College of Pharmacy

Rebecca Cunningham Lab

Shaletha Bench

Androgen Signaling Mechanisms and Effects In CNS Disorders

Dr. Rebecca Cunningham studies the role of steroid hormones, specifically androgens, from prenatal development to aging. Most of her team’s research has been focused on androgen signaling mechanisms and defining the effects of androgens on central nervous system function. One of Dr. Cunningham’s long-term research goals is to determine how development and aging alters neuronal steroid hormonal responses in an oxidative stress environment, a key characteristic of aging, developmental disorders, and neurodegeneration. She has shown that androgens can either be neuroprotective or damaging, and these effects are dependent on the oxidative stress environment. In pursuing this goal, Dr. Cunningham and team use in vitro, in vivo, and clinical approaches to understand how androgens affect brain function. Hopefully this research will expand the understanding of how steroid hormones impact the brain. At the same time, she seeks to gain new insights that can lead to a better understanding of the role of sex in central nervous system disorders.

For more information on Dr. Cunningham, please visit: 

Rebecca L. Cunningham, PhD

Rebecca Cunningham, PhD, Professor

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Dr. Cunningham is an active member of the American Physiological Society, Endocrine Society, Society for Neuroscience, and the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. She is the Associate Editor for Biology of Sex Differences and serves on the editorial boards for the following journals: Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, Scientific Reports, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, Hormones & Behavior, Endocrinology, and The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.  She also serves on American Heart Association and the US Department of Defense study sections. She is the founder and president of LID Life Community, a 501c3 non-profit that serves thyroid cancer patients. She received the Fort Worth Business Press 2016 HealthCare Hero Award and 2019 Great Woman of Texas for her non-profit service. In 2016, she was one of the invited speakers at the Laura Bush Institute for Women’s Health.