PEORIA — A researcher with the University of Illinois College of Medicine Peoria has been awarded a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Eleonora Zakharian, associate professor in the Cancer Biology and Pharmacology Department at UICOMP, will use the money to fund a three-year research study titled “Rapid testosterone signaling receptor TRPM8 regulates sexual reward and satiety.”

A recent discovery by Zakharian’s laboratory identified a unique testosterone receptor on the cell surface that is responsible for rapid testosterone actions. This research will investigate the intricate details of this rapid testosterone signaling mechanism and reveal its role in sexual and social behaviors in rodents. The project will assess how rapid signaling through testosterone receptor regulates steroid synthesis, sexually dimorphic behaviors, and regarding aspects of these behaviors. The research also aims to enhance the educational basis in understanding organismal differences during development.