Ksenia Tonyushkina is studying development of thyrotropes in the pituitary gland under various conditions modeling prenatal environmental stressors. Defective regulation within the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis is suspected to contribute to an increase in the incidence of congenital hypothyroidism, particularly in premature and sick newborns. The zebrafish shares nearly all of the molecular and cellular components that comprise the thyroid axis, making it an excellent model for studying the effects of complicated developmental conditions on thyroid axis development. Our new transgenic zebrafish line [Tg(tshß:gfp)] allows visualization of thyrotropes in vivo, allowing us to examine the effects of various conditions and stressors on the developing thyrotrope population. This work promises to lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms of early life programming of thyroid axis regulation, and move us toward our ultimate goal of improving perinatal care.
Ksenia is a native Russian whose post-MD graduate training has been in the United States, including a pediatric residency program at Maimonides Children’s Hospital, Brooklyn, NY and the pediatric endocrinology program at Baystate Children’s Hospital, Springfield, MA. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Baystate/ Tufts University School of Medicine and is practicing as an attending pediatric endocrinologist at Baystate Children’s hospital.