Kayla Pelland is investigating 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 a senior undergraduate researcher in the Karlstrom laboratory. She is also a teaching assistant, a student athlete tutor, and a Junior Fellow. In her spare time she enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family. When Kayla graduates from UMass, she would like to earn a Master’s degree in Education.