Department of Reproductive Medicine

Alexander S. Kauffman

Alexander S. Kauffman , PhD
Associate Professor
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology

Telephone: (858) 246-0219
Fax: (858) 534-1438

Administrative Assistant:
Ruth Montouri  (858) 534-1140

Visit our site at: The Kauffman Lab

Education and Training

University of California, Berkeley, CA. Ph.D. in Integrative Biology, 2002
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2002 – 2005
University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Senior Post-Doctoral Fellow, 2005 –2008


Honors and Awards

Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences (FABBS), Early Career Investigator Award (2012)

Nominee, UCSD Garnett-Powers & Associates Excellence in Postdoctoral Scholar Mentoring Award (2012)

Health Sciences Academic Senate International Travel Award, University of California San Diego (2012)

NIH R01 HD065856 Grant; “Neuroendocrine regulation of the reproductive axis during puberty and development.” $1,875,000 total costs (Aug 2010 – July 2015)

NSF Research Grant IOS-1025893; “Regulation of neural circuits underlying mammalian reproduction.” $900,000 total costs (Aug 2010 – July 2015)\

National Center for Leadership in Academic Medicine, University of California San Diego (2010)

NIH Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (DERC), Pilot Grant, $40,000 (June 2010 – May 2011)

NICHD R00 Individual grant in Reproductive Neuroendocrinology (HD056157; Jan 2009 – Dec, 2011)


Young Investigator Award, US-Japan Symposium on Steroid Hormone Receptors in the Brain (2008)


Young Investigator Award, Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology (2004)


Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor, University of California, Berkeley (1999-2000)


Teaching Effectiveness Award, University of California, Berkeley (2000)


Service and Society Memberships

Neuroendocrinology, Associate Editor, 2012 – present

Endocrinology, Editorial Board, 2013 – present


Program Committee and Scientific Advisory Board, 2ND World Conference on Kisspeptin Signaling, 2012


NIH/NICHD Advisory Panel for Neuroendocrinology Research, Bethesda, MD, September, 2011


Ad-hoc Grant Reviewer, National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH)


Faculty Advisor, Society for Undergraduate Research and Outreach (SURO), U.C. San Diego, 2011 – present


Chair, Seminar Committee, Dept. of Reproductive Medicine, U.C. San Diego, 2009 – present


Chair, Endocrinology Focus Group, Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, UCSD, 2011 – present


Medical Science Training Program (MD/PHD) Admissions Committee, UCSD, 2012 – present


UCSD Academic Senate, Representative Assembly, 2013 – present


Neuroendocrinology, Editorial Board member


Faculty of 1000, Associate Faculty Member


Ad-hoc journal reviewer: American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology, Biology of Reproduction, Hormones and Behavior, Neuroscience, Neuroendocrinology, Journal of Neuroendocrinology, Physiology and Behavior, Journal of Biological Rhythms, Comparative Biochemistry & Physiology; Journal of Endocrinology, Peptides, Behavioral Brain Research, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology


Society for Neuroscience (SFN), member


Endocrine Society, member


Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology (SBN), member


Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology, Program Committee member, 2009-2011


Research Interests

I am interested in how the brain controls reproduction (i.e., reproductive neuroendocrinology). Specifically, I study how neuropeptides in specific brain regions stimulate or inhibit reproductive control centers in the forebrain, and how these processes ultimately affect an animal's reproductive physiology and fertility. I am also interested in how these neural regulatory circuits are themselves influenced by developmental factors, hormones, neural signals, and environmental factors (food, stress, photoperiod, etc.) both in adulthood as well as during critical periods of development such as puberty and sexual differentiation. The long-term goal is to apply what we learn about the neuroendocrine control of reproduction to improving and advancing medical and therapeutic treatments of human infertility, precocious or delayed puberty, and other reproductive disorders.


Selected Publications

Tolson KP, Garcia C, Yen S, Simonds S, Stefanidis A, Lawrence A, Smith JT, and AS Kauffman. Impaired kisspeptin signaling influences obesity, metabolism, and glucose homeostasis. J Clinical Investigation (Accepted in Press). 2014.

Koemeter-Cox A, TW Sherwood, JA Green, RA Steiner, NF Berbari, BK Yoder, AS Kauffman, PC Monsma, A Brown, CC Askwith, and K Mykytyn. Primary Cilia Enhance Kisspeptin Receptor Signaling on Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Neurons. PNAS (Accepted in Press). 2014.

AS Kauffman, Y Sun, J Kim, AR Khan, J Shu, and G Neal-Perry. Vasoactive intestinal peptide modulation of the steroid-induced LH surge involves kisspeptin signaling in young but not in middle-aged female rats. Endocrinology, 155: 2222-32, 2014.

Di Giorgio NP, SJ Semaan, J Kim, PV López, B Bettler, C Libertun, VA Lux-Lantos, and AS Kauffman. Impaired GABAB receptor signaling dramatically upregulates Kiss1 expression selectively in non-hypothalamic brain regions of adult but not prepubertal mice. Endocrinology, 155(3):1033-44, 2014.

Poling MC, Quennell J, Anderson GM, and Kauffman AS. Kisspeptin neurons do not directly signal to RFRP-3 neurons but RFRP-3 may directly modulate a subset of hypothalamic kisspeptin cells in mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology 25: 876-886, 2013.

Kim J, Tolson KP, Dhamija S, and Kauffman AS. Developmental GnRH signaling is not required for sexual differentiation of kisspeptin neurons but is needed for maximal Kiss1 gene expression in adult females. Endocrinology, 154: 3273-83, 2013.

Semaan, SJ, Tolson, KP, and Kauffman AS. Development of kisspeptin circuits in the mammalian brain. Adv Exp Med Biol, 784: 221-252. 2013.

Witham EA, Meadows JD, Hoffmann HM, Shojeai S, Coss DJ, Kauffman AS, and PL Mellon. Kisspeptin regulates gonadotropin genes via immediate early gene induction in pituitary gonadotropes. Molecular Endocrinology, 27: 1283-1294, 2013.

Dror T, Franks J, and Kauffman AS. Analysis of multiple positive feedback paradigms demonstrates a complete absence of LH surges and GnRH activation in mice lacking kisspeptin signaling. Biology of Reproduction, 88: 146-154, 2013.

Rizwan M, Poling MC, Corr M, Cornes PA, Augustine RA, Quennell JH, Kauffman AS, and GM Anderson. RFamide-Related Peptide-3 receptor gene expression in GnRH and kisspeptin neurons and GnRH-dependent mechanism of action. Endocrinology, 153: 3770-3779, 2012.

Poling MC, Kim J, Dhamija S, and AS Kauffman. Development, sex steroid regulation, and phenotypic characterization of RFamide-Related Peptide (Rfrp) gene expression and RFamide receptors in the mouse hypothalamus. Endocrinology, 153, 1827-1840, 2012.

Semaan SJ, Dhamija S, Kim J, Ku EC, and AS Kauffman. Assessment of epigenetic contributions to sexually dimorphic Kiss1 expression in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus of mice. Endocrinology, 153, 1875-1886, 2012.

Poling MC and AS Kauffman. Sexually-dimorphic testosterone secretion in prenatal and neonatal mice is independent of kisspeptin-Kiss1r and GnRH signaling. Endocrinology, 153: 782-793, 2012.

Poling, MC and Kauffman, AS. Organizational and activational effects of sex steroids on kisspeptin neurons in development. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, 34:3-17, 2013.

Khan, AR and Kauffman, AS. The role of kisspeptin and RFRP-3 neurons in the circadian-timed preovulatory luteinizing hormone surge. J Neuroendocrinology, 24: 131-143. 2012.

Kim J, Semaan SJ, Clifton DK, Steiner RA, Dhamija S, and AS Kauffman. Sex steroid regulation of Kiss1 expression in the amygdala of mice and rats. Endocrinology, 152: 2020-2030, 2011.
Featured in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, Research Highlights, May 2011.

Semaan SJ, Murray EK, Poling MC, Dhamija S, Forger NG, and AS Kauffman. BAX-dependent and -independent regulation of Kiss1 neuron development in mice. Endocrinology, 151: 5807-5817, 2010.

Kauffman AS, Navarro VM, Kim J, Clifton DK, and RA Steiner. Sex differences in the regulation of Kiss1/NKB neurons in juvenile mice: implications for the timing of puberty. Am J Physiol: Endocrinol And Metab 297: E1212-1221, 2009.

Robertson JL, Clifton DK, De la Iglesia HO, Steiner RA, and AS Kauffman. Circadian regulation of Kiss1 neurons: implications for timing the preovulatory GnRH/LH surge. Endocrinology 150: 3664-3671, 2009.

Roseweir A, Kauffman AS, Smith JT, Morgan K, Pielecka-Fortuna J, Pineda P, Gottsch ML, Tena-Sempere M, Moenter SM, Clarke I, Steiner RA, and RP Millar. Discovery of potent kisspeptin antagonists delineate physiological mechanisms of gonadotropin regulation. Journal of Neuroscience 29: 3920–3929, 2009.

Kauffman AS, Park JH. McPhie-Lalmansingh AA, Gottsch ML, Bodo C, Clifton DK, Steiner RA, and EF Rissman. The kisspeptin receptor GPR54 is required for sexual differentiation of the brain and behavior. Journal of Neuroscience, 27(33): 8826-8835; 2007.
*Featured in “This week in the Journal” in the August 15 issue

Kauffman, AS, Gottsch, ML, Roa, J, Byquist, A, Crown, A, Clifton, DK, Hoffman, GE, Steiner, RA, and M Tena-Sempere. Sexual differentiation of Kiss1 gene expression in the brain of the rat. Endocrinology, 148: 1774-1783, 2007.