Principal Investigator: Iustin Tabarean, PhD
email: tabarean at scintillon dot org
Research Focus: Thermoregulation and energy homeostasis are centrally regulated, however little is known about the discrete nature of the neuronal networks involved and the cellular signaling mechanisms activated by modulators of various aspects of thermoregulation and energy expenditure. We employ electrophysiological, biochemical and behavioral assays to understand the cellular physiology and pharmacology as well as the neurocircuitry controlling sympathetic outflow to tissues involved in energy homeostasis (e.g. brown adipose tissue). In the lab we investigate 1) what are the signaling mechanism activated in thermoregulatory neurons by substances that affect body temperature 2) how is their function and pharmacology altered in disease states (e.g. obesity), 3) what mechanisms control their plasticity and 4) how modifying their activity may offer novel therapeutic approaches in conditions related to energy imbalance or abnormal thermoregulation. These studies should prove useful in understanding the neural and hormonal control of body temperature and energy balance and their possible use in therapies for pathological conditions such as hot flashes or obesity.