Katherine Tonn Eisinger

Entering Class - 2012

E-MAIL: tonnx012@umn.edu

Undergraduate Institution And Major: 
St. Olaf College, B.A. in Psychology/Neuroscience, 2011

Graduate Advisor:
Paul Mermelstein, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Thesis Committee Members:

Description Of Graduate Research:
I study the cellular and molecular signaling pathways responsible for effects of estrogen in the brain. These pathways are involved in learning and memory, drug abuse, and other forms of plasticity. Specifically, my research focuses on the importance of post-translational palmitoylation of estrogen receptors and caveolin proteins for membrane-initiated estrogen signaling. I use a variety of biochemical and molecular techniques to accomplish this.  

Research Categories:

  • Neuroscience of Drug Abuse and Addiction
  • Neuroendocrine and Homeostatic Systems

Gradate Level Awards And Honors:

  • Stark Travel Award

Graduate Level Publications:

  • Eisinger KRT, Woolfrey KM, Swanson SP, Schnell SA, Meitzen J, Dell'Acqua M, Mermelstein PG. Palmitoylation of caveolin-1 is regulated by the same DHHC acyltransferases that modify steroid hormone receptors. J Biol Chem. 2018 Aug 29. pii: jbc.RA118.004167.
  • Tonn Eisinger KR, Gross KS, Head BP, Mermelstein PG. Interactions between estrogen receptors and metabotropic glutamate receptors and their impact on drug addiction in females. Horm Behav. 2018 Mar 2. pii: S0018-506X(18)30021-7.
  • Tonn Eisinger KR, Larson EB, Boulware MI, Thomas MJ, Mermelstein PG. Membrane estrogen receptor signaling impacts the reward circuitry of the female brain to influence motivated behaviors. Steroids. 2018 May;133:53-59.

Graduate Level Abstracts:

  • Gross K, Tonn KR, Mermelstein PG. 2016. Overexpression of caveolin-1 in the nucleus accumbens enhances cocaine-induced locomotor activity. Abstract for poster presentation, Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.
  • Tonn KR, Mermelstein PG. 2016 Caveolin-1 is palmitoylated by same DHHC enzymes as steroid hormone receptors. Abstract for poster presentation, Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA.
  • Tonn KR, Mermelstein PG. (2014) Caveolin-1 palmitoylation has a role in membrane-initiated ERα signaling. Abstract for poster presentation, Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C.
  • Martinez LA, Peterson BM, Trotter KJ, Tonn KR, Mermelstein PG. (2015) Estradiol facilitation of cocaine self-administration in female rats requires activation of mGluR5. Abstract for poster presentation, Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

Professional Presentations:

  • Exploring the role of Caveolin-1 in cocaine-induced behavior. Oral presentation at Department of Neuroscience Colloquium Series, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, April 5, 2017.
  • Caveolin-1 Palmitoylation. Oral presentation at Department of Neuroscience Colloquium Series, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, April 13, 2016.
  • Membrane-initiated estrogen signaling: Regulation by post-translational palmitoylation. Oral presentation at Department of Neuroscience Colloquium Series, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, April 15, 2015.
  • Membrane-initiated estrogen signaling. Oral presentation for Carleton College Neuroscience Senior Capstone Course, Northfield, MN, April 23, 2015.
  • Mechanisms underlying rapid estrogen signaling. Research talk at St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, March 19, 2014.

Rotations:

GPN Committees:

  • Seminar Committee, 2014-2016
  • Retreat Planning Committee, 2014
  • Social Media Committee, 2013

Professional Outreach:

  • Brain Awareness Week Instructor, Battle Creek Elementary, St. Paul, MN, Nov. 5, 2015
  • U of MN State Fair Brain Booth Volunteer, Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul, MN, Aug. 29, 2015
  • Brain Awareness Week Instructor, Fair School Crystal, Crystal, MN, Oct. 30, 2014
  • Brain Awareness Week Instructor, Farnsworth Aerospace, St. Paul, MN, Nov. 22, 2013

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Neuroscience, 2013 – present
  • Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, 2013 – present

Why Did You Choose MN?
I chose the University of Minnesota Graduate Program in Neuroscience because of the strong core-curriculum which provides a broad neuroscience foundation, the collaborative environment, supportive faculty, and the strong sense of community among students.

What Advice Would You Give A First Year Graduate Student?
Make sure your rotations encompass a variety of techniques and experimental paradigms so you can be sure to find a good fit.  Keep an open mind - you might be surprised!

Katherine Tonn