Paul R. McHugh Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences; Director, Behavioral Neuroscience Lab
Our overall research program is aimed at identifying the roles of various neural signaling pathways in the controls of food intake and body weight and how these systems go awry in obesity and eating disorders. Specific projects have focused on: brain/gut peptides as feedback mediators of satiety and how signals arising from these peptides interact with hypothalamic signaling systems mediating overall energy balance, interactions between exercise and food intake, how alterations in cellular energy availability and production result in signals that modify food intake, and how developmental and epigenetic factors can produce long term alterations in neural signaling that bias the organism’s long term metabolic phenotype. We conduct experiments at multiple levels using cell and rodent models as well as nonhuman primates and normal and patient populations. This work has resulted in over 280 original data articles, reviews and book chapters.