Photo of Stanford student and Stanford Bio-X Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant Alanna Dorsey.
2020 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant and 2022 Cohort Lead

Home Department: Human Biology

2020 Research Project: “Investigating the Impact of Female Sex Hormones on Sleep”

2020 Mentor: Luis de Lecea (Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences)

Women experience nearly twice the risk of sleep problems that men do, particularly during hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. By reviewing recent advances in the role of sex hormones in sleep, Alanna’s research will identify which aspects of sleep are most impacted by ovarian hormones and begin determining how this change in sleep relates to changes in brain activity. This will better elucidate how to treat women suffering from sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea, both of which can also increase the risk of metabolic and cardiac diseases.

2022 Research Project: “Investigating the Effects of Angiogenesis on Vascular Homeostasis in the Mouse Brain Following Hypertension and Stroke”

2022 Mentor: Marion Buckwalter (Neurology & Neurological Sciences and Neurosurgery)

Formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) impacts brain homeostasis and is affected by hypertension and stroke, however combinatorial effects are not well understood. Preliminary data in the Buckwalter lab implicates angiogenesis in post-stroke dementia in humans, which is exacerbated by hypertension. In this project, Alanna will quantify angiogenesis in mice that have experienced different combinations of hypertension and stroke. She will evaluate both plasma and brain sections for biomarkers of stroke and angiogenesis utilizing confocal microscopy and image analysis. The results will determine the angiogenic profile in a hypertension mouse model while revealing the impact of hypertension on angiogenesis after stroke.