Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Anatomy & Neurobiology

First Advisor

Gretchen N. Neigh, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jeffrey L. Dupree, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Carmen Sato-Bigbee, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Unsong Oh, M.D.

Fifth Advisor

Peter J. Hamilton, Ph.D.


While neurocognitive disorders are becoming more prevalent within America’s aging populations, mood disorders are steadily being diagnosed at younger ages each year. The positive correlation between adverse childhood experience and the development of disorders including, depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease, suggests a crucial connection between trauma and long-lasting neurological changes. Previous focus has been on the impact of early life stress and the subsequent changes in the brain, however little focus has been placed on repeated trauma that begins in, and continues throughout, the highly dynamic and unique developmental period of adolescence into early adulthood. The combination of hormonal surges and peak in more severe trauma and abuse undoubtedly shapes the neural landscape. Moreover, the aforementioned disorders demonstrate sex-specific shifts that are heavily linked to the shift in hormone concentration circulating throughout the body during this period. The classification of stress as a metabolic disorder and the strong connection between sex hormones, mitochondrial function, and sex-specific alterations in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis following chronic stress (CS) have been topics of increased discussion. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to explore the relationship between these factors and potential mechanistic differences between the sexes. The overarching goal of this dissertation is to determine the effect of chronic repeated predation stress (CRPS) in the alteration of behavior and metabolic function in neurons in a sex- and stress- specific manner. Understanding the link between chronic repeated trauma and subsequent alterations in both brain and behavior in adulthood may aid in the identification of high-risk individuals, aid in the early detection of cognitive decline, and assist in the development of the neural mechanisms to be used in the development of novel, preventative treatments for both mood and neurodegenerative disorders to advance mental healthcare.


© Gladys Alexis Shaw

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


Available for download on Monday, August 09, 2027