Headshot portrait of Isaac Kandil - Bio-X Undergraduate Fellow
2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Undeclared
Mentor: William Giardino (Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences)

“Examination of Sex Differences in Bed Nuclei of the Stria Terminalis (BNST) Neural Circuit Activation Patterns”

The Giardino Laboratory focuses on the neurobiology of stress, addiction, and sleep/wake disturbances. They are using mice as the animal model to study the mechanisms by which emotional brain circuits drive behavioral responses to stressful and rewarding experiences. The lab has initiated examinations of a brain region within the extended amygdala called the bed nucleus of stria terminalis (BNST) which is known to receive inputs from sex steroid hormones and control stress-related behaviors. Within the BNST, one neuronal cell subpopulation is marked by the production of the protein cholecystokinin (CCK). Using anatomical and cell staining methods, Isaac’s project will describe differences in the expression patterns and behavioral impacts of CCK-BNST neurons between female and male mice, essentially exploring behavioral differences between female and male biology.