Kathleen "Kat" Munley is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in Professor Greg Demas's lab. For her dissertation, she is examining how the hormone melatonin, the body's physiological signal for photoperiod (i.e., day length), regulates seasonal changes in territorial aggression in Siberian hamsters. Kat's research uses a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates cutting-edge techniques from behavioral endocrinology, seasonal biology, and molecular and behavioral neuroscience to explore a novel neuroendocrine mechanism of aggression. She hopes her research will provide insight into how melatonin and steroid hormones may contribute to excessive or inappropriate aggression in humans.
Kat is also passionate about sharing her love of science with students and the greater Bloomington community. She is actively involved in mentoring programs, such as the NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program in Animal Behavior and the Jim Holland Summer Science Research Program; in science communication, by serving as a Copy Editor, Associate Editor, and Writer for the ScIU blog; and in outreach programs, such as Skype a Scientist and Science Fest.
The Hoover Fellowship will support Kat's expenses as she conducts the final study of her dissertation and publishes her research.