Katherine L. Furman
I am currently a PhD student at the University of Michigan Neuroscience Graduate Program. I was a BP-ENDURE fellow during my junior and senior year at New York University, from which I graduated in May 2019 with an Honors B.S. in Neural Science. During my graduate career, I plan to study neural circuits and mechanisms behind motivation and reward systems.
At NYU, I conducted my senior Honors thesis in Dr. Robert Froemke's laboratory at NYU Langone Medical Center, where my research focused on auditory influence on maternal behavior. Specifically, my work investigated the behavioral relevance of infant-related auditory stimuli in female mice of various maternity states. The pup call stimulus is completely irrelevant to a naïve female mouse until she births her own pups, at which time she rapidly learns to respond to the sound she once ignored. My senior thesis investigated the motivational properties of the pup call stimulus to both naïve and maternal female mice. Interestingly, I found that both maternal and naïve mice tend to avoid the sound of a pup call stimulus when the pup is not present, even though only maternal mice will retrieve vocalizing pups when they are present.
In addition to my position in the Froemke lab, BP-ENDURE afforded me the opportunity to gain experience in a variety of labs at three different institutions, and to present my work at a breadth of conferences. During the summer of 2018, I traveled to Yale University to work under Dr. Marina Picciotto, studying the role of inhibitory interneurons in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and how their activity changes during depressive-like behaviors. During the summer of 2017, I traveled to the University of Michigan to work in Dr. Jill Becker's laboratory. Here, my research investigated sex differences in the brain's response to cocaine, looking specifically at how selective estrogen receptors influence dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens of both male and female rats. As a freshman and sophomore at NYU, before joining the BP-ENDURE program, My research career began in the laboratory of Dr. Cristina Alberini studying the expression patterns of Insulin-like Growth Factor 2 (IGF2) mRNA in the rat hippocampus, and investigating the relationship between IGF2 and memory consolidation. All of these research experiences have helped me learn bench skills and life lessons, and contributed to my decision to pursue neuroscience research as a career.
Check out my CV here for a more detailed list of academic achievements