Jonathan D. Hommel
Jonathan D. Hommel, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxiocology

Contact Information:
Phone: (409) 747-7057
Fax: (409) 747-7050
Email: jonathan.hommel@utmb.edu

Education:
08/2001 – 06/2005  Ph.D., Integrative Biology (primary focus in neuroscience) 
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 

01/1998 – 12/2000   B.S., Genetics, cum laude 
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 

Research Interests:
Obesity and eating disorders are a major public health problem and key contributors to the burden of chronic disease in the United States and worldwide. These disorders are mediated by complex behavioral and metabolic components, each providing opportunity for prevention and treatment. To this end, we are focusing on the CNS circuits that regulate food addiction and motivation for energy-dense foods. In particular, we are interested in how neuropeptides, such as Neuromedin U, modulate neurons and impact food craving, food reward, and food preference. To study these problems, we use an array of techniques including viral-mediated gene knockdown, immunohistochemistry, neuronal tracing, and fluorescent in situ hybridization in multiple animal models of eating behavior and obesity. We then develop novel pharmaceutical therapeutics based on this new understanding of the mechanisms of eating behavior.   

Selected Publications:

  1. Kasper, J.M., McCue D.L., Milton, A.J., Szwed, A., Sampson, C.M., Huang, M., Carlton, S., Meltzer, H.Y., Cunningham, K.A., and Hommel, J.D. GABAergic Projections from the Dorsal Raphe Nucleus to the Nucleus Accumbens Regulate Behavioral Sensitization via Neuromedin U. (In Press, Biological Psychiatry
  2. Benzon, C.R., Johnson, S.B., McCue, D.L., Li, D., Green, T.A., Hommel, J.D. Neuromedin U receptor 2 knockdown in the paraventricular nucleus modifies behavioral responses to obesogenic high-fat food and leads to increased body weight. Neuroscience 258:270-9, 2014. PMCID: PMC3898339  
  3. Kasper, J.M., Johnson, S.B., Hommel, J.D. Fat Preference: A Novel Model of Eating Behavior in Rats. Journal of Visualized Experiments (88), e51575, doi:10.3791/51575, 2014. PMID: 24998978. 
  4. Ignar D.M., Noble K., Boucheron J., Stroup, A.E., Bright J., Sorensen S., Goetz A., Carballo L., Speake J., Hommel J.D.  Regulation of ingestive behaviors by GSK 1521498, a mu opioid receptor-selective inverse agonist. The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 339(1):24-34, 2011. (No NIH support) 
  5. Hommel, J.D., Trinko, R., Georgescu, D., Sears, R.M., Georgescu D., Liu, Z.W., Gao, X.B., Thurmon, J.J., Marinelli, M. and DiLeone, R.J. Leptin signals directly to midbrain dopamine neurons to regulate feeding. Neuron, 51(6):801-10, 2006. 
  6. Hommel, J.D., Sears, R.M., Georgescu, D., Simmons, D.L., and DiLeone, R.J. Local gene knockdown in the brain using viral-mediated RNA interference. Nature Medicine 9(12): 1539-1544, 2003.

Link to NCBI mybiblography