Welcome to Hayes Lab

Our laboratory’s overarching goal is focused on understanding the neuroendocrine systems regulating energy balance and motivated behaviors and how perturbations in these systems can contribute to diseases and illness-like behaviors (e.g. obesity, eating disorders, diabetes, drug addiction and nausea / malaise). To this end, our research examines the behavioral, intracellular, neuronal, and endocrine mechanisms governing energy balance and how these processes are dysregulated in obesity and the comorbid disease states. We pursue these important areas of research using multiple approaches from the cell to the whole organism and extensively examine the role of various neuroendocrine signaling systems (e.g., GLP-1, leptin, amylin, CCK, serotonin, glutamate, and dopamine) in both the periphery and distributed nuclei of the caudal brainstem, midbrain, and forebrain that control for food intake and body weight regulation. An additional line of research in the lab investigates the contribution that these neuroendocrine systems have in regulating motivated behaviors for feeding and maladaptive drug (cocaine and nicotine) taking / seeking. Overall, our research program takes a novel systems-neuroscience approach aimed at enhancing the development of realistic pharmacological-based therapeutics to treat obesity and associated comorbidities.

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