Kristin SchoepferKristin Schoepfer

– Terrain of the Fertile Crescent –

Department – Biomedical Science (Graduate Student) –
Research Field – Neuroscience –
How image was captured – Phase contrast microscoy –

Research Impact & Significance – My research focuses on how the gonadal hormones estrogen and progesterone act within the brain to contribute to the etiology of mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. The concentrations of these hormones cyclically wax and wane in the female rat’s estrous cycle very similarly to a woman’s menstrual cycle. A rat’s estrous cycle stage can be inferred by examining the abundance and morphology of cells sampled from the vaginal canal. This image depicts vaginal epithelial cells from a rat in proestrus, a stage defined by elevated hormone levels, reduced anxiety-like behaviors, and peak sexual receptivity.