Associate Professor, Physiology, Histology
Office Location: 328 Olin Hall
Dr. Debora Christensen is an Associate Professor of Biology. She joined Drake University in 2008, after teaching courses in anatomy, physiology, and histology at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. At Drake, Dr. Christensen teaches courses in physiology, neurophysiology, endocrinology, histology, and she team teaches a portion of the introductory biology series.
Dr. Christensen’s research interests are in the field of reproductive neuroendocrinology and the lab has several projects in progress. She currently leads a team of undergraduates in investigating the effects of endocrine disruptors leached from plastic drinking bottles on the development of the reproductive system. Other ongoing projects investigate hormonal correlates associated with early life experiences and subsequent reproductive behaviors and the effects of previous reproductive experience on hormonal variants of prolactin released from the pituitary. Her lab has collaborated with Dr. Colin Scanes, University of Wisconsin, on projects investigating growth-hormone (GH) RNA variants in zebra finches and with Dr. Deborah Segaloff, University of Iowa, on the potential role of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in human placenta and fetal development.
Dr. Christensen received her doctoral degree in Zoology, Physiology emphasis, from Iowa State University in 2007. While at Iowa State, she received the Melvin D. Enger Award for Service to the Department and several teaching awards; she was nominated for the Madeline Levitt teaching award at Drake University. In 2011, she was named a FUTURE research fellow at the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine.
Undergraduates in her laboratory have received several awards as well, including the Francis Rogers Senior Research Presentation Award - Mallory Fowler, BS 2009, and Alisha Koxlien, BS 2010, DUCURS Poster Presentation Award – Ryan Olney, BS 2010 and Ben Cooper, BCMB 2011, FUTURE Undergraduate Fellowship Award – Kristin Dahlem, BS 2014, and Iowa Physiological Society Poster Presentation Award – Aubrey Lambach, BS 2014.