February 26, 2021
To honor Black History Month, SBN is establishing a new initiative to highlight members of our society from historically under-represented groups in science, in general, and behavioral neuroendocrinology, in particular. For our inaugural post, the spotlight falls on two individuals: Dr. Ketema Paul who is a professor in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles and Dr. Travis Hodges who is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia.
Travis Hodges, MA, PhD
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Dr. Travis Hodges studies sex-specific mechanisms/neural circuits involved in pessimistic-like behaviour/negative cognitive bias across the lifespan in rodent models of depression in the laboratory of Dr. Liisa Galea at UBC. He is also well-versed in the effects of repeated social stress in adolescent rats on future social function and underlying neural and endocrine function. A lot of Dr. Hodges interest in research came from an Endocrinology course that he took during the 4th year of his undergraduate studies at the University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB, Canada). In his 5th year Dr. Hodges completed an honours thesis in psychology on mallard duckling behaviour in the laboratory of Dr. L. James Shapiro, and he worked as an animal care technician in the University of Manitoba Animal Care Facility. Next, Dr. Hodges completed his master’s and PhD studies in the laboratory of Dr. Cheryl McCormick at Brock University (St. Catharines, ON, Canada) and became very interested in age and sex differences in behaviour and underlying mechanisms in rodents.
Ketema Paul, PhD
Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology
University of California, Los Angeles
Dr. Paul studies the genetic, molecular, and neuroendocrine underpinnings of sleep. His primary interests are comprised of uncovering the mechanisms responsible for the negative effects of sleep deprivation. He also probes the origins of gender/sex differences, including the effects of gonads vs. sex chromosomes in mice, in the ability to recover from sleep loss. Dr. Paul was born and raised in Washington, D.C. After receiving his Bachelor of Science from Howard University, he went on to study neurobiology and circadian biology at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia where he received his doctorate. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University in Evanston Illinois in 2006 at the Center for Sleep and Circadian Biology, after which he spent 10 years as a faculty member of the Neuroscience Institute at Morehouse school of Medicine. He joined the faculty at UCLA in the Division of Life Sciences in 2016.
Dr. Paul’s current research involves applying a forward genetics approach to uncover the core genes responsible for sleep-wake regulation and the impairing effects of sleep loss. Effective treatments for common sleep-wake disorders are elusive. Dr. Paul conducts a forward genetics approach to facilitate gene identification that takes advantage of natural variation occurring in sleep-replete and sleep-deprived mice. These studies are expected to identify novel sleep regulatory genes and lead to the development of new therapeutic targets and improved treatments for sleep disorders. Dr. Paul’s research on sex differences in the ability to recover from sleep loss may also identify new therapeutic targets for sleep disorders that disproportionately affect women.