Woolley, Catherine, PhD

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

Tabatadze N, Huang GZ, May RM, Jain A, Woolley CS (2015) Sex differences in molecular signaling at inhibitory synapses in the hippocampus. Journal of Neuroscience 35(32):11252-11265.

Tabatadze N, Smejkalova T, Woolley CS (2013) Distribution and post-translational modifications of synaptic ERĪ± in the adult female rat hippocampus. Endocrinology 154(2):819-830.

Huang GZ, Woolley CS (2012) Estradiol acutely suppresses inhibition in the hippocampus through a sex-specific endocannabinoid and mGluR-dependent mechanism. Neuron 74(5):801-808.

Smejkalova T, Woolley CS (2010) Estradiol acutely potentiates hippocampal excitatory synaptic transmission through a presynaptic mechanism. Journal of Neuroscience 30:16137-16148.



Woolley, Catherine, PhD


William Deering Chair in Biological Sciences, Professor



Office Phone





Pancoe 2-407 Evanston

Areas of Research

Circuits and Behavior, Electrophysiology, Learning & Memory, Molecular Neuroscience, Neurobiology of Disease, Neuroendicrinology, Signal Transduction

Training Grants

Neurobiology of Information Storage Training Program (NISTP)

NU Scholar Profile


Recent Publications on PubMed


Current Research

Current Research

Neural plasticity; Neuroendocrinology
Our research focuses on steroid regulation of synaptic structure and function, and sex differences in mechanisms of synaptic modulation. We use a range of approaches in our work including molecular biology, biochemistry, light and electron microscopy, in vitro and in vivo electrophysiology, and behavioral analysis to understand how estrogen fluctuations influence brain function in the context of seizures related to epilepsy as well as in affective disorders such as anxiety and depression. Two main ideas driving current work in the lab are: 1) that estrogens are produced not only in periphery as hormones but also directly within the brain as neurosteoids that rapidly modulate synaptic function and behavior in both sexes, and 2) that some mechanisms of synaptic modulation in non-reproductive parts of the brain differ between the sexes, which is important for understanding how experience or interventions, such as drugs, may affect males and females differently.