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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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Eating, Obesity, and Exercise

We have demonstrated key roles for the hormone ghrelin in reward-based eating, stress-induced comfort food eating, and responses to exercise. Ongoing studies aim to identify the CNS sites and mechanisms by which ghrelin affects eating, body weight, and exercise and how ghrelin contributes to obesity, cachexia, and Prader-Willi Syndrome.

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Diabetes and Hypoglycemia

Ghrelin is critical in defending against marked hypoglycemia and death under conditions of marked calorie restriction. Ongoing studies in the lab investigate the CNS and peripheral sites and pathways responsible for ghrelin’s blood glucose-related actions in conditions such as diabetes and hypoglycemia.

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Secretion of ghrelin and other stomach hormones

We are using a one-of-a-kind set of tools to study the mechanisms directing ghrelin secretion and the physiology of gastric endocrine cells in several different metabolic settings

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Ghrelin, Stress, and Depression

Our group has demonstrated protective, anti-depressant-like actions and food reward-stimulating actions for the ghrelin system under conditions of chronic psychosocial stress. We have identified adult hippocampal neurogenesis as a mechanism for this anti-depressant-like effect of ghrelin.

Research

The Zigman lab investigates how gastrointestinal hormones interact with the brain and peripheral nervous system to control eating, body weight, blood glucose, and mood in an effort to devise better treatments for obesity, diabetes, eating disorders, and depression.

Meet Dr. Zigman

Jeffrey Zigman, M.D., Ph.D.

Meet the Lab

Meet the Lab