Laura Fonken is a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Steven Maier’s laboratory in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Fonken has received a National Institute on Aging NRSA fellowship (F32) and a Brain and Behavior Research Foundation NARSAD Young Investigator Grant to support her work at CU. Dr. Fonken’s current research focuses on: (1) understanding how heightened neuroinflammatory responses contribute to mood disorders and cognitive impairments with aging, and (2) determining how circadian rhythms in neuroinflammatory processes, and conditions that disrupt circadian rhythms (such as aging), leave individuals susceptible to disease.
Dr. Fonken completed her PhD in Neuroscience in Dr. Randy Nelson’s laboratory at The Ohio State University. Laura’s dissertation research focused on the effects of nighttime light exposure on physiology and behavior. During her PhD, Dr. Fonken was supported by an American Heart Association pre-doctoral fellowship. Several of Dr. Fonken’s studies from graduate school were featured in the popular press, including National Public Radio, The Economist, and The Telegraph.
Dr. Fonken’s future career goals are aimed at developing the expertise to launch an independent and productive research program at a major university. Laura plans to investigate how interactions among the circadian, immune, and nervous systems affect physiological and behavioral functions.