Neural control of nutrient intake; gastrointestinal physiology; pharmacology of intake and gastrointestinal function; peripheral and central nervous system processing of taste information, routes of nutrient administration; oral sensory-motor integration in the caudal brainstem; learned food aversions, human oral motor and gastromotor feeding disorders (e.g., dysphagia, gastroesophageal reflux)
Insufficient or excessive food intake brings large numbers of children and adults into the health care system. More effective treatments for these patients require a better understanding of the multiple controls of feeding behavior [neural, hormonal, pharmacological and genetic] than is currently available. Improved treatments will continue to be driven by advances in basic research on feeding behavior. Experiments in this laboratory focus on the following themes:
1. Describing the contribution of neural circuits and transmitter systems contained within the caudal brainstem to the control of meal size.
2. Developing focused behavioral methods aimed at distinguishing the neural circuits controlling the size of individual meals from those regulating longer-term intake.
3. Defining the oral motor and gastrointestinal actions of anorexic agents [e.g., serotonergic and dopamingic] and the location of receptors mediating these effects.
4. Describing the neurology of taste and physiological state contributions to food intake and food selection.
5. Improving treatment strategies for pediatric dysphagias by developing animal models for the food refusal and delayed gastric emptying seen in children with these diagnoses.
Grill, H. J. and J. M. Kaplan: The Neuroanatomical Axis for the Control of Energy Balance. Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 23: 2-40, 2002.
back to top
Last updated: 04/02/2012
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania