08/2001 – 06/2005 PhD, Integrative Biology (primary focus in neuroscience) University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
01/1998 – 12/2000 BS, Genetics, cum laude Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
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.
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)
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
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.
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)
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.
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.