We study the neurobiology of energy balance. Using cutting-edge approaches, we are working to understand the molecular, cellular, and circuit mechanisms through which the brain regulates food intake and energy expenditure. We are also developing novel technologies to better understand how the brain effects changes in behavior and physiology. Most recently, we have focused our research on two small populations of cells within the brainstem’s dorsal raphe nucleus, which can bidirectionally regulate both food intake and energy expenditure. We believe that studying these neurons may elucidate novel biological mechanisms through which the brain regulates body weight, and maladaptive states that arise from CNS malfunction, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Molecules

We are working to characterize the molecular composition of brainstem cell types regulating body weight, using ensemble and single-cell profiling methodologies.

Cells

Using functional approaches, such as in vivo calcium imaging and optogenetics, we are probing the function of discrete cell types throughout the brain.

Circuits

Through the development and application of new viral approaches, we are working to identify polysynaptic circuits regulating feeding and thermogenesis.

Behavior & Physiology

Our lab is most interested in characterizing the brainstem cell types regulating behavioral and physiologic processes responsible for maintaining energy balance.