Located at Loyola University Chicago's Center for Translational Research and Education, the Pak Lab is directed by Toni R. Pak, PhD.
Our research is focused on the molecular signaling mechanisms of nuclear steroid receptors in the brain across the lifespan: from puberty to aging/menopause. Elucidating the molecular basis of nuclear steroid receptor-mediated gene expression is critical to understanding how steroid hormones modulate a variety of physiological and disease processes. We currently have 2 active areas of research in the lab: A) estrogen receptor signaling in the aging brain; B) glucocorticoid receptor signaling in the adolescent brain.
Our approaches include direct modification (gene splicing, post-translational modifications), accessory regulation (association with co-regulatory proteins), and epigenetic modulation (regulation of microRNAs, target gene availability). We use a variety of cell and animal models, and an extensive array of techniques, to study the important periods of pubertal development (and how alcohol may play a role in shaping long-term functionality of the receptors) and post-menopausal aging (where the decline in circulating estrogens can cause rapid neurodegeneration and alterations in ER beta function).
You can find our publications here.
Toni R Pak, PhD
James R. DePauw Professor and Department Chair