Nancy Wayne, Ph.D.

Work Address:
Los Angeles, CA 90095 CHS
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Professor, Physiology
Member, Brain Research Institute, Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area, Neuroscience GPB Home Area
Research Interests
The research goals of my lab are to understand central mechanisms controlling the activity of reproductive neuroendocrine cells. We study gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons of transgenic zebrafish and medaka fish as a model of central control of reproductive development and fertility. In all vertebrates studied to date, GnRH neurons are the command cells for controlling reproductive physiology and behavior through the secretion of the decapeptide GnRH. We have developed zebrafish and medaka as novel animal models for studying GnRH neurophysiology. We generated transgenic zebrafish in which green fluorescent protein (GFP) is expressed in selective GnRH ; and we have two transgenic populations of medaka expressing GFP in GnRH neurons. Using these transgenic animals, we can identify specific GnRH neurons for neurophysiological analysis and optical imaging in living tissue and the intact living embryo. Changes in the cell physiology of GnRH neurons ultimately control reproductive physiology and behaviors. Therefore, understanding how external and internal signals influence GnRH neuronal function will give us critical information regarding their effects on reproduction. Techniques that are used in these studies include whole-cell electrophysiology and confocal optical imaging.

Nancy L. Wayne is a reproductive neuroendocrinologist who joined the Department of Physiology in the School of Medicine in 1992. She became Full Professor of Physiology in 2005. Dr. Wayne earned her B.A. in Biology at Northwestern University in Evanston and her Ph.D. in Physiology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of Virginia, where she worked on environmental regulation of reproduction. Since arriving at UCLA, Dr. Wayne has been an active member of the Laboratory for Neuroendocrinology in the Brain Research Institute. Dr. Wayne's laboratory research is focused on understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms by which neuroendocrine cells respond to internal and external signals, and how these neurophysiological responses influence reproductive behaviors. This research gives us the opportunity to explore basic mechanisms by which the brain controls and coordinates physiology and behavior. Dr. Wayne created and leads WOMEN ADVANCING TOGETHER workshops for for professionals, students and trainees, and administrators to help women overcome barriers in their careers. These are practical, goal-oriented, problem-solving experiences that leave participants energized and empowered to address the challenges of their daily lives. For more information, including Dr. Wayne's blogs on topics of interest to women working in a man's world, go to:


A selected list of publications:

Ramakrishnan Siddharth, Lee Wenjau, Navarre Sammy, Kozlowski David J, Wayne Nancy L   Acquisition of spontaneous electrical activity during embryonic development of gonadotropin-releasing hormone-3 neurons located in the terminal nerve of transgenic zebrafish (Danio rerio) General and comparative endocrinology, 2010; 168(3): 401-7.
Wayne Nancy L, Vermillion Michelle, Uijtdehaage Sebastian   Gender differences in leadership amongst first-year medical students in the small-group setting Academic medicine : journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 2010; 85(8): 1276-81.
Tsai Pei-San, Sun Biao, Rochester Johanna R, Wayne Nancy L   Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-like molecule is not an acute reproductive activator in the gastropod, Aplysia californica General and comparative endocrinology, 2010; 166(2): 280-8.
Ramakrishnan S, Wayne NL   Social cues from conspecifics alter electrical activity of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons in the terminal nerve via visual signals Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol, 2009; 297(1): R135-R141.
Ramakrishnan S, Wayne NL   Impact of bisphenol-A on early embryonic development and reproductive maturation in medaka (Oryzias latipes) Reprod Toxicol, 2008; 25: 177-183.
Wayne NL, Kuwahara K   Beta-endorphin alters electrical activity of gonadotropin releasing hormone neurons located in the terminal nerve of the teleost medaka (Oryzias latipes) Gen Comp Endocrinol, 2007; 150: 41-47.
Wayne, NL Kuwahara, K Aida, K Nagahama, Y Okubo, K   Whole-cell electrophysiology of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons that express green fluorescent protein in the terminal nerve of transgenic medaka (Oryzias latipes) Biology of reproduction, 2005; 73(6): 1228-34.
Wayne, NL Lee, W Michel, S Dyer, J Sossin, WS   Activity-dependent regulation of neurohormone synthesis and its impact on reproductive behavior in aplysia Biology of reproduction. , 2004; 70(2): 277-81.
Wayne, NL Lee, W Michel, S De Quintana, SB   Post-afterdischarge depolarization does not stimulate prolonged neurohormone secretion but is required for activity-dependent stimulation of neurohormone biosynthesis from peptidergic neurons Endocrinology. , 2004; 145(4): 1678-84.
Lee, W Wayne, NL   Secretion of locally synthesized neurohormone from neurites of peptidergic neurons Journal of neurochemistry. , 2004; 88(3): 532-7.
Wayne, NL Michel, S   Synaptic stimulation of Aplysia peptidergic neurons can activate hormone secretion in the absence of an afterdischarge Neuroscience letters. , 2004; 362(3): 249-52.
Dyer, JR Michel, S Lee, W Castellucci, VF Wayne, NL Sossin, WS   An activity-dependent switch to cap-independent translation triggered by eIF4E dephosphorylation Nature neuroscience. , 2003; 6(3): 219-20.
Michel S, Wayne NL   Neurohormone secretion persists following post-afterdischarge membrane depolarization and cytosolic calcium elevation in peptidergic neurons in intact nervous tissue, J. Neurosci, 2002; 22: 9063-9069.
Lee, W Jones, AM Ono, JK Wayne, NL   Regional differences in processing of locally translated prohormone in peptidergic neurons of Aplysia californica Journal of neurochemistry. , 2002; 83(6): 1423-30.
Zhang, L Wayne, NL Sherwood, NM Postigo, HR Tsai, PS   Biological and immunological characterization of multiple GnRH in an opisthobranch mollusk, Aplysia californica General and comparative endocrinology. , 2000; 118(1): 77-89.
Wayne, NL Lee, W Kim, YJ   Persistent activation of calcium-activated and calcium-independent protein kinase C in response to electrical afterdischarge from peptidergic neurons of aplysia Brain research. , 1999; 834(1-2): 211-3.
Wayne, NL Kim, J Lee, E   Prolonged hormone secretion from neuroendocrine cells of Aplysia is independent of extracellular calcium Journal of neuroendocrinology. , 1998; 10(7): 529-37.
Wayne, NL Kim, YJ Yong-Montenegro, RJ   Seasonal fluctuations in the secretory response of neuroendocrine cells of Aplysia californica to inhibitors of protein kinase A and protein kinase C General and comparative endocrinology. , 1998; 109(3): 356-65.
Lee, W Wayne, NL   The roles of transcription and translation in mediating the effect of electrical afterdischarge on neurohormone synthesis in Aplysia bag cell neurons Endocrinology. , 1998; 139(12): 5109-15.
Jonas, EA Knox, RJ Smith, TC Wayne, NL Connor, JA Kaczmarek, LK   Regulation by insulin of a unique neuronal Ca2+ pool and of neuropeptide secretion Nature, 1997; 385(6614): 343-6.
Lee, W Wayne, NL   The fate of newly synthesized hormone from neuroendocrine cells of Aplysia General and comparative endocrinology. , 1997; 107(2): 201-11.
Nick, TA Moreira, JE Kaczmarek, LK Carew, TJ Wayne, NL   Developmental dissociation of excitability and secretory ability in Aplysia bag cell neurons Journal of neurophysiology. , 1996; 76(5): 3351-9.
Wayne, NL, Frumovitz, M.   Calcium influx following onset of electrical afterdischarge is not required for hormone secretion from neuroendocrine cells of Aplysia, J. Endocrinology, 1995; 136: 369-372.
Wayne, NL   The neuroendocrine bag cells of Aplysia: a model system for neural control of hormone secretion The Journal of endocrinology. , 1995; 147(1): 1-4.
Wayne, NL Wong, H   Persistence of hormone secretion from neuroendocrine cells of aplysia after termination of electrical afterdischarge Endocrinology. , 1994; 134(3): 1046-54.
Zhao Y, Wayne NL   Effects of kisspeptin1 on electrical activity of an extrahypothalamic population of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons in medaka (Oryzias latipes) PLoS One, 2012; 7(5): e37909.
Zhao Y, Wayne NL   Recording electrical activity from identified neurons in the intact brain of transgenic fish J Vis Exp, 2013; 70: e50312.
Zhao Y, Lin MC, Farajzadeh M, Wayne NL   Early development of the gonadotropin-releasing hormone neuronal network in transgenic zebrafish Front Endocrinol (Lausanne), 2013; 4: 107.
Zhao Y, Lin MC, Mock A, Yang M, Wayne NL   Kisspeptins modulate the biology of multiple populations of gonadotropin-releasing hormone neurons during embryogenesis and adulthood in zebrafish (Danio rerio) PLoS ONE, 2014; 9(8): e104330.