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Serena Sweet

Graduate Student, Simerly Laboratory, Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

I am a third year graduate student in Dr. Richard Simerly’s lab. I attended the University of Miami where I graduated with degrees in Neuroscience and Anthropology, and my interest in research developed during my time there.  I am interested in developmental neuroscience. A fundamental requirement for all organisms is to coordinate the regulation of fluid and energy balance. While feeding and drinking are coordinated and points of interaction have been identified, the neuroanatomical basis for the integration of feeding and drinking has not been defined, nor has the dependence on the development of those circuitries been examined. The overarching premise of my project is to determine if activation of neural circuits regulating drinking during a critical period of development of hypothalamic feeding circuits impacts the neural architecture of those feeding circuits with lasting consequences for energy balance regulation. The results of my studies will not only facilitate an improved understanding of how the brain integrates drinking and feeding by defining nodes of convergence, but will provide new insight into unappreciated developmental events impacting metabolic phenotypes throughout life.