Dr. Rochelle Hines, and her collaborator and partner Dr. Dustin Hines, were selected for the first ever “OUR Director’s Faculty Research Mentor Award”, based on their exceptional work with undergraduate researchers. Dr. Frink, OUR Director, noted that their “work with students, both the cutting-edge biomedical research program and the comprehensive professional career stage development mentoring, stands out among a long list of outstanding UNLV research mentors”. Dr. Hines presently supervises eleven undergraduate students in laboratory research, along with three high school students, and a graduate student (15 total). The majority of Dr. Hines students have presented at local and/or national meetings, and many have been awarded or recognized for their impressive presentations.
A particular area of focus for Rochelle has been promotion of diversity in the STEM workforce through mentoring, scholarly activity and service. Of the students presently mentored by Dr. Hines, twelve are ethnic minorities, and eleven are female. Dr. Hines has participated in the NIH funded Journey summer academics program, mentoring Native American High School student, Kayla Bland, for two consecutive summers. The work facilitated by this program was recently highlighted on UNLVs News Center (https://www.unlv.edu/news/release/journey-program), and this fall Kayla will join UNLV to study Biochemistry with a minor in Neuroscience. Dr. Hines has also participated as a mentor for the McNair program and the AANAPISI program, increasing the inclusion of underrepresented students and low income students in summer research activity. Support of these programs is significant as exposure to laboratory research is known to reduce attrition from STEM disciplines for underrepresented students. Dr. Hines has also served as PI or contributed to three grants focused on obtaining much needed funds for Research Education at UNLV, with promotion of diversity as a focus.
Rochelle Hines’ research is aimed at understanding neurodevelopmental processes under normal and pathological conditions, which include autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, and developmental epilepsies. In particular, Rochelle’s studies focus on understanding the formation and stabilization of specific synapse types during development, with an emphasis on inhibitory synapses. Rochelle employs molecular genetics, biochemistry, confocal and electron microscopy, behavioral assessments and electroencephalography in mouse models to gain understanding of how inhibitory synapse function and dysfunction during development impacts brain signaling, circuitry and behavior. The ultimate goal of Rochelle’s research is to improve our understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders and to promote novel therapeutic strategies.
Rochelle earned her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (2009), followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston, MA (2015).