Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Carol Elias, PhD

Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology

Professor, Obstetrics & Gynecology

Director, Neuroscience Graduate Program

Director, Michigan Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center 

MMPC-Live, NIDDK National Center

Michigan Neuroscience Institute Affiliate

Elizabeth W. Caswell Diabetes Institute

Lab Members

Cristina Sáenz de Miera, PhD

Research Investigator

My main research interest is to explore the neuronal networks integrating internal or external environmental signals to the reproductive and metabolic functions. In my current position, I am focused  on  characterizing the role of different cell populations of the hypothalamic ventral premammillary nucleus (PMv) on the neuroendocrine control of reproduction. For this purpose, I am using genetically   modified mouse models, reproductive and metabolic phenotyping, transcriptome analysis and novel  genetic and molecular tools (including viral vectors and CRISPR/Cas9).

In my independent research project, funded by MNORC and NICHD, I am exploring how environmental factors during pregnancy affect the development of hypothalamic networks involved in the control of metabolism and reproduction. 


Antoinette Danku, BS

PhD candidate

One challenge in the field of reproduction is parsing out the mechanism behind abnormal migration of cells that produce Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) during development. This molecule drives fertility in humans but the mechanism behind its successful migration to the hypothalamus is not well understood. In pediatric incidences of Kallmann's syndrome (KS), a disease that causes infertility, patients often express coincident mutations in GnRH and Prokineticin Receptor 2 (PROKR2). In my research, I hope to describe the fertility implications of  PROKR2 inhibition during development and report any consequential changes to GnRH migration.


Jonah Sta-Monica, BS

Research Assistant

Nithya Rao, BS

Research Assistant

Dania Zeidan

Undergraduate student, Public Health Major

Samantha Doran

Undergraduate student, Neuroscience Major

Cristiano Mendes, PhD

Visiting Professor, Federal University of Sao Paulo (UNIFESP), Brazil

Research Interests: Effects of nutritional and/or pharmacological manipulation on neurodevelopment. Investigation of metabolic disorders (obesity and malnutrition, for example) and neuropsychiatric disorders (depression and anxiety) combining Neuroscience and Nutrition.

Lab Alumni

Brenda Cisneros-Larios, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow, Public Policy, CA

Bethany Beekly, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow, University of Michigan

Emily Henson, MS

Laboratory manager, Wayne State university

Susan Allen, MS (retired)

Chelsea Fortin, MD

Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Michigan

Ally Cara, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow, UCLA

David Garcia-Galiano, PhD

Assistant Professor, University of Córdoba, Spain

Nicole Bellefontaine, PhD

Biotech Industry, Consultant

Xingfa Han, PhD

Assistant Professor, Sichuan Agricultural University, China

Beatriz de Carvalho Borges Del Grande, PhD

Assistant Research  Scientist, University of Michigan.  

Catherine Milford, BS 

Biotech Industry

William Frankel, BS

Medical student at Baylor College

Erica Bove, MD

Boston IVF Clinic - The Albany Center

Zaid Mohsen, MS

Medical Student at Wayne State University

Seokmin Sim, PhD

Biotech Industry

Sanseray da Silveira Cruz Machado, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow, University of São Paulo

Dhirender Ratra, BS

Research Assistant, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Former Visiting Scholars

Wenicios Ferreira Chaves

Ph.D. Candidate at Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Limeira, Brazil

Mariana Rosolen Tavares, BS

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Jones Graceli, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor at Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo, Espírito Santo, Brazil

Márcio Torsoni

Associate Professor at Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Limeira, Brazil

Hellen Veida P. Silva

Graduate Student, University of Alberta, Canada

Larissa Oliveira, PhD

University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil

Honorary Lab Members

Chumi and Didi 

Principal Investigators in the University of Garden Homes , Ann Arbor, MI

Dr. Lucky

An ace tail-wagger, puppysitter, and eater of all things inedible (recent accomplishments: a sponge, a tray of brownies)


A puppy with digging skills so excellent that the holes could serve as a house foundation excavation and a master of goofy faces