• Jonathan D. Hommel, Ph.D.

    HommelJonathanAssociate Director, Center for Addiction Research
    Associate Professor

    T32 Participating Faculty Member
    Department: Pharmacology & Toxicology

    Email: jdhommel@utmb.edu
    Phone: 409.747.7057

    Bio & Research

  • B.S., 2000, Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas
  • Ph.D., 2005, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas

Although studied as distinct pathways for decades, obesity and addiction processes are now thought to be driven by overlapping neural circuits.  Studying this “overlap” may provide insight into the basis of addiction and obesity and lead to novel pharmacological targets to treat these disorders.  To this end, we are focusing on the CNS circuits that regulate motivation for both obesity-causing foods as well as Drugs of abuse.  A potentially novel and innovative target in this regard is neuromedin U Receptor 2 (NMUR2), a neuropeptide receptor found in CNS circuits related to obesity and drug taking.  We have discovered that this receptor regulates motivation for food and the behavioral effects of cocaine.  To study NMUR2 and its function in the brain, we use an array of techniques including viral-mediated gene knockdown, immunohistochemistry, neuronal tracing, and fluorescent in situ hybridization in animal models of food and drug reinforcement.  We are also developing novel pharmaceutical therapeutics based on this new understanding of the function of NMUR2 in addiction and obesity.