Julianna Goenaga

Entering Class - 2018

E-MAIL:  [email protected]

Undergraduate Institution and Major:

Arizona State University, B.S. in Biological Sciences, 2013

Graduate Advisors:

Alfonso Araque, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Paul Mermelstein, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Graduate Research:

After-hyperpolarization currents are important for regulating neuronal excitability and can be regulated by G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Since astrocytes release gliotransmitters that can activate GPCRs, I am studying the potential role of astrocytes in regulating after-hyperpolarization currents in the nucleus accumbens. Further directions include examining the interaction of estrogen and endocannabinoids on after-hyperpolarization currents.

Graduate Publications:

  • Goenaga J, Araque A, Kofuji P, Herrera Moro Chao D. Calcium signaling in astrocytes and gliotransmitter release. Front Synaptic Neurosci. 2023 Mar 2;15:1138577.


Alfonso Araque, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Paul Mermelstein, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Marija Cvetanovic, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Benjamin Hayden, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Undergraduate or Post-Bac Research:

I was an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Janet Neisewander's lab. I assisted with projects looking at social reward and nicotine intake. I worked at a salivary bioscience lab at Arizona State University after undergrad. Then I worked at Barrow Neurological Institute studying epilepsy. Finally, I worked in Dr. Cassandra Gipson's lab studying sex differences in N-acetylcysteine treatment for nicotine seeking. 

Undergraduate Publications:

  • Goenaga J, Powell GL, Leyrer-Jackson JM, Piña J, Phan S, Prakapenka AV, Koebele SV, Namba MD, McClure EA, Bimonte-Nelson HA, Gipson CD. N-acetylcysteine yields sex-specific efficacy for cue-induced reinstatement of nicotine seeking. Addict Biol. 2020 Jan;25(1):e12711.
  • Namba MD, Kupchik YM, Spencer SM, Garcia-Keller C, Goenaga JG, Powell GL, Vicino IA, Hogue IB, Gipson CD. Accumbens neuroimmune signaling and dysregulation of astrocytic glutamate transport underlie conditioned nicotine-seeking behavior. Addict Biol. 2019 Jul 22:e12797.
  • Powell GL, Leyrer-Jackson JM, Goenaga J, Namba MD, Piña J, Spencer S, Stankeviciute N, Schwartz D, Allen NP, Del Franco AP, McClure EA, Olive MF, Gipson CD. Chronic treatment with N-acetylcysteine decreases extinction responding and reduces cue-induced nicotine-seeking. Physiol Rep. 2019 Jan;7(1):e13958.
  • Overby PF, Daniels CW, Del Franco A, Goenaga J, Powell GL, Gipson CD, Sanabria F. Effects of nicotine self-administration on incentive salience in male Sprague Dawley rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2018;235:1121-1130.
  • Peartree N, Hatch K, Goenaga JG, Dado N, Hanna M, Dufwenberg M, Campagna A, Mendoza R, Cheung T, Talboom J, Neisewander JL. Social context has differential effects on acquisition of nicotine self-administration in male and female rats. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2017;234:1815-1828.
  • Bastle R, Peartree NA, Goenaga JG, Hatch K, Henricks A, Scott S, Hood L, Neisewander JL. Immediate early gene expression reveals interactions between social and nicotine rewards on brain activity in adolescent male rats. Behav Brain Res. 2016;313:244-254.

What Got You Interested In Research?

I read the book "The Brain that Changes Itself" by Norman Doidge and later learned about Ramon y Cajal. I joined a lab to see if research was the path for me and became hooked ever since. 

Why Did You Choose MN?

 I was drawn to the collaborative and supportive environment. It seems like people here really want to see their students succeed. 

Favorite Itasca Memory:

Seeing a woodchuck and a loon for the first time. Don't see a lot of those in the desert! Also seeing all of the stars at night was amazing. 

Picture of Julianna Goenaga