women in science
Constantina Theofanopoulou is an Associate Research Professor at Hunter College, City University of New York, a Visiting Associate Professor at the Rockefeller University and a Visiting Scholar at the New York University. She is directing the Neurobiology of Social Communication lab, which is co-funded by both Hunter College and Rockefeller University.
She is interested in understanding the neurobiology of social communication, in complex human behaviors, such as speech and dance. For her Ph.D. (University of Barcelona, Duke University and Rockefeller University) she worked on the neurobiology of language, and specifically on the social reward mechanisms of vocal learning, studying the role of oxytocin in vocal learning in songbirds (Theofanopoulou et al. 2017 Proceedings B). This project led her to realize that the oxytocin/vasotocin field was suffering from an old and inconsistent gene nomenclature, which was hampering advances and translation of findings. During her Post Doc (Rockefeller University), she used genomic methods and proposed novel ways of how gene nomenclature should be revisited, aiming at a universal vertebrate gene nomenclature, shaking traditional views of the pre-genomic era (Theofanopoulou et al. 2021 Nature).
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Constantina is a strong advocate for supporting women and other underrepresented minorities in Science. She is currently a STEM mentor in the New York Academy of Sciences program, teaching Life Sciences to elementary and middle school students in underserved communities throughout NYC. In 2021, she was voted networking coordinator at the Council of the Rockefeller Inclusive Science Initiative. She has also been selected as a Women on Top for mentoring voluntarily women from her home country, Greece. She has mentored young female scientists in several programs, such as the Summer Science Research Program at Rockefeller University. During her Ph.D., she received a grant from AGAUR (Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants) for a project aiming at supporting underrepresented minorities in science. During her undergraduate studies, she joined the initiative Pathways of Life, where she gave support classes to young immigrants from adverse backgrounds (war, extreme poverty, family abuse) coming to Greece for a better life.