Alexander S. Kauffman, PhD

Associate Professor
Department of Reproductive Medicine

Contact Information

Email: akauffman@ucsd.edu  
Phone: 858.246.0219

Location: Leichtag Building 3A15

Mailing Address:
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive #0674
La Jolla, CA 92093


The Kauffman lab uses a variety of molecular, cellular, physiological, and neuroanatomical techniques to study how the brain and hormones interact to control reproduction in mammals. More specifically, we assess how neural circuits stimulate or inhibit Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons, thereby regulating the neuroendocrine reproductive axis. Our studies focus on the neural regulation of fertility in adulthood, as well as control of the neuroendocrine reproductive axis in development (including puberty and critical periods of sexual differentiation). Our goal is to better understand the hormonal and neural mechanisms underlying reproduction in order to improve fertility treatments in humans, elucidate novel contraceptive methods, and enhance treatment of pubertal and developmental disorders.

Stephens SBZ, KP Tolson, ML Rouse, MC Poling, MK Hashimoto-Partyka, PL Mellon, and AS Kauffman. Absent progesterone signaling in kisspeptin neurons disrupts the LH surge and impairs fertility in female mice. Endocrinology (Accepted, In Press). 2015.
*Highlighted in News and Views section of the Journal

AS Kauffman, VG Thackray, GE Ryan, KP Tolson, CA Glidewell-Kenney, SJ Semaan, MC Poling, N Iwata, KM Breen, AJ Duleba, E Stener-Victorin, S Shimasaki, NJ Webster, and PL Mellon. A novel letrozole model recapitulates both the reproductive and metabolic phenotypes of polycystic ovary syndrome in female mice. Biology of Reproduction (Accepted in Press). 2015.

Semaan SJ and AS Kauffman. Daily successive changes in reproductive gene expression and neuronal activation in the brains of pubertal female mice. Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, 401, 84-97, 2015.

Russo KA, JL La, SBZ Stephens, MC Poling, NA Padgaonkar, KJ Jennings, DJ Piekarski, AS Kauffman, and LJ Kriegsfeld. Circadian control of the female reproductive axis through gated responsiveness of the RFRP-3 system to VIP signaling. Endocrinology, 156-2608-2618. 2015.

Poling MC, Shieh M, Munaganuru N, Luo E, and AS Kauffman. Examination of the influence of leptin and acute metabolic challenge on RFRP-3 neurons of mice in development and adulthood. Neuroendocrinology, 100: 317-333, 2014.

Koemeter-Cox A, TW Sherwood, JA Green, RA Steiner, NF Berbari, BK Yoder, AS Kauffman, PC Monsma, A Brown, CC Askwith, and K Mykytyn. Primary Cilia Enhance Kisspeptin Receptor Signaling on Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Neurons. PNAS 111: 10335-40. 2014.

Tolson KP, Garcia C, Yen S, Simonds S, Stefanidis A, Lawrence A, Smith JT, and AS Kauffman. Impaired kisspeptin signaling influences obesity, metabolism, and glucose homeostasis. J Clinical Investigation, 124(7): 3075-9, 2014.
Featured in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, Research Highlights, Sept. 2014.

AS Kauffman, Y Sun, J Kim, AR Khan, J Shu, and G Neal-Perry. Vasoactive intestinal peptide modulation of the steroid-induced LH surge involves kisspeptin signaling in young but not in middle-aged female rats. Endocrinology, 155: 2222-32, 2014.

Di Giorgio NP, SJ Semaan, J Kim, PV López, B Bettler, C Libertun, VA Lux-Lantos, and AS Kauffman. Impaired GABAB receptor signaling dramatically upregulates Kiss1 expression selectively in non-hypothalamic brain regions of adult but not prepubertal mice. Endocrinology, 155(3):1033-44, 2014.

Poling MC, Quennell J, Anderson GM, and Kauffman AS. Kisspeptin neurons do not directly signal to RFRP-3 neurons but RFRP-3 may directly modulate a subset of hypothalamic kisspeptin cells in mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 25: 876-886, 2013.

Kim J, Tolson KP, Dhamija S, and Kauffman AS. Developmental GnRH signaling is not required for sexual differentiation of kisspeptin neurons but is needed for maximal Kiss1 gene expression in adult females. Endocrinology, 154: 3273-83, 2013.

Dror T, Franks J, and Kauffman AS. Analysis of multiple positive feedback paradigms demonstrates a complete absence of LH surges and GnRH activation in mice lacking kisspeptin signaling. Biology of Reproduction, 88: 146-154, 2013.

Poling MC, Kim J, Dhamija S, and AS Kauffman. Development, sex steroid regulation, and phenotypic characterization of RFamide-Related Peptide (Rfrp) gene expression and RFamide receptors in the mouse hypothalamus. Endocrinology, 153, 1827-1840, 2012.

Semaan SJ, Dhamija S, Kim J, Ku EC, and AS Kauffman. Assessment of epigenetic contributions to sexually dimorphic Kiss1 expression in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus of mice. Endocrinology, 153, 1875-1886, 2012.
Highlighted in Endocrine News, Research Briefs, April 2012.

Poling MC and AS Kauffman. Sexually-dimorphic testosterone secretion in prenatal and neonatal mice is independent of kisspeptin-Kiss1r and GnRH signaling. Endocrinology, 153: 782-793, 2012.
Highlighted in Endocrine News, Research Briefs, Feb 2012.

Kim J, Semaan SJ, Clifton DK, Steiner RA, Dhamija S, and AS Kauffman. Regulation of Kiss1 expression by sex steroids in the amygdala of mice and rats. Endocrinology, 152: 2020-2030, 2011.
Featured in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, Research Highlights, May 2011.

Semaan SJ, Murray EK, Poling MC, Dhamija S, Forger NG, and AS Kauffman. BAX-dependent and -independent regulation of Kiss1 neuron development in mice. Endocrinology, 151: 5807-5817, 2010.

Kauffman AS, Navarro VM, Kim J, Clifton DK, and RA Steiner. Sex differences in the regulation of Kiss1/NKB neurons in juvenile mice: implications for the timing of puberty. Am J Physiol: Endocrinol and Metab 297: E1212-1221, 2009.