Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH)
Farida Sohrabji, Ph.D.
Dr. Farida Sohrabji is Associate Professor and Associate Department Head of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Bombay University, St. Xavier’s College, a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Bombay University and a joint doctoral degree in Neurobiology & Biopsychology from the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY. Her post-doctoral training was completed at Columbia University, New York. She joined the faculty of Texas A&M University in 1998, and is currently also an adjunct faculty member of the Department of Psychology, as well as a member of the Faculty for Neuroscience, the Reproduction Forum and the Center for Environmental and Reproductive Health. Dr. Sohrabji was recently appointed Director of the Women’s Health in Neuroscience Program at the TAMHSC College of Medicine.
Dr. Sohrabji teaches freshman medical students and participates in research training and coursework for the graduate program. She is actively involved in graduate education through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), serves on the Graduate Instruction Committee of the College of Medicine and represents the GSBS at the Faculty Senate.
Dr. Sohrabji has an active research program in Neuroscience. She is interested in the broad issue of Womens’ Health, especially, as it relates to issue surrounding the menopause and hormone therapy during the menopause. Specifically, Dr. Sohrabji’s laboratory uses an animal model of the menopause to study whether estrogen treatment would be beneficial to brain health. Brain function is severely affected by stroke and Dr. Sohrabji’s laboratory is interested in understanding how estrogen treatment affects the severity of stroke. Current research is her laboratory focuses on changes in the blood brain barrier, anatomical and behavioral changes that occur in stroke-related injury and brain-immune interactions regulated by estrogen and its implications for estrogen and hormone replacement at menopause. Her laboratory was the first to show, in an animal model, that the efficacy of estrogen replacement is dependent on the reproductive age of the individual. She has published several peer- reviewed and invited papers in this area of research. Dr. Sohrabji is a member of the Consortium to Assess Research on Progestins and Estrogen (CARPE) and the NIA- Midwest Estrogen Group. She also serves on research review panels of the National Institute of Health and the American Heart Association. Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1997 and, in the past, by the Alzheimer’s Association.
I am interested in two critical issues in women's health and aging, specifically, in understanding how the decline of hormones at menopause affects brain function, and the impact of hormone replacement therapy on stroke and inflammation. Women’s health is a significant public health issue as the population ages, especially since women tend to outlive men by several years. Clinical management of women’s health has also become more complicated in the wake of the Women’s Health Initiative, which taught us that the decision to use hormone therapy at menopause has to be based on a complex set of considerations. Hormone therapy is not as straightforward as it used to be considered and may have unexpected risks for future health. Women, and their caregivers, are faced with contradictory and confusing data, and now, more than ever, there is an urgent need for careful and controlled basic science and clinical research in this area.
Specifically, my lab studies the effects of estrogen in stroke injury in an animal model. The risk for stroke increases with age and while more men than women suffer a stroke, perimenopausal women (45–54 years) are at a much higher risk for stroke than men. Because this age parallels the menopause, where estrogen levels are declining, our goal is to understand whether estrogen therapy is protective against stroke in older women, as well identify alternative therapies that may improve stroke outcome in older women.