Catherine R. Propper
Professor and Associate Chair for Graduate Programs
Office: Wettaw, bldg. 88, room 215
- behavioral endocrinology
- environmental endocrinology
- reproductive endocrinology
My main interests are in how
environmental information gets translated into developmental, behavioral, and reproductive
responses and what role the endocrine system plays in the translation. I
use amphibians as model systems.
Currently, projects in my laboratory
include studies on how environmental
contaminants may act as endocrine disruptors to affect development and adult physiological function. In my laboratory, we try to understand the interaction between
the environment and molecular mechanisms involved in thyroid signaling during development, sexual differentiation of the gonads, and adult reproductive physiology and behavior.
Specifically, we investigate how individual compounds and complex mixes of enviromental contaminants, such as those found in wastewater effluent, impact reproduction and
development in tadpole development and frog and fish reproductive behavior and pheromonal communication.
I am a mentor in
the NSF IGERT graduate training program: NAU’s IGERT PhD program seeks to
identify key links between genes and the environment and is designed to train
exceptional graduate students in molecular genetics, environmental sciences,
and spatio-temporal modeling. All students in my lab will be involved in multidisciplinary
research in endocrinology, molecular biology, statistics and systems
My lab group and I are interested in
endocrine regulatory pathways involved in development and adult function. We try to combine molecular techniques with broader laboratory and field measures to:
- determine the network of gene
interactions that set up normal endocrine function during development,
- determine how the structural and temporal characteristics of endocrine function is
perturbed when organisms are exposed to environmental chemicals.
- clarify how these perturbations are
correlated to changes in phenotypic and potential fitness outcomes, and
- determine how different complex mixes
of environmental compounds can impact development, fitness, and ultimately
Important components of this integrative
project are molecular analyses, functional assessment of endocrine activity,
and statistical modeling approaches to bridge between genotypic and phenotypic
data over the developmental time course.
Schoenfuss, H.L., Propper, C.R., and
Vail, T.L. 2011. Empowering citizen
scientists: The strength of many in monitoring biologically active
environmental contaminants. 61 (8): pp.
Wymore, A.S., Keeley, A.T.H., Yturralde,K.M, Schroer, M.L, Propper,
C.R., and Whitham, T.G., 2011. Genes to ecosystems: Exploring the frontiers of ecology with one
of the smallest biological units. Tinsley Review. New Phytologist. 191: 19–36.
Beckstrom-Sternberg, S.M., Beckstrom-Sternberg, J.S., Stafford, P., Angela L Schwendiman, A.L., Soto-Pena, J.,
Michael C Owen, M.C., Ramirez, C., Phillips, J. Veldhoen, N., Helbing, C.C., Propper,
C.R. 2012. Thyroid Hormone-Dependent Development in Xenopus laevis: A Sensitive
Screen of Thyroid Hormone Signaling Disruption by Municipal Wastewater
Treatment Plant Effluent. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. In Press.
Park, D, Hempleman, S.C.,
and Propper, C.R. 2001. Disrupted amphibian pheromone systems in red-spotted
newts: A potential causal factor in population declines. Env. Health Perspect.
Park, D. and Propper, C.R. 2001. Repellent function
of male pheromones in the red-spotted newt. J. Exp. Zool. 289:404-408.
Park, D. and Propper,
C.R. 2002. Endosulfan affects male pheromonal detection and production in the
red-spotted newt. Bull. of Env.
Contamin. Toxicol. 69(4):609-16.
L.P., Overstreet, S.L., Dyer, C.D. and
Propper, C.R. 2002. Sexually dimorphic expression of steroidogenic factor 1
(SF-1) in developing gonads of the American bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 127: 40-47.
Park, D. and
Propper, C.R. 2002. The olfactory organ is activated by a repelling pheromone
in the red-spotted newt, Notophalamus viridescens. Korean J. Biol Sci. 6:233-237.
Park, D. and
Propper, C.R. 2002. Pheromones from female mosquitofish at different stages of
reproduction differentially affect male sexual activity. Copeia 2002:1113-1117.
L.P., Dyer, C.D. and Propper, C.R. 2003.
Exposure to 4-tert-octylphenol accelerates sexual differentiation and disrupts
expression of Steroidogenic Factor 1 (SF-1) in developing bullfrogs. Env. Health Persp. 111(4):557-61.
Minor, M.D., and Propper, C.R.. 2004. Toxic response of endosulfan to breeding
and non-breeding female mosquitofish. Journal of Environmental Biology 25(2):
Rohr, J.R., Park, D.,
Sullivan, A.M., McKenna, M., Propper, C.R., Madison, D.M. 2005. Operational sex ratio in newts: field responses and
characterization of a constituent chemical cue. Behav. Ecol. 16: 286-293.
Propper, C.R. 2005. The Study of Endocrine-Disrupting Compounds: Past
Approaches and New Directions. Int. Comp. Biol. 45(1): 194-200.
S. ,Mayer, L.P., O’Neal, T., Martinez, A. Sellers, M.A. Christian, P.J., Marion, S.L.,
Begay, C., Propper, C.R., Hoyer, P.B., Dyer, C.A. 2007. Drinking water with
uranium below US EPA water standard causes estrogen receptor dependent
responses in female mice. Env. Health
Denver, R.J., Hopkins, P.M., McCormick,,S.D, Propper, C.R., Riddiford, L., Sower, S.A. and Wingfield, J.C. 2009.
Comparative endocrinology in the 21st century. Integ. Comp. Biol. 49:
Porter, T.L., Vail, T., Propper, C.R. and Islam, N. 2010.
Bio-Composite Materials for the Detection of Estrogen in Water Using
Piezoresistive Microcantilever Sensors. Proceedings of the Materials
Research Society. Published
electronically Sept. 2010.
Eisthen, H.L, and Propper, C.R. 2003. The
pheromonal repelling response in red-spotted newts (Notophthalmus viridescens). Chemical Signals in Vertebrates
X. October, 2003.
Orchinik, M. and Propper, C.R.
2005. Hormone Action on Receptors. In: D.O. Norris and J.A. Carr (Eds.),
Endocrine Disruption: Biological Basis for Health Effects in Wildlife and
Humans, Oxford University Press, 448 pages.
C.R. 2010. Testicular Structure and Control of Sperm Development in
Amphibians. Norris, D.O. and Lopez, K.H.
(eds). Hormones and Reproduction in Vertebrates, Vol 2. Amphibians. Elsevier.