Caitlin Durkee

Entering Class - 2013


Undergraduate Institution and Major:

Georgetown University, B.S. in Biology, 2011

Graduate Advisor:

Thesis Committee Members:

Description of Graduate Research:

The focus of the Araque Lab is to better understand the mechanisms and physiological consequences of astrocyte-neuron signaling in various brain regions. My graduate work in particular investigates the properties and consequences of astrocyte-neuron signaling in the dorsolateral striatum, an area implicated in habit formation, using multiple techniques, including: intracellular and extracellular electrophysiology in both slice preparation and in vivo; optogenetic stimulation; DREADDs application; two-photon microscopy; and behavioral testing.

Research Areas:

  • Behavior and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Synaptic Plasticity and Learning

Graduate Level Awards And Honors:

  • F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, 2015
  • Sping and Ying Ngoh Lin Award, 2015
  • Stark Award, 2015

Graduate Publications:

  • Durkee CA, Araque A. Diversity and specificity of astrocyte-neuron communication. Neuroscience. 2019 Jan 1;396:73-78.

Professional Presentations:

  • Gi/o protein-coupled receptors inhibit neurons but excite astrocytes. Oral presentation at Graduate Program in Neuroscience Retreat, IDS Building, Minneapolis, MN, Feb. 11, 2017.
  • The role of astrocytes in mediating neuronal activity in the dorsolateral striatum. Poster presentation at Graduate Program in Neuroscience Retreat, Nicollet Island Pavilion, Minneapolis, MN, Feb. 14, 2015.


GPN Committees:

  • Steering Committee, 2017-present
  • Council of Graduate Students, 2014-2015
  • Student Board Third Year Representative, 2015-present

Professional Outreach:

  • Brain Awareness Week Instructor, 2013-2015
  • Social Science, Science Museum of Minnesota, Oct. 2015


  • University Economic Development volunteer intern, Spring 2016
  • University Economic Development Fellow, Summer and Fall 2016

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Neuroscience, 2013-present

Why Did You Choose MN?

The breadth of the program, the value of collaborative science, and the sense of community drew me to the GPN.

What Advice Would You Give A First Year Graduate Student?

You belong here! Don’t underestimate what you know and your potential to learn.

Caitlin Durkee