Studies conducted by Hetherington and Ranson over 75 years ago demonstrated the importance of the hypothalamus in the regulation of body weight and food intake. The hypothalamus, however, is comprised of several distinctive nuclei all of which are sensitive to nutrients and metabolic hormones. Furthermore, these individual hypothalamic nuclei express specific peptides all implicated in feeding and energy partitioning. The challenge, therefore, has been to untangle the intricate circuitry formed between these hypothalamic nuclei, and their connections with extrahypothalamic structures to produce more complex behaviors associated with feeding including the integration of visceral and interoceptive sensory systems with cognitive, affective, and motivational systems that are all implicated in generating hunger or satiety.

In this presentation, details of the intricate neuroanatomical and functional hypothalamic circuitry regulating food intake and energy balance are provided using cutting-edge technology that include optogenetics in combination with cellular and behavioral measures.

9:30am The systems and molecular neuroscience of hunger
Scott Sternson, PhD