Stephanie L. Padilla

Photograph of First Last

Assistant Professor

Contact Info

Phone: (413) 545-8010
Office: LSL N227


B.A., The University of New Mexico, 1998-2003

Ph.D., Columbia University, 2005-2011


University of Washington, 2011-2018

Research Interests

Neural Circuits

To investigate the neural basis of behavior and physiology, our lab uses a combination of mouse and viral reagents. We gain control of genetically distinct neurons using transgenes that are delivered via viral vectors. The transgenes may encode a variety of receptors, channels, toxins or reporters that allow us to either manipulate neural activity in vivo, or trace axonal projections. For example, expression of the transgene, ChR2, enables us to activate neurons using blue light. With targeted light delivery, we can study how distinct neurons impact mouse behavior. Our research is focused on two areas of interest:

1. Understanding how sex hormones impact behavioral decisions and emotional state
2. Resolving the neural circuitry underlying sex differences in body weight regulation

Representative Publications

Complete List of Published Work in MyBibliography:

Padilla SL, Perez JG, Ben-Hamo M, Johnson CW, Sanchez R, Bussi I, Palmiter RD, de la Iglesia HO. Kisspeptin Neurons in the Arcuate Nucleus of the Hypothalamus Orchestrate Circadian Rhythms and Metabolism. Current Biology, in press 2019

Fergani C, Leon S, Padilla SL, Verstegen AM, Palmiter RD, Navarro VM. NKB signaling in the posterodorsal medial amygdala stimulates gonadotropin release in a kisspeptin-independent manner in female mice. Elife, 2018 [PMCID: 6300354]

Padilla SL*, Johnson CJ*, Barker FD, Patterson MA, Plamiter RD. A Neural Circuit Underlying the Generation of Hot Flushes. Cell Reports, 2018 [PMDI: 29996088] Faculty of 1000: Very Good

Qui J, Rivera HM, Bosch MA, Padilla SL, Stincic TL, Palmiter RD, Kelly MJ, Rønnekleiv OK. Estrogenic-dependent Glutamatergic Neurotransmission from Kisspeptin Neurons Governs Feeding Circuits in females. eLife, 2018 [PDMI: 30079889]

Lehman MN, Coolen LM, Steiner RA, Neal-Perry G, Wang L, Moenter SM, Moore AM, Goodman RL, Hwa-Yeo S, Padilla SL, Kauffman AS, Garcia J, Kelly MJ, Clarkson J, Radovick S, Babwah AV, Leon S, Tena-Sempere M, Comninos A, Seminara S, Dhillo WS, Levine J, Terasawa E, Negron A, Herbison AE. The 3rd World Conference on Kisspeptin, "Kisspeptin 2017: Brain and Beyond":Unresolved questions, challenges and future directions for the field. J Neuroendocrinol, 2018 [PDMI: 29656508]

Padilla SL, Qui J, Nestor CC, Zhang C, Smith AW, Jarvie BC, Whiddon BB, Rønnekleiv OK, Kelly MJ, Palmiter RD. Hypothalamic AgRP Neurons Link Nutritional State and Fertility. PNAS, 2017 [PMID: 28196880]. Faculty of 1000: Exceptional

Padilla, SL, Qui J, Soden, ME, Sanz E, Nestor CC, Barker, FDL, Quintana A, Zweifel LS, Rønnekleiv OK, Kelly MJ, Palmiter RD. Agouti-related Peptide Neural Circuits Mediate Adaptive Behaviors in the Starved State. Nature Neuroscience, 2016 [PMID: 27019015]. Selected for the Cover (Vol 19 no.5) and previewed by Dr. Michael Krashes

Qiu J, Nestor CC, Zhang C, Padilla SL, Palmiter RD, Kelly MJ, Rønnekleiv OK. High-frequency Stimulation-induced Peptide Release synchronizes Arcuate Kisspeptin Neurons and Excites GnRH neurons. eLife, 2016 [PMID: 27549338]. Faculty of 1000: Exceptional

Nestor CC, Qiu J, Padilla SL, Zhang C, Bosch MA, Fan W, Aicher SA, Palmiter RD, Rønnekleiv OK, Kelly MJ. Optogenetic stimulation of arcuate nucleus Kiss1 neurons reveals a steroid-dependent glutamatergic input to POMC and AgRP neurons in male mice. Molecular Endocrinology, 2016 [PMID: 27093227]

Denis, RGP, Joly-Amado, A, Webber, E, Langlet F, Schaeffer, M, Padilla, SL, Cansell, C, Dehouck, B, Castel, J, Delbès SA, Martinez, S, Lacombe, A, Rouch, C, Kassis, N, Fehrentz, JA, Martinez J, Verdié, P, Hnasko, TS, Palmiter, RD, Krashes, M, Güler, AD, Magnan, C, Luquet S. Palatability can drive feeding independent of AgRP neurons. Cell Metabolism, 2015 [PMID: 2678050]

Pavelitz, T, Gray, LT, Padilla, SL, Bailey, AD & Weiner, AM PGBD5: a neural-specific intron-containing piggyBac transposase domesticated over 500 million years ago and conserved from cephalochordates to humans. Mobile DNA-Uk, 2013. [PMID: 24180413]

Padilla, SL, Reef, D and Zeltser, LM. Defining POMC Neurons Using Transgenic Reagents; Impact of Transient Pomc Expression in Diverse Immature Neuronal Populations. Endocrinology, 2011 Dec 13. [PMID: 22166984]

Padilla, SL, Carmody, JS and Zeltser LM. Pomc-expressing progenitors give rise to antagonistic neuronal populations in hypothalamic feeding circuits. Nature Medicine. 2010 Apr;16(4):403-5. [PMID: 20348924]. Faculty of 1000: Very Good

Stratigopoulos G, Padilla SL, LeDuc CA, Watson E, Hattersley AT, McCarthy MI, Zeltser LM, Chung WK, Leibel RL. Regulation of Fto/Ftm gene expression in mice and humans. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008 Apr: 294(4):R1185-96 [PMID: 18256137]