Caitlin Durkee

Ph.D. 2019

Thesis Title:

G protein signaling in astrocytes regulates neuronal excitability and synaptic plasticity

Current Position:

Recent Graduate

Undergraduate Institution and Major:

Georgetown University, B.S. in Biology, 2011

Graduate Advisor:

Description of Graduate Research:

The focus of the Araque Lab is to better understand the mechanisms and physiological consequences of astrocyte-neuron signaling in various brain regions. My graduate work in particular investigates the properties and consequences of astrocyte-neuron signaling in the dorsolateral striatum, an area implicated in habit formation, using multiple techniques, including: intracellular and extracellular electrophysiology in both slice preparation and in vivo; optogenetic stimulation; DREADDs application; two-photon microscopy; and behavioral testing.

    Graduate Publications:

    • Durkee CA, Covelo A, Lines J, Kofuji P, Aguilar J, Araque A. Gi/o protein-coupled receptors inhibit neurons but activate astrocytes and stimulate gliotransmission. Glia 2019 Feb 23. doi: 10.1002/glia.23589.
    • Durkee CA, Covelo A, Lines J, Kofuji P, Aguilar J, Araque A. Gi/o protein-coupled receptors inhibit neurons but activate astrocytes and stimulate gliotransmission. Glia. 2019;1–18.
    • Durkee CA, Araque A. Diversity and specificity of astrocyte-neuron communication. Neuroscience. 2019 Jan 1;396:73-78.

    Professional Presentations:

    • Gliotransmission. Panel participant at the Winter Conference on Brain Research, Whistler, Canada, January 18th, 2018.
    • Gi/o protein-coupled receptors inhibit neurons but excite astrocytes. Oral presentation at Graduate Program in Neuroscience Retreat, IDS Building, Minneapolis, MN, Feb. 11, 2017.
    • The role of astrocytes in mediating neuronal activity in the dorsolateral striatum. Poster presentation at Graduate Program in Neuroscience Retreat, Nicollet Island Pavilion, Minneapolis, MN, Feb. 14, 2015.

    Graduate Level Awards:

    • Council of Graduate Students Travel Grant, 2018
    • F31 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, 2015
    • Sping and Ying Ngoh Lin Award, 2015
    • Stark Award, 2015

    Graduate Program in Neuroscience Committees:

    • Steering Committee, 2017-present
    • Council of Graduate Students, 2014-2015
    • Student Board Third Year Representative, 2015-present

    Professional Outreach:

    • Brain Awareness Week Instructor, 2013-2015
    • Social Science, Science Museum of Minnesota, Oct. 2015

    Internships:

    • University Economic Development volunteer intern, Spring 2016
    • University Economic Development Fellow, Summer and Fall 2016

    Professional Memberships:

    • Society for Neuroscience, 2013-present

    Thesis Committee Members:

    Research Areas:

    • Behavior and Cognitive Neuroscience
    • Synaptic Plasticity and Learning

    Rotations:

    Why Did You Choose MN?

    The breadth of the program, the value of collaborative science, and the sense of community drew me to the GPN.

    What Advice Would You Give A First Year Graduate Student?

    You belong here! Don’t underestimate what you know and your potential to learn.

    Caitlin Durkee