Stephanie Perez
Selected Publications

Stephanie Perez

Postdoctoral Fellow
Ph.D., Neuroscience
San Antonio, Texas

Lab: 210-567-4273
Lab Association: Daniel Lodge, Ph.D.


Research Interests

• schizophrenia                                   • dopamine
• hippocampus • neuroscience
• electrophysiology • optogenitcs

Research Summary

Evidence supports the hypothesis that a pathological increase in hippocampal output drives hyperactivity of the mesolimbic dopamine system in rodent models of schizophrenia. Previously, we have demonstrated that aberrant dopamine system function and associated behaviors can be restored with cell based therapies, as well as, by directly (TTX inactivation, deep brain stimulation) and indirectly (vagal nerve stimulation) targeting the ventral hippocampus. We are now utilizing an optogenetic approach combined with electrophysiology to determine whether afferents differentially regulate discrete populations of VTA dopamine neurons and whether these discrete subpopulations are differentially regulated in rodent models of schizophrenia and drug sensitization. We believe that dopamine neuron subpopulations are differentially affected by afferent modulation in various disease states, possibly explaining the differences we observe in symptomology of diseases that exhibit hyperactivity of the mesolimbic dopamine system. We believe these data will help us to better understand subtle differences in discrete dopamine neuron subpopulations that contribute to the symptoms of schizophrenia and drug sensitization, ultimately, establishing better, more targeted therapies for various disease states.


• Accomplishments, Awards and Honors •

San Antonio Life Science Institute (SALSI) Postdoctoral Scholar - 2016

William Thomas Booth Memorial Travel Award - 2016

Pharmacology/Neuroscience Award for Academic Excellence - UTHSCSA - 2014

The Armand J. Guarino Award for Academic Excellence - UTHSCSA - 2014

Commencement Speaker - St. John Bosco School - San Antonio, TX. - May, 2014

Center for Biomedical Neuroscience Retreat Post-Doctoral Poster Award - UTHSCSA - May, 2014

Pharmacology Neuroscience Graduate Student of the Year - UTHSCSA - October, 2013

Graduate Student Panel - Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Health Disparities Researcher Information and Training Workshop - UTSA - June, 2013

'Jennifer Torres Shining Star Award' - Seton Home - May, 2013

Meeting Panelist, Blueprint Initiative ‘Enhancing Neuroscience Diversity through Undergraduate Research Education Experiences’ (BP-ENDURE) - Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting - October, 2012

Best Student Poster Presentation - 19th Annual Pharmacology Graduate Student Symposium - October, 2012

Best Poster Presentation - Alamo Chapter Society for Neuroscience 2010 Chapter Retreat - October, 2010

• Appointments, Boards, Committees and Memberships •

Society for Neuroscience (SfN) - 2009-Present

Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) - 2013-Present

Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) - 2013-Present

• Grants, Funding and Research Support •

1F31MH098564-01A1 - 03/2013 thru 04/2014 - NIH/NIMH
Restoration of GABAergic function in a Rodent Model of Schizophrenia - The major goals of this project are to examine the effects of GABAergic precursor cell transplants on hippocampal firing rate, dopamine system function, and associated behaviors, in a rodent model of schizophrenia