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Kalynn Schulz

Kalynn SchulzKalynn Schulz 
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. Michigan State University (2007)

Web site:

Key words: Behavioral neuroscience, early life stress, prenatal and adolescent brain development, gonadal steroid hormones, sex differences, anxiety, memory function, social behavior

Research Interests

The impact of external factors such as stress and internal factors such as gonadal steroid hormones on brain and behavioral development.

Research statement

My laboratory studies how environmental events shape the developing nervous system and the sex-specific expression of behavior in adulthood. In particular, we employ rodent models to investigate the mechanisms by which perinatal and adolescent stress exposure alter memory function and anxiety-related behaviors in adulthood. Given that neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are (nAChRs) stress-sensitive and regulate both memory function and anxiety-related behaviors, we are currently investigating whether the behavioral effects of developmental stress exposure are mediated by changes in nAChRs in the hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex.

  • 2013 - Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Minnesota, Morris
  • 2012 - "2009-2011 Outstanding Paper" Hormones and Behavior                               
    Back to the Future:  The Organizational-Activational Hypothesis Adapted to Puberty and Adolescence.
  • 2012 - Martin Reite Best Scientific Presentation Award, University of Colorado Anschutz
  • 2005 - Young Investigator Award, Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology

2012-2017          Career Development Award
"Gender-dependent effects of stress during adolescence on adult brain and behavior"
Role: Principal Investigator
$150,000 Direct Costs Annually 
Veterans Administration

2015-2016          Developmental Psychobiology Endowment Fund Award
"Determining whether choline mitigate the effects of prenatal stress via alterations in hippocampal nAChRs"
Role: Principal Investigator
University of Colorado AMC

2004-2007        Kirschstein-NRSA Predoctoral Individual Award, 2004-2007

Schulz K.M., and Sisk, C.L. (in press). The organizing actions of adolescent gonadal steroid hormones on brain and behavioral development. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.

Schulz, K. M., & Sisk, C. L. (In Press). Gonadal hormonal influences on the adolescent brain and trajectories of behavioral development. In  Hormones Brain and Behavior. San Diego CA: Academic Press.

Schulz, K.M., Pearson, J.N., Gasparrini, M.E., Brooks, K.R., Zajkowski, M.E., Kriesler, A.D., Leonard, S., and Stevens, K.E (2014). Dietary choline supplementation to dams during pregnancy and lactation mitigates the effects of in utero stress exposure on adult anxiety-related behaviors. Behavioural Brain Research.

Pearson, J.N., Schulz, K.M., and Patel, M. (2014). Specific alterations in the performance of learning and memory tasks in models of chemoconvulsant-induced status epilepticus. Epilepsy Research.

Schulz K.M., Andrud K.M., Burke M.B., Pearson J.N., Kreisler A.D., Stevens K.E., Leonard S., and Adams C.E. (2013). The effects of prenatal stress on alpha4 beta2 and alpha7 hippocampal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor levels in adult offspring. Dev Neurobiol. 73(11):806-14.

Wu, P.H. and Schulz, K.M. (2012).Contributions of animal models to clinical treatment of addiction. ILAR J. 53(1):4-13

Delorme, K.C., Schulz, K.M., Salas-Ramirez, K.Y., and Sisk, C.L. (2012). Pubertal testosterone organizes regional volume and neuronal number in the medial amygdala of adult male Syrian hamsters. Brain Res.1460:33-40

Adams, C.E., Yonchek, J.C., Schulz, K.M., Graw, S.L., Stitzel, J., Teschke, P.U., Collins, A.C., and Stevens, K.E. (2012). Decreased Chrna7 expression in mice is associated with decreases in hippocampal markers of inhibitory function: implications for neuropsychiatric diseases. Neuroscience. 5; 207:274-82.

Schulz, K.M., Pearson, J.N., Neeley, E.W., Berger, R., Leonard, S., Adams, C.E., and Stevens, K.E. (2011). Maternal stress during pregnancy causes sex-specific alterations in offspring memory performance, social interactions, indices of anxiety, and body mass.  Physiology and Behavior. 104(2):340-7.

Schulz, K.M., Molenda-Figuera, H.R., and Sisk, C.L (2009).  Back to the Future:  The Organizational-Activational Hypothesis Adapted to Puberty and Adolescence.  Horm and Behav. 55(5):597-604. 1. 

Schulz, K.M., Zehr, J.L., Salas-Ramirez, K.Y., and Sisk, C.L (2009).  The timing of exposure to testosterone before, during, or after adolescence determines behavioral responses to testosterone in adulthood.  Endocrinology 150(8):3690-8.

Ahmed E.I., Zehr J.L., Schulz, K.M., Lorenz, B.H., Doncarlos, L.L., and Sisk, C.L. (2008).   Pubertal hormones modulate the addition of new neurons to sexually dimorphic brain regions.  Nature Neuroscience. 11(9), 995-997.

Zehr, J.L., Nichols, L.R., Schulz, K.M., and Sisk, C.L. (2008).  Adolescent development of neuron structure in dentate gyrus granule cells of male Syrian hamsters.  Dev Neurobiol. 68(14):1517-26. 

Sato, S.M., Schulz, K.M., Sisk, C.L., and Wood, R.I. (2008).  Adolescents and androgens, receptors and rewards, Horm and Behav. 53(5), 647–658.

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