Name: Chrysanthi Fergani
Mentor: Victor M. Navarro
Academic Affiliation: Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA
Chrysanthi first gained interest in the field of Reproduction during her training in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Thessaly, Greece, under the supervision of Dr. George Fthenakis. For this reason she was motivated to continue her studies with an MSc in Animal Reproduction, at the University of Liverpool, during which she received a distinction on her thesis titled ‘Luteinizing Hormone and estrous behavior profiles of intact ewes treated with insulin or endotoxin’. The latter research project, in addition to the inspiring mentorship of Dr. Hilary Dobson led her to pursue a PhD in Reproductive Neuroendocrinology, which focused on the inhibiting interaction between immunological and metabolic stressors and the reproductive axis, including sexual behavior, in the hypothalamus of the ewe. For this work, Chrysanthi was granted several presentation awards, including the Endocrine Society ‘Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Health and Human Development Outstanding Abstract Award’ in 2012. During this time, she also gained valuable experience in teaching undergraduate classes and served as a Problem Based Learning facilitator for several years. Following the completion of her PhD in Liverpool, Chrysanthi moved to the USA to join the laboratory of Dr. Michael Lehman as a Postdoctoral Fellow (initially located at the University of Michigan and then the University of Mississippi Medical Center) investigating the effects of prenatal exposure to testosterone (a well established model for PCOS) or Bisphenol A (BPA; an endocrine disrupting chemical with estrogenic action) on kisspeptin, neurokinin B and dynorphin (KNDy) peptide expression and neuronal morphology, using the sheep as a model. In addition to her time in the lab, she also served as an adjunct professor at Millsaps College (Jackson, Mississippi), where she taught a course in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. In 2015, Chrysanthi moved to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, to work with Dr. Victor M. Navarro and continue her postdoctoral training by gaining valuable experience in the use of rodent models. Her current work involves the use of genetically manipulated mouse models, in combination with virally mediated gene delivery systems (AAV’s and CRISPR) to further dissect the role of the Kiss1/Kiss1r signaling system in the control of reproductive function prepubertally and in adulthood. Outside the lab, Chrysanthi enjoys sailing the Charles River in Boston, attending yoga classes and is involved in social justice activism.