Our primary interest is understanding how the central nervous system regulates energy stores. We are focused not only on the normal process, but also on the pathophysiological mechanisms that lead to common obesity, severe monogenic obesity, metabolic syndrome, cachexia or disease wasting, anorexia nervosa, and other eating disorders. A theme of the lab has been understanding the role of the central melanocortin system in these processes.
Because we are focused on a complex biological problem that impacts multiple physiological systems, we apply a wide variety of techniques including genetics, molecular biology, neuroantomy, and electrophysiology. Our work also spans a wide range of organisms, from zebrafish to mouse, to humans. New projects include development of the zebrafish as a model system for whole genome forward genetics of energy homeostasis, and identification of genes predisposing humans to anorexia nervosa.