Catherine Jensen Peña receives the Frank A Beach Early Career Award

In December 2021, the Society of Behavioral Endocrinology announced that Cate Peña had been awarded the prestigious Frank A. Beach Early Career Award. She shares the award with Aubrey Kelly of Emory University. Cate Peña has been a member of the Behavioral Neuroendocrinology Society since graduate school at Columbia University, where she studied the neuroendocrine and epigenetic mechanisms that regulate maternal behavior in rats. Her undergraduate advisor, Tracy Bale, as well as her graduate advisor, Frances Champagne – who nominated her for the award – both received this award in 2003 and 2009. “I am extremely honored to follow in their footsteps” said Cate Peña. The award will be officially recognized at the annual meeting of the society in June 2022.

Cate Peña joined the faculty of Princeton Neuroscience Institute in 2019. Her lab focuses on how early-life stress impacts neurodevelopment and leads to an increase in the risk of psychiatric diseases such as depression. She studies how cell-specific activation leads to hypersensitivity to stressors using epigenetic and chemo-genetic approaches. “I moved away from neuroendocrinology during my post-doctoral fellowship, but my lab is coming back to it now! In addition to being inspired by organizational-activational processes, one of our projects is on stress and thyroid hormone, and another is examining the neurobiological regulation of paternal care.” This award is a testament to the excellence of her work and her vision for the future of her lab.

by Caroline Jahn