Cell Signaling & Cell/Environment Interactions (Area Director)
Developmental Biology, Stem Cells & Aging
Neural and cellular mechanisms governing energy homeostasis
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We pursue multi-pronged investigations into how energy availability is sensed, communicated and integrated. Fat cells communicate information regarding stored lipid levels to neural circuits. Neural circuits integrate physiological inputs, such as stored fat levels, to regulate organismal behaviors including hunger and exercise. Our goal is to understand how fat communicates nutrient status to the brain, and how chronic nutrient surplus disrupts this communication. The fundamental insights we gain can be leveraged to tackle obesity and chronic health issues.