Jessie Luoma

Ph.D. 2010

Thesis Title:

Mechanisms of Neuroprotection

Current Position:

Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Stanford University

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

University of Minnesota, BS, Neuroscience, 2003

Major Advisor(s):

Research Description:

The Zirpel lab aims to describe what characteristics define neurons that are within a critical period versus beyond a critical period of development. Specifically, auditory neurons depend on activity for survival during a critical period early in their development. Our goal is to determine what is unique about neurons during the critical period that allow for their susceptibility to death upon removal of afferent activity or deafferentation. The first aim of my thesis is to describe how the transcription factor NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T-cells) plays a role in deafferentation-induced death of auditory neurons during this critical period.

In the Mermelstein lab I am interested in determining what molecular mechanism/s underlie the neuroprotective effects of progesterone. Progesterone has proven to be useful as a therapy following traumatic brain injury, however, it is unclear how progesterone exerts its neuroprotective effects.

Lab Rotations:

  • Paul Mermelstein
  • Lorene Lanier
  • Lance Zirpel

Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:

  • Neural Substrates of Mental Processes PSY 8060
  • Stat Analysis STAT 5021
  • Molecular Genetics GCD 4034
  • Advanced Human Genetics GCD 8073

Conferences Attended:

  • Society for Neuroscience presentations (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
  • Steroid Hormones and Brain Function (Spring 2008)

Committee Members:

  • Paul Mermelstein
  • Paulo Kofuji
  • Robert Meisel
  • Harry Orr - Chair

Selected Publications:

  • Meitzen J, Luoma JI, Boulware MI, Hedges VL, Peterson BM, Tuomela K, Britson KA, Mermelstein PG. Palmitoylation of estrogen receptors is essential for neuronal membrane signaling. Endocrinology. 2013;154(11):4293-304.
  • Luoma JI, Stern CM, Mermelstein PG. Progesterone inhibition of neuronal calcium signaling underlies aspects of progesterone-mediated neuroprotection. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2012;131:30-6.
  • Luoma JI, BG Kelley, PG Mermelstein. Progesterone inhibition of voltage-gated calcium channels is a potential neuroprotective mechanism against excitotoxicity. Steroids. 211;76(9):845-55.
  • Stern CM, Luoma JI, Meitzen J, Mermelstein PG. Corticotropin releasing factor-induced CREB activation in striatal neurons occurs via a novel Gβγ signaling pathway. PLoS ONE. Mar 23;6(3):e18114.
  • Meitzen J, Luoma JI, Stern CM, Mermelstein PG. β1-Adrenergic receptors activate two distinct signaling pathways in striatal neurons. J Neurochem. 2011;116(6):984-95
  • Luoma JI, Zirpel L. Deafferentation-induced activation of NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T-cells) in cochlear nucleus neurons during a developmental critical period: a role for NFATc4-dependent apoptosis in the CNS. J. Neurosci. 2008;28(12):3159-69.
  • Luoma JI, Boulware MI, Mermelstein PG. Caveolin proteins and estrogen signaling in the brain. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2008;290(1-2):8-13.
  • Groth RD, Weick JP, Bradley KC, Luoma JI, Aravamudan B, Klug JR, Thomas MJ, Mermelstein PG. D1 dopamine receptor activation of NFAT-mediated striatal gene expression. Eur J Neurosci. 2008;27:31-42.

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Neuroscience

Home Town:

  • Eagan, MN
Jessie Luoma