Reproductive Endocrinology Laboratory

Ramaley N384

Department of Integrative Physiology
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0354
phone: 303-735-4364

Research Interests

  • The Reproductive Endocrinology Laboratory is interested in understanding how hormones from the brain and pituitary control puberty, male and female reproduction, and reproductive senescence. We are particularly interested in the function of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and the developmental regulation of neurons that produce GnRH, since developmental abnormalities in these neurons lead to absent puberty and infertility in all vertebrates including humans. Additional projects include investigating (1) the evolutionary pattern of GnRH using molluscan models, and (2) the developmental regulation of the endocrine hypothalamus.


  • Laboratory Director: Pei-San Tsai, Ph.D.

  • Postdoctoral Fellows: Leah Brooks, Ph.D., Scott Kavanaugh, Ph.D.
  • Research Scholar: Xin Dai, Ph.D.
  • Graduate Students: Samantha Bonelli, B.A., Megan Culbertson, B.A., Ann Miller, M.S., Jessenia Cruz Robles, B.A.
  • Undergraduate Students: Alie Ary, Sandra Kalavity, Andy Le, Pierce Lewien, Antonia Rodriguez, Tate Vernon.
  • Collaborators: Mehul Dattani, M.D., Institute of Child Health, London, UK; Andreas Heyland, Ph.D., University of Guelph, Canada; Neil Magoski, Ph.D., Queen's University, Canada; Sue Moenter, Ph.D., University of Virginia Medical School; Toni Pak, Ph.D., Loyola University Medical School; Nelly Pitteloud, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital; Nancy Wayne, Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles Medical School; Lihong Zhang, Ph.D., Sun Yat Sen University, China.)
Starting at front left-->back-->right (order in parentheses): Scott Kavanaugh (1), Lisa Jung (3), Rosemary Eppinger (4), Wilson Chung (5), Stephanie King (7), Pei-San Tsai (8; on armrest), Jo Rochester (9), Leah Brooks (10), Courtney Enix (11), Sam Rich (12), Vevian Zhang (13; on floor).

Current Research Projects

  • Development of embryonic gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons.

  • Functional and structural evolution of gonadotropin-releasing hormone.

  • How sex steroids regulate hypothalamic, pituitary, and gonadal functions in rodents and amphibians.

  • Neuroendocrine regulation of maternal behavior in rodents.

Opportunities for Undergraduates

  • The requirements for undergraduate students who want a research experience in our Laboratory are:

    • Junior or senior status.
    • Minimum commitment of one year.
    • Be able to work at least 8 hours per week.
    • Either have completed or be concurrently enrolled in IPHY 3410 (Human Anatomy) or IPHY 3470/3480 (Human Physiology).
    • Participate in UROP or enroll in independent study (IPHY 4860).
    • Minimum GPA of 3.2.

  • For more information, contact Prof. Pei-san Tsai (

Recent Publications


  • 2014-2018, NSF, "Multifunctional Nature of Protostomian GnRH-like Molecules"

  • 2009-2015, NIH, "FGF Regulation of GnRH Neurons"