Yelena Grinberg

Ph.D. Candidate in Neurobiology

Yelena Grinberg graduated with a B.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Psychology, with a minor in Chemistry in 2007 from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, under the mentorship of Dr. Donna Korol.  In the Korol lab, Yelena studied neural plasticity with an emphasis on estradiol and memory.  Following graduation, Yelena worked as a technician in Dr. Duncan Ferguson’s laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois, focusing on thyroid hormone physiology, pharmacology and toxicology.  Yelena joined the Kraig laboratory in 2009, where she studies the role of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in neuronal activity-dependent neuroprotection.  Specifically, Yelena's in vitro work describing IGF-1-mediated reduction in brain susceptibility to spreading depression (the most likely cause of migraine aura and perhaps migraine) has lead to a thesis topic focusing on preclinical development of IGF-1 as a novel therapeutic for migraine.  Work so far has shown that IGF-1 alters microglial response to spreading depression --decreasing microglial oxidative stress, TNF-alpha production, and promoting a 'quiescent' as opposed to an 'activated' morphology.  Current work is translating these in vitro findings to the in vivo condition, where IGF-1 is being applied intranasally and spreading depression threshold evaluated in rat neocortex.

Yelena's research interests also include 1) identifying the mechanisms by which aging results in decreased memory performance and neurovascular coupling, and 2) identifying mechanisms by which certain physiological interventions such as exercise, environmental enrichment, or introduction of plant-based dietary compounds improve cognitive function and alter neuroimmune signaling in the aged as well as the young.


Society for Neuroscience                                                                   American Heart Association

Honors & Awards

Pritzker Fellowship in the Neurosciences 2009 – 2010

The Chicago Chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, Second Place Winner of the 2013 Graduate Student Poster Competition

2013 Travel Award from the University of Chicago Biological Sciences Division

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Shi L, Lin S, Grinberg Y, Beck Y, Grozinger CM, Robinson GE, Lee T (2007) Roles of Drosophila Kruppel-homolog 1 in neuronal morphogenesis. Dev Neurobiol. 2007 67:1614-26.

Grinberg YY, Milton JG, Kraig RP (2011) Spreading depression sends microglia on Lévy flights. PLoS One. 6:e19294.

Pusic AD, Grinberg YY, Mitchell HM, Kraig RP (2011) Modeling neural immune signaling of episodic and chronic migraine using spreading depression in vitro. J Vis Exp. doi: 10.3791/2910.

Cipolla M, Pusic AD, Grinberg YY, Chapman A, Poynter ME, Kraig RP (2012) Pregnant Serum Induces Neuroinflammation and Seizure Activity via TNF-alphaExperimental Neurology 234: 398-404.

Grinberg YY, van Drongelen W, Kraig RP (2012) Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Lowers Spreading Depression Susceptibility and Reduces Oxidative Stress. J Neurochem 122:221-229.

Grinberg YY, Dibbern ME, Levasseur VA, Kraig RP (2013) Insulin-like growth factor-1 abrogates microglial oxidative stress and TNF-a responses to spreading depression. J Neurochem. 126:662-672. [Cover image]

Meeting Abstracts

Grinberg YY, Milton JG, Kraig RP (2010) Microglial cells search via Lévy flights, with increased run lengths after TNF-α or reduced neuronal activity. Soc. Neurosci. 36. Prog #346.1

Grinberg YY, Kraig RP (2011) Insulin-like growth factor-1 (and insulin) mitigates spreading depression susceptibility: Implications for migraine therapy. Soc. Neurosci. 37. Prog #875.07

Grinberg YY, Dibbern ME, Kraig RP (2012) Oxidative stress from spreading depression preferentially rises in astrocytes and microglia, with the latter effect abrogated by IGF-1. Soc. Neurosci. 38. Prog #62.11

Fan Y, Pusic AD, Grinberg YY, Kraig RP (2012) Spreading depression is preceded by a rise in neuronal intracellular chloride. Soc Neurosci. 38. Prog #247.20