Jennifer Donegan


Location: Lodge Lab



Jennifer Donegan, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Personal Statement:

My research is exploring the use of embryonic stem cells to reverse deficits in a developmental model of schizophrenia. Schizophrenic patients show changes in inhibitory GABAergic interneurons, which are thought to underlie behavioral and physiological symptoms of the disorder. Using a battery of behavioral assays and in vivo extracellular electrophysiology, we are testing the hypothesis that GABAergic interneurons, derived from embryonic stem cells, can reverse the schizophrenia-like changes seen in our rodent model.


• schizophrenia • stem cells
• dopamine

Awards & Accomplishments

2018      William Thomas Booth Memorial Travel Award, UT Health SA Department of Pharmacology
2016      Post-doctoral Fellow Travel Award, Schizophrenia International Research Society
2015      William Thomas Booth Memorial Travel Award, UT Health SA Department of Pharmacology
2013      Graduate Student Travel Award, Society for Neuroscience
2006      Senior Scholar, TCU Department of Psychology
2005-2006      Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, TCU
2005-2006     Psi Chi, Psychology Honor Society, Treasurer, TCU
2002-2006     Dean’s List, TCU
2002-2006     Scholar, TCU


Society for Neuroscience (SfN)


ASPET Undergraduate Research Program – Lecture on Synaptic Transmission – Summer 2014-2017
ASPET Undergraduate Research Program – Lecture on Cell Culture Techniques – Summer 2014-2017


Donegan, J.J., Boley, A.M., Carless, M.A., Lodge, D.J. “Consistent Developmental Alterations Observed in the Transcriptome of Three Distinct Rodent Models of Schizophrenia.” PLoS One, Article in revision.
Donegan, J.J., Boley, A.M., Yamaguchi, Y., Toney, G.M., and Lodge, D.J. “Modulation of extrasynaptic GABA A alpha 5 receptors in the ventral hippocampus normalizes physiological and behavioral deficits in a circuit specific manner.” Nature Communications, 2019, 10: 2819.
Donegan, J.J., Perez, S.M., and Lodge, D.J. “Effect of estrous cycle on behavioral deficits in female rats exposed to E17 MAM.” Behavioural Brain Research, 2019, 362: 258-265.
Perez, S.M., Donegan, J.J., Boley, A.M., Aguilar, D. D., and Lodge, D.J. “Ventral hippocampal overexpression of Cannabinoid Receptor Interacting Protein 1 (CNRIP1) produces a schizophrenia-like phenotype in the rat.” Schizophrenia Research, Article in press.
Donegan, J.J., Boley, A.M., and Lodge, D.J. “Embryonic stem cell transplants as a therapeutic strategy in a rodent model of autism.” Neuropsychopharmacology, 2018, 43(8): 1789-1798.
Donegan, J.J. and Lodge, D.J. “Hippocampal perineuronal nets are required for the sustained antidepressant effects of ketamine.” International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2017, 20(4): 354-358.
Donegan, J.J. and Lodge, D.J. “Cell-based therapies for the treatment of schizophrenia.” Brain Research, 2017, 1655: 262-269.
Donegan, J.J., Tyson, J.A., Branch, S. Y., Beckstead, M.J., Anderson, S. A., Lodge, D.J. “Stem cell derived interneuron transplants as a treatment for schizophrenia: preclinical validation in a rodent model.” Molecular Psychiatry, 2017, 22 (10): 1492-1501.
Carreno, F.R., Donegan, J.J., Boley, A.M., Shah, A., DeGuzman, M., Frazer, A., and Lodge, D.J. “Activation of a ventral hippocampus-medial prefrontal cortex pathway is both necessary and sufficient for an antidepressant response to ketamine.” Molecular Psychiatry, 2016, 21(9): 1298-308.
Donegan, J.J., Chavera, T.A., Berg, K.A., Morilak, D.A., Girotti, M. “Interleukin-6 attenuates serotonin 2A receptor signaling by activating the JAK-STAT pathway.” Molecular Pharmacology, 2015, 87(3): 492-500.
Heisler, J.M., Morales, J., Donegan, J.J., Jett, J.D., Redus, L.R., O’Connor, J.C. “The attentional set shifting task: a measure of cognitive flexibility in mice.” Journal of Visualized Experiments, 2015, (96): e51944.
Donegan, J.J., Girotti, M., Weinberg, M.S., Morilak, D.A. “A novel role for brain interleukin-6: Facilitation of cognitive flexibility in rat orbitofrontal cortex.” Journal of Neuroscience, 2014, 34(3): 953-62.
Girotti, M., Donegan, J.J., Morilak, D.A. “Influence of hypothalamic IL-6/gp130 receptor signaling on the HPA axis response to chronic stress.” Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2012, 38(7): 1158-69.
Girotti, M., Donegan, J.J., Morilak, D.A. “Chronic intermittent cold stress sensitizes neuro-immune reactivity in the rat brain.” Psychoneuroendocrinology, 2011, 36(8): 1164-1174.
Sackerman, J., Donegan, J.J., Cunningham, C.S., Nguyen, N.N., Lawless, K., Long, A,. Benno, R.H., Gould, G.G. “Zebrafish behavior in novel environments: effects of acute exposure to anxiolytic compounds and choice of danio rerio line.” International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 2010. 23(1): 43-61.