Overview of Our Research
The autonomic nervous system comprises a network of sensory and motor neurons which connect the brainstem and spinal cord to thoracic and abdominal organs. A better understanding of the anatomical and functional plasticity of the autonomic nervous system will likely move forward our understanding of numerous chronic diseases including, but not limited to, obesity, diabetes, visceral pain, neuropathy and eating disorders. Furthermore, the fact that autonomic nerves reside outside the blood-brain barrier makes them a particularly relevant target for pharmacological agents and device-assisted manipulations such as vagus nerve stimulation. Using the power of the Cre-LoxP technology combined with techniques of molecular neuroanatomy and metabolic physiology, our laboratory is trying to elucidate the role played by the autonomic nervous system including vagal sensory neurons in the pathophysiology of chronic metabolic diseases.