Kayla Pelland was an undergraduate Honors student in the Karlstrom lab, working with Postdoctoral Fellow Jason Breves to investigate the role of the pituitary hormone prolactin in directing the development of osmoregulatory tissues in the zebrafish. Prolactin is known to impact salt and water balance in vertebrates; however, the molecular and cellular mechanisms by which prolactin operates on osmoregulatory tissues remains unknown. The zebrafish is a powerful model for understanding vertebrate endocrine function because the anatomical organization of the pituitary gland and the actions of pituitary hormones are largely conserved from teleosts to mammals. By studying how prolactin and other pituitary hormones regulate specific osmoregulatory functions, we hope to contribute to the design of regenerative therapies to restore renal function in humans with kidney disease.
Kayla is currently the Student Services Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.