’m currently in the stages of testing this hypothesis.

Research Interships
Neuroendocrine Clinical Research, Laurence Katznelson, M.D., Department of Neurosurgery, The Pituitary Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Summer 2008

Neuroendocrine Laboratory Research, Michael Woller, Ph.D., College of Letters & Sciences, University of Wisconsin- Whitewater, Summer 2006

Abstracts
Sarah M. Dickerson, Stephanie Cunningham, Monique Monita, Andrea C. Gore (2009) Perinatal exposure to PCBs disrupts sexual differentiation of the reproductive neuroendocrine axis. The Endocrine Society’s 2009 International Meeting, Washington, D.C.

Weiling Yin, Monique M. Monita, Sharon Kin, Di Wu, Andrea C. Gore (2008) GnRH Neuroterminal Changes and Interaction with Glia in Reproductive Aging. The Endocrine Society’s 2008 International Meeting, San Fransisco, California.

Weiling Yin, Monique M. Monita, Kristen K. Reynolds, Di Wu, Jacqueline A. Maffucci, Andrea C. Gore (2007) GnRH Neuroterminal Properties in Reproductive Aging. The Endocrine Society’s 2007 International Meeting, Toronto, Canada.

Honors          
Texas IP Research Scholarship, Spring 2008
Danish Institue for Study Abroad Scholarship, Fall 2007 & Spring 2008
Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Fall 2007
Cleo Seelinger Scholarship, Spring 2007
Texas IP Study Abroad Scholarship, Spring 2007
Texas IP Research Scholarship, Spring 2007
International Education Fee Scholarship, Spring 2007
University of Texas Co-operative Society Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Fall 2006
Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Program Research Fellowship, 2005-2006