Vanderbilt Institute for Obesity & Metabolism

Faculty and Guest Lecture Series


All lectures take place at noon in Preston Research Building, Room 206


Friday, January 9, 2014

Title of talk:  Hypothalamic inflammation in metabolic syndrome and aging

Dongsheng Cai, MD, PhD

Dongsheng Cai, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

Research interests:  The roles of neuro-peripheral connections in aging and related pathophysiology at multiple levels.  The hypothalamus in the brain is a converging point that integrates metabolic, neural endocrine and immunity signals to affect physiology. We have been studying how neuroendocrine neurons are involved in development of aging; hypothalamic molecular pathways that mediate the development of disorders in metabolic syndrome; how obesity/aging-related disorders are integrated with each other through hypothalamic mechanisms; and hypothalamic neural stem cells in neurodegenerative mechanisms of these diseases.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Title of talk:  Critical Periods for Constructing Hypothalamic Neural Architecture

Richard SimerlyRichard B. Simerly, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine; Professor, Biological Sciences, Neurobiology, University of Southern California; Deputy Director, Saban Research Institute; Director, Developmental Neuroscience Program, SabanResearch Institute, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Research interests:  Internationally recognized expert on hormonal control of brain development and understanding how forebrain circuits that control body weight and energy metabolism develop in response to endocrine and nutritional cues.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Title of talk:  Emerging treatments for syndromic obesity

Ashley H. Shoemaker, M.D., M.S.C.I.

Ashley H. Shoemaker, M.D., MSCI

Instructor, Department of Medicine, Pediatric Endocrinology Division

Research interests: Early-onset obesity; Hypothalamic obesity; Pseudohypoparathyroidism


Friday, October 10, 2014

Title of talk:  Targeting the Gut Microbiome as Treatment for Obesity

Sean S. Davies, PhDSean S. Davies, PhD 
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, Clinical Pharmacology Division, Vanderbilt University

Research interests: Oxidative stress, defined as abnormally high levels of reactive ogygen species, has been implicated in a variety of chronic diseases including atherosclerosis, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease.  The overarching theme of my research is to utilize pharmacological interventions to determine the role of oxidative stress in human physiology and pathophysiology..


PAST Seminars:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Title of talk:  Why does gastric bypass surgery work?

Hans-Rudolf Berthoud, PhD
George H. Bray Professor, Neurobiology of Nutrition Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University
Research interests: The role of the nervous system in the processes maintaining energy homeostasis and nutrient intake.  This includes the receptors and pathways that allow the peripheral nervous system and the brain to sense the internal metabolic state and availability of important nutrients as well as external food environment, the neural circuits integrating this information, and the behavioral, autonomic, and endocrine effector pathways leading to regulatory actons.  Interests include anorexia, gastrointestinal and liver physiology, gut-brain interactions, autonomic nervous system, cognitive neurosciences, taste physiology, and functional foods.
 Friday, January 10, 2014

Title of talk:  Peripheral and Central actions of the metabolic regulator FGF21

Eleftheria Maratos-Flier, MD
Professor of Medicine, Endocrine Division, Beth  Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Research interests:  The role of CNS in regulating feeding behavior and energy homeostasis with particular focus on hypothalamic-striatal pathways and the role of hormone lepting and the neuropeptide MCH in modulating motivated behavior.  My lab initially discovered the orexigenic role of MCH using RT-PCR differential display and we have since followed up on its role by generating over-expressing and knockout mice.  We also use mice lacking MCH as a model of anorexia.

Friday, February 14, 2014
Title of talk:  Is long-term weight loss possible?

James O. Hill, PhD
Executive Director, anschutz Health and Wellness Center, Anschutz Professor of Health and Wellness, Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, and Physiology & Biophysics, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus


Research interests: Dr. James Hill is one of America's foremost experts in weight management, researching causes of weight gain, adiposity and obesity.  Research includes translating the science of weight management into public health programs like "The Colorado Weigh" and "America on the Move," that promote simple changes in lifestyle that dramatically change body weight and work in the community.


 Friday, March 14, 2014

Title of talk:  The Neurobiology of Need 

Scott M. Sternson, PhD
HHMI Scientist, Janelia Farm Research Campus

Research interests: Reverse engineering the mouse brain in order to understand how neural circuits control innate behaviors.  He combines synthetic chemistry with genetics to deliver molecular switches to small groups of neurons in mice.  By "flipping" these switches with chemicals or light, he maps neural circuits and measures the contribution of neurons to innate behaviors such as feeding.


 Friday, April 11, 2014

Title of talk:  Hypothalamic Control of Integrative Physiology of Immunity

Tamas L. Horvath DVM, PhD
Jean and David W. Wallace Professor of Comparative Medicine and Professor of Neurobiology and of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences; Chair, Section of Comparative Medicine; Jean and David W. Wallace Professor of Biomedical Research; Director, Yale Program in Integrative Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism

 Research interests: Neuroendocrine regulation of homeostasis with particular emphasis on metabolic disorders, such as obesity and diabetes, and the effect of metabolic signals on higher brain functions and neurodegeneration.  We have active research programs to pursue the role of snaptic plasticity in the mediation of peripheral hormones' effects on the central nervous system.  We also study the role of mitochondrial membrane potential in normal and pathological brain functions with particular emphasis on the acute effect of mitochondria in neuronal transmission and neuroprotection.  We combine classical neurobiological approaches, including electrophysiology and neuroanatomy, with endocrine and genetic techniques to better understand biological events at the level of the organism.