New Investigator Award

2022 New Investigator Award Winners

Laura Cortes, PhD

Dr. Laura R Cortes is a recipient of the 2022 New Investigator Award. Dr. Cortes earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she worked as a research assistant in the lab of Dr. Janice Juraska studying the impact of puberty and hormone disruptors on rodent behavior and cortical development. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from Georgia State University under the mentorship of Dr. Nancy Forger. Her work as a graduate student examined the role of DNA methylation in establishing sex differences in cell type in the mouse hypothalamus. Her dissertation studies provide a mechanism underlying sexual differentiation of neurochemical phenotype and were supported by both a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship, and an F99/K00 award from NINDS. She is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles in the lab of Dr. Stephanie Correa, examining the impact of pregnancy on thermoregulation.

Kathleen Munley

A 2022 New Investigator Award was given to Kathleen Munley. Dr. Munley received her B.S. and B.A. in Marine Biology and Creative Writing from the University of Miami, where she studied the effects of chronic lead exposure on life-history traits in the freshwater pulmonate snail Lymnaea stagnalis and characterized how elevated CO2 levels alter intestinal physiology in the Gulf toadfish (Opsanus beta) in the lab of Dr. Martin Grosell. She then conducted three years of graduate study at Louisiana State University in the lab of Dr. Fernando Galvez, where she examined how variation in osmotic physiology is related to salinity stress tolerance in killifish (Fundulus sp.). Dr. Munley received her Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior from Indiana University this spring. For her dissertation, which she conducted in the lab of Dr. Greg Demas, she investigated the role of the pineal hormone melatonin in modulating seasonal aggression in Siberian hamsters (Phodopus sungorus) and assessed whether the neuroendocrine regulation of seasonal aggression differs between males and females. Dr. Munley recently started a position as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston, where she is studying the neuroendocrine and molecular basis of social ascent in the African cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni in the lab of Dr. Beau Alward.