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INFORMATION FOR

Marcelo Dietrich, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Comparative Medicine; Associate Professor, Neuroscience

Research Summary

Our research focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms that play a role in behavior and how these processes are regulated by energy metabolism. It is our working assumption that energy and fuel availability (through hunger) are key regulators of biological functions from molecular to systemic levels. Focusing on mouse models, our lab applies a variety of genetic tools to manipulate cell function in combination with electrophysiological, morphological and behavioral analyzes. It is our goal to build a multidisciplinary approach to integrative physiology, from identification of cell specific mechanisms to the exploration of how these pathways are related to whole body physiology and behavior.

Currently, our laboratory is using genetic tools to activate or inhibit discrete populations of neurons to test the influence of these cells in previously unappreciated behaviors. We believe that the brain mechanisms involved in complex behaviors are evolutionarily conserved and, thus, phylogenetically old. We are also taking advantage of robust sequencing tools to study changes in neuronal transcriptome to identify the molecular mechanisms involved in neuronal activity and plasticity. Our laboratory motto is to work on innovative projects that can have a greater impact on our understanding of physiology.

Specialized Terms: behavior; neuroendocrinology; hypothalamus; energy balance; Agrp neurons; synaptic plasticity; organelle dynamics; neurophysiology

Coauthors

Research Interests

Alzheimer Disease; Animals; Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms; Mental Disorders; Hypothalamus; Mental Health; Nervous System; Neurobiology; Neurosciences; Obesity; Synapses

Public Health Interests

Aging; Behavioral Health; Bioinformatics; Evolution; Genetics, Genomics, Epigenetics; Mental Health; Metabolism; Nutrition; Obesity; Substance Use, Addiction; Child/Adolescent Health; Perinatal/Prenatal Health

Research Images

Selected Publications