Nancy Wayne*

Nancy Wayne


Los Angeles, CA 90095 CHS
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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Professor, Physiology
Member, Brain Research Institute, Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area, Neuroscience GPB Home Area


Research Interests

The research goals of my lab are to understand central mechanisms controlling the activity of reproductive neuroendocrine cells. We study gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons of transgenic zebrafish and medaka fish as a model of central control of reproductive development and fertility. In all vertebrates studied to date, GnRH neurons are the command cells for controlling reproductive physiology and behavior through the secretion of the decapeptide GnRH. We have developed zebrafish and medaka as novel animal models for studying GnRH neurophysiology. We generated transgenic zebrafish in which green fluorescent protein (GFP) is expressed in selective GnRH ; and we have two transgenic populations of medaka expressing GFP in GnRH neurons. Using these transgenic animals, we can identify specific GnRH neurons for neurophysiological analysis and optical imaging in living tissue and the intact living embryo. Changes in the cell physiology of GnRH neurons ultimately control reproductive physiology and behaviors. Therefore, understanding how external and internal signals influence GnRH neuronal function will give us critical information regarding their effects on reproduction. Techniques that are used in these studies include whole-cell electrophysiology and confocal optical imaging.



Nancy L. Wayne is a reproductive neuroendocrinologist who joined the Department of Physiology in the School of Medicine in 1992. She became Full Professor of Physiology in 2005. Dr. Wayne earned her B.A. in Biology at Northwestern University in Evanston and her Ph.D. in Physiology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of Virginia, where she worked on environmental regulation of reproduction. Since arriving at UCLA, Dr. Wayne has been an active member of the Laboratory for Neuroendocrinology in the Brain Research Institute. Dr. Wayne’s laboratory research is focused on understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms by which neuroendocrine cells respond to internal and external signals, and how these neurophysiological responses influence reproductive behaviors. This research gives us the opportunity to explore basic mechanisms by which the brain controls and coordinates physiology and behavior. Dr. Wayne created and leads WOMEN ADVANCING TOGETHER workshops for for professionals, students and trainees, and administrators to help women overcome barriers in their careers. These are practical, goal-oriented, problem-solving experiences that leave participants energized and empowered to address the challenges of their daily lives. For more information, including Dr. Wayne’s blogs on topics of interest to women working in a man’s world, go to:


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