women in science
Dr. Constantina Theofanopoulou is a Post-Doctoral researcher at the Rockefeller University and a Fellow at the New York University.
Her research interests range from neuroscience to genomics. 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. Using genomic tools, she 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). She has also studied the genomics of human social evolution, bringing forth evidence for a significant overlap in positive selection signals between humans and domesticated species, shedding light to the Darwinian theory of human self-domestication (Theofanopoulou et al. 2017 PLoS ONE).
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.