Pharmacology

Dr. Qi Wu receives ADA Award

Dr. Qi Wu, Assistant Professor of Pharmacology receives a 3-year award from the American Diebetes Association for his project entitled "Functional Analysis of a GABAergic Circuitry in Control of Appetite and Metabolism."

Obesity is recognized as the leading risk factors of type II diabetes. Recent medical treatment of obesity encounters severe challenges, partly because the process involves restoration of 2 fundamental aspects of daily life: food consumption and physical activity. Uncontrolled consumption of this kind of foods is considered as a major contributor for developing obesity in both adults and children. This research proposal is aimed at a better understanding of how the brain controls food intake and energy metabolism in response to abnormal level of nutritional and hormonal signals that originate from overeating of high fat and high sugary diets. The study is trying to identify an important neural network that uses a specific signaling molecule (GABA) to control appetite and body weight. The results would help us know where exactly this neural network is located, how this neural network interact with other cells in the brain to control feeding in animals with normal versus binge-like eating response. To approach these issues, we will work with mice that have been genetically engineered so that they are missing this signaling molecule from specific brain areas. The overall goal is to gain a complete understanding of the neural network in the brain that controls feeding behavior and energy homeostasis. The potential outcome from this study may provide scientific explanations for why calorie restriction and many anti-obesity drugs prove to be ineffective strategies for sustained weight loss in obese and diabetic subjects.