School or College:
Research Topic: The Role of Estrogen in Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Estrogen has been shown to have a number of beneficial effects on cognitive processes by acting in brain regions such as the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. These two areas of the brain support tasks involving memory and executive functioning and their interaction is essential for cognitive processes. Mélise’s research explores sex and age-related changes in estrogen gene expression by analyzing these brain regions. Her project seeks to understand the relationship between estradiol and cognitive performance in aging male and female animal models. Women have been shown to be disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s Disease and it has been suggested that the menopausal depletion of estrogens may be a risk factor, contributing to cognitive impairment. By understanding the relationship between estrogens, sex, age and cognition, she hopes that pharmacological interventions can be designed to improve the quality of life for those affected.