Margaret Mohr, a Hope College senior from Reed City, has received recognition from the Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology for original research that she has been conducting at the college investigating the onset of puberty.
Mohr has been chosen to present her research during the society's 13th annual meeting through one of only 12 "Travel Awards" that the society has given for the international conference, which will be held in June at Michigan State University in East Lansing. The winners were chosen from among more than 100 applicants, who included not only other undergraduates but also graduate students and post-doctoral students.
Mohr is a biology and psychology double major. She has been conducting research with Dr. Gregory Fraley, associate professor of biology, concerning what times the mechanisms that regulate onset of puberty.
Mohr and Fraley note that the onset of puberty in girls has been decreasing for at least the last 150 years, dropping from 16.5 years of age to 10.5 years of age in the United States, Europe and many Asian countries. Many, they explain, feel that the decrease is due to changes in diet and nutritional status, but the control systems in the brain have not been determined. Mohr has discovered a brain mechanism that monitors the body's nutritional status and relays the information to brain centers that control the timing of the onset of puberty.
The Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology is an interdisciplinary scientific organization dedicated to the study of hormonal processes and neuroendocrine systems that regulate behavior. In addition to organizing its annual meeting, the society publishes the journal "Hormones and Behavior."
This year's meeting will run Thursday-Saturday, June 25-27. Previous meetings have been held at sites across the U.S. as well as Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands, with the 2010 and 2011 meetings scheduled for Toronto, Canada, and Queretaro, Mexico, respectively.
In addition to providing the opportunity to present research, the Travel Award includes up to $600 for travel expenses, including the hotel stay and meals during the conference.
Mohr is the daughter of Lynn and Jacalyn Mohr of Reed City, and is a 2005 graduate of Reed City High School. She has been accepted into the Ph.D. graduate program in neuroscience at Michigan State University.