Dr. Hoffmann’s research program
-is focused on understanding the molecular pathways and brain circuitry adapting behavior and reproduction to changes in day length and exposure to light at night.
Her main project is aimed at understanding how the hypothalamus and the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the major pacemaker of the body, translates time of day information to the body through changes in neuronal network function and adaptations in hormone release, finally impacting behavior and reproductive competence. Indeed, uncoordinated hormone release, as seen in shift workers and people sitting in front of bright screens late into the night, is a growing health concern and affects more than 20% of the US population. Not only do impaired circadian rhythms increase the risk of endocrine disorders such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, but they also affect mental health and lead to infertility. To further our understanding of the importance of circadian rhythms in endocrine-related disorders, Dr. Hoffmann has developed novel mouse models allowing her to understand the central control of timed hormone release.
The major goal of Dr. Hoffmann’s research is to understand how abnormal hypothalamaic function leads to desynchronization of hormone release and how this relates to cellular function. Her long term goal is to identify novel drug targets for the treatment of arrhythmia, infertility and preterm labor.
Approaches include imagine, H&E, PCR, qPCR, luciferase assays, EMSA, ChIP assays, RNAseq, fertility assays, circadian rhythm studies in vivo (behavioral) and in vitro (Per2-luciferase), transcriptional regulation, and calcium assays.