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Our Laboratory

We investigate the neuro-hormonal basis for complex eating behaviors and blood glucose control, with the ultimate goal of designing new methods to prevent and treat extremes of body weight and associated disorders of mood and metabolism.

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Ghrelin and complex eating behaviors

Over the years, we have helped define essential roles for ghrelin in mediating reward-based eating, stress-induced comfort food eating and cue-potentiated feeding. Ongoing studies are aimed at identifying the CNS sites and mechanisms by which ghrelin has those effects, and whether these actions are responsible for the maladaptive eating behaviors associated with Prader-Willi Syndrome.

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Ghrelin and Mood

Our group has demonstrated protective, anti-depressant-like actions for the ghrelin system, occurring as a result of protection of adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Ongoing studies are further investigating the significance of neurogenesis on ghrelin’s anti-depressant and other actions.

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Ghrelin and Blood Glucose

Ghrelin is critical in defending against marked hypoglycemia and death in the setting of prolonged and severe caloric restriction. Ongoing studies in the lab are investigating the central and peripheral sites responsible for ghrelin’s glucoregulatory actions as well as the mechanism by which glucose directly regulates ghrelin release.

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Secretion of ghrelin and other stomach hormones

 Ongoing studies in the lab are investigating the central and peripheral sites responsible for ghrelin’s glucoregulatory actions as well as the mechanism by which glucose directly regulates ghrelin release.

Research

Our work spans the fields of molecular endocrinology, behavioral neuroscience, and neuroanatomy and includes mouse, human and cell culture experiments.
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Lab Members

Lab Members