Our Research

Support Research For Wellness in Women

Hormones and Nerves In Female Physiology

Estrogen triggers profound metabolic and behavioral responses to optimize female physiology. We seek to discover crucial hormone-responsive nodes in the brain and peripheral tissues that maintain metabolic, skeletal, and cognitive health in female mice. Findings from our research program are highly relevant to women's health.


  • Research Area 1: We want to understand why estrogen signaling in the brain profoundly increases bone mass (Herber, Krause et al, 2019). We are actively searching for an anabolic factor that keeps bones young and strong in older female mice. With funding from NIA, we hope to open up new doors for treating bone frailty and osteoporosis. 


  • Research Area 2: We recently explained how surges in estrogen prior to peak sexual receptivity increase physical activity in females (Krause et al, 2021). With funding from NIDDK, we wish to exploit this discovery to overcome declining health and physical activity associated with hormone depletion that occurs in natural or drug-induced menopause. We also seek to identify other subsets of estrogen-sensitive neurons in the brain that optimize female physiology. This work is supported by generous funding from GCRLE.


  • Research Area 3: In a new project funded by NINDS, we wish to determine whether gut-brain signaling pathways exhibit sex-specific differences, an important question that may relate to the higher prevalence of intestinal visceral pain syndromes experienced by women.‚Äč


Twitter: @hollyingrahamSF
UCSF Profile: HA Ingraham

Recent Publications

Herber CB, Krause WC, Wang L, Bayrer JR, Li A, Schmitz M, Fields A, Ford B, Zhang Z, Reid MS, Nomura DK, Nissenson RA, Correa SM, Ingraham, HA. Nature Commun. Jan 2019.
Nikkanen, J. Leong, Y.A, KrauseW.C., CorbitK.C., TranJ.L., DermadiD., Masche, J.A., Van RyT., CoxJ.E., WeissE.J., Gokcumen, O., ChawlaA., and HA Ingraham, BioRxiv. January 2022.
WC Krause, R Rodriguez, B Gegenhuber, N Matharu, AN Rodriguez, AM Padilla, K Toma, CB Herber, SM Correa, X Duan, N Ahituv, J Tollkuln and HA Ingraham. Nature Nov 2021