Victoria Cavener


PhD Candidate, Neuroscience

    My research project involves characterizing the interaction between CaMKII and a MAGUK family protein isoform called SAP97-I3.  Binding and/or Phosphorylation of SAP97-I3 by CaMKII may regulate metaplastic changes in excitatory transmission by indirectly influencing the phosphorylation status of the GluA1 subunit of AMPA receptors. I am looking at this interaction in the context of excitatory pyramidal neuron synapses within the lateral amygdala during fear renewal after extinction in a rodent model. I hope to discover a novel mechanism that underlies plasticity changes during fear renewal that could lead to new insights about anxiety disorders and how fear renewal becomes maladaptive. After spending 9 years as a Navy Corpsman, I am driven to work on new treatment strategies for those suffering from PTSD.

   In addition I have a growing interest in science policy and hope to build support for science through strengthening the scientific community’s relationship with the public and voter interests.