Obesity is a growing health concern worldwide. Obesity-related conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke result in premature death. How the brain regulates food intake and energy expenditure is complex and influenced by both central and peripheral signals. My research focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms that regulate neuronal excitability in the hypothalamus, a region of the brain that controls appetite and satiety. Several G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are highly expressed in the hypothalamus and regulate feeding behavior, such melanin concentrating hormone receptor 1 and melanocortin 4 receptor. These receptors localize to primary cilia, solitary microtubule-based cell protrusions. The impact of this subcellular localization on their signaling capabilities is unclear. Our goal is to understand how of primary neuronal cilia and the localization of GPCRs within them contribute to neuronal activity and subsequently feeding behaviors. To study neuronal ciliary signaling, our lab uses mouse models, pharmacology, and electrophysiology.
Biological Science
molecular biology obesity