Catherine Christian-Hinman's directory photo.

Catherine Christian-Hinman

Associate Professor

Primary Affiliation

Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition


Status Affiliate Faculty

Home Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Phone 244-8230



  • Biography

    Catherine Christian-Hinman is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. She is a member of the Neuroscience program; and the program in Endocrinology, Embryology, and Reproduction; and she is an affiliate member of the Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition Group at the Beckman Institute. Her lab’s research interests include synaptic transmission, cellular and circuit excitability, and glial-neuronal interactions in the contexts of neuroendocrinology and epilepsy.


    • A.B., Smith College, 2001

    • Ph.D., Neuroscience,  University of Virginia 

    • Postdoc, Stanford University School of Medicine, 2008-2014 

  • Honors
    • 2021: List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent
    • 2020-2021: Center for Advanced Study Fellow, UIUC 
    • 2016-2019: Whitehall Foundation Research Grant
    • 2016-2018: Brain Research Foundation Fay/Frank Seed Grant
    • 2016-2018: NARSAD Young Investigator Grant
    • 2016: List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent

  • Research

    Research interests:

    • Endocrinology

    • Ion Channels

    • Neurobiology

    • Synaptic Transmission

    • Neurological and Behavioral Disorders

    • Reproductive Diseases

    • Infertility

    • Menopause

    My laboratory explores research questions at the intersection of neuroscience, physiology, and endocrinology.  We are particularly interested in the neural mechanisms linking epilepsy and comorbid reproductive endocrine disorders. Both women and men with temporal lobe epilepsy, the most common form of epilepsy seen in adults, show higher rates of reproductive endocrine disorders in comparison with the general population. Importantly, reproductive endocrine problems can reciprocally impact the severity of epilepsy seen and influence the choice and efficacy of anti-seizure treatments. We aim to understand how temporal lobe seizures impact the hypothalamic control of reproduction, and how altered hypothalamic function reciprocally affects seizure activity and epilepsy severity.

    Another area of research in the lab examines the roles of estrogen synthesized within the brain in seizures and epilepsy. Although estrogens, particularly estradiol, are primarily observed to have effects that promote seizure activity, much of the attention has been paid to estrogens from the ovaries. The brain itself, however, is also a source of estradiol in both males and females, and concentrations of estradiol in certain areas of the brain can exceed those observed in the circulation. Our ongoing research is examining the specific roles for brain-derived estradiol (neuroestradiol) in excitability and seizures in mouse models of epilepsy and Alzheimer disease.

    To perform our research, we use several techniques including patch clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics/chemogenetics, stereotactic surgeries, electroencephalography (EEG), viral vectors, neuroanatomy, and behavioral assays. 

  • 2022

    • Epilepsy-associated increase in gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuron firing in diestrous female mice is independent of chronic seizure burden severity Li J, Christian-Hinman CA Epilepsy Res, 184:106948
    • Increased GABA transmission to GnRH neurons after intrahippocampal kainic acid injection in mice is sex-specific and associated with estrous cycle disruption Ingram RJ, Leverton LK, Daniels VC, Li J, Christian-Hinman CA Neurobiol Dis, 172:105822
    • Pharmacological inhibition of STriatal-Enriched protein tyrosine Phosphatase by TC-2153 reduces hippocampal excitability and seizure propensity Walters JM, Kim EC, Zhang J, Jeong HG, Bajaj A, Baculis B, Tracy G, Ibrahim B, Christian-Hinman CA, Llano DA, Huesmann GR, Chung HJ Epilepsia, 63:1211-1224
    • Phenotypic differences based on lateralization of intrahippocampal kainic acid injection in female mice Cutia CA, Leverton LK, Ge X, Youssef R, Raetzman LT, Christian-Hinman CA Exp Neurol, 335:114118


    • From benzodiazepines to fatty acids: Revisiting the role of ACBP/DBI Alquier T, Christian-Hinman CA, Alfonso J, Færgeman NJ Trends Endocrinol Metab?, 32:890-903
    • Infantile spasms-linked Nedd4-2 mediates hippocampal plasticity and learning via cofilin signaling Lee KY, Zhu J, Cutia CA, Christian-Hinman CA, Rhodes JS, Tsai NP EMBO Reports, 22:e52645
    • Is On-Demand Dynorphin Destined to Be in Demand to Decrease Seizures? Christian-Hinman CA Epilepsy Curr, 21:48-50
    • Spontaneous seizure and memory loss in mice expressing an epileptic encephalopathy variant in the calmodulin-binding domain of Kv7.2 Kim EC, Zhang J, Tang AY, Bolton EC, Rhodes JS, Christian-Hinman CA, Chung HJ Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 118:e2021265118


    • A Single Test to Study Social Behavior and Repetitive Self-Grooming in Mice Lawande NV*, Ujjainwala AL*, Christian CA ?(*equal contribution) Bio Protoc, 10:e3499
    • Assessin' the Vexin' Connexin Between Severity of Epilepsy and Hippocampal Gliosis Courtney CD, Christian-Hinman C Epilepsy Curr, 20:294-296
    • Nucleus-specific modulation of phasic and tonic inhibition by endogenous neurosteroidogenesis in the murine thalamus Christian CA Synapse, 74:e22144 ?
    • Seizure burden fluctuates with the female reproductive cycle in a mouse model of chronic temporal lobe epilepsy Li J, Leverton LK, Naganatanahalli LM, Christian-Hinman CA Exp Neurol, 334:113492
    • Sex Differences in the Epilepsies and Associated Comorbidities: Implications for Use and Development of Pharmacotherapies Christian CA, Reddy DS, Maguire J, Forcelli PA Pharmacol Rev, 72:767-800
    • Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely (and Its Effects on Seizure Burden and Comorbidities) Lozano L, Christian CA Epilepsy Curr, 20:48-50
    • Simultaneous two-photon activation and imaging of neural activity based on spectral-temporal modulation of supercontinuum light Liu YZ, Renteria C, Courtney CD, Ibrahim B, You S, Chaney EJ, Barkalifa R, Iyer RR, Zurauskas M, Tu H, Llano DA, Christian-Hinman CA, Boppart SA Neurophotonics, 7:045007


    • Changes in both neuron intrinsic properties and neurotransmission drive the increase in GnRH neuron firing rate during estradiol positive feedback Adams CE, DeFazio RA, Christian CA, ?Milescu LS, Schnell S, Moenter SM J Neurosci, 39:2091-2101
    • Differential impacts on multiple forms of spatial and contextual memory in diazepam binding inhibitor knockout mice ?Ujjainwala AL*, Courtney CD*, Wojnowski NM, Rhodes JS, Christian CA ?(*equal contribution) J Neurosci Res, 97:683-697
    • Estrous Cycle Monitoring in Mice with Rapid Data Visualization and Analysis Pantier LK*, Li J*, Christian CA ?(*equal contribution) Bio Protoc, 9:e3354
    • Inhibition Gets a New KAR Smell Courtney CD, Christian CA Epilepsy Curr, 19:187-189


    • Dynamic and sex-specific changes in gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuron activity and excitability in a mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy Li J, Robare JA, Gao L, Ghane MA, Flaws JA, Nelson ME, Christian CA eNeuro, 5:e0273-18.2018
    • Genetic loss of diazepam binding inhibitor in mice impairs social interest ?Ujjainwala AL, Courtney CD, Rhoads SG, Rhodes JS, Christian CA Genes Brain Behav, 17:e12442
    • Persistent Protection Against Pathology and Paroxysms by P2X7R Antagonism Christian CA Epilepsy Curr, 18:42-44
    • Subregion-specific impacts of genetic loss of diazepam binding inhibitor on synaptic inhibition in the murine hippocampus Courtney CD, Christian CA Neuroscience, 388:128-138
    • The Perils of Generalizing About GABA in Seizure Generalization Christian CA Epilepsy Curr, 18:113-114


    • Developmental Inflammation Takes a Toll: Early Immune Responses Increase Seizure Susceptibility via Astrocytic TLR4 Signaling Sobieski C, Christian CA Epilepsy Curr, 17:370-371
    • Disrupted female estrous cyclicity in the intrahippocampal kainic acid mouse model of temporal lobe epilepsy Li J, Kim JS, Abejuela VA, Lamano JB, Klein NJ, Christian CA Epilepsia Open,? 2:39-47
    • Mom Genes: A Role for Loss of Maternal Ube3a in GABAergic Neurons in Angelman Syndrome Christian CA Epilepsy Curr, 17:237-238
    • Neurophysiology of Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Neurons Christian CA In Hormones, Brain and Behavior, 3rd Edition, Pfaff, D.W. and Joëls, M. (editors-in-chief), Oxford: Academic Press. Vol. 3, pp. 379-400
    • Regulation of thalamic and cortical network synchrony by Scn8a Makinson CD, Tanaka BS, Sorokin JM, Wong JC, Christian CA, Goldin AL, Escayg A, Huguenard JR Neuron, 93:1165-1179


    • A Nose for Seizures: A Potential Role for Olfaction in the Co-Morbidity of Depression and Epilepsy? Christian CA Epilepsy Curr, 16:256-257
    • Feedback modulation of neural network synchrony and seizure susceptibility by Mdm2-p53-Nedd4-2 signaling Jewett KA, Christian CA, Bacos JT, Lee KY, Zhu J, Tsai NP Mol Brain, 9:32
    • Seizure Activity and Intervention Efficacy are Shaped by REMnants of Preceding Brain States Christian CA Epilepsy Curr, 16:164-165