Gut-brain neurophysiology of feeding and metabolic disorders
The vagus nerve acts as a conduit for information transmitted between the visceral organs and the brain, particularly in regard to nutrient ingestion, satiation, and food reward. These functions are thought to be disrupted in obesity and other metabolic disorders, making them important targets for research and potential therapeutic interventions. Our lab seeks to investigate how these systems function in the presence of specific macronutrients (fat, sugar, protein, fiber), and under specific metabolic conditions (healthy, obese, weight reduced, post-bariatric surgery). We use transgenic mouse lines, behavioral paradigms, 2-photon imaging, histology, opto- and chemogenetics, and molecular and cellular, as well as systems biology approaches. Undergrads will be mentored by senior lab members in lab techniques, and once they have achieved proficiency, will have opportunities to engage in ongoing research projects as well as individual research for course credit, with the possibility of a paid position in the future.