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Juliette Brown

Juliette BrownCooperating Doctoral Program: Pharmacology and Toxicology

EITS Track: Biomedical Toxicology

Education: B.S., Saginaw Valley State University, Biochemistry

Research Interests:
Orexin (OX) is a neurotransmitter that regulates arousal, wakefulness and appetite, in part, via projections to dopamine-containing neurons in the midbrain. OX neurons are particularly susceptible to damage due to toxins or disease that has been linked to the pathogenesis of obesity, narcolepsy and Parkinson's disease. The regulation of OX neurons and why they are prone to dysfunction and degeneration, however, remains unclear. Neurotensin (Nts) neurons in the lateral hypothalamic area project to and regulate OX neurons, and loss of action via the neurotensin to orexin circuit causes hyperphagia, hypo-locomotor activity, blunted regulation of dopamine neurons and obestity. We therefore hypothesize that Nts neurons are crucial regulators of OX neurons and orexin-mediated control of energy balance, sleep and locomotor activity. To interrogate this hypothesis, we are generating mouse models that express cre-recombinase selectively in Nts models and a variety of molecular cre-lox reagents, we will examine the molecular, anatomical, and signaling mechanisms by which Nts neurons regulate OX neurons, as well as the behavioral and physiologic implications of this circuit in energy balance, sleep and locomotor disorders.

Major Professor: Gina Leinninger, Neuroscience Program, Department of Physiology

Contact: brownju3@msu.edu