Biosciences Graduate Program

Justin L. Grobe, PhD


Assistant Professor of Pharmacology

Contact Information

Primary Office: 2-307 Bowen Science Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
Primary Office Phone: 319-353-5789

Lab: 2-300 Bowen Science Building
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-353-5803

Web: Department of Pharmacology


BA, Biology and Chemistry, Hope College, Holland, MI
BS, Biology and Chemistry, Hope College, Holland, MI
PhD, Pharmacodynamics, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL, Physiology and Functional Genomics
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Internal Medicine (8/26-6/10) & Pharmacology (7/10-10/10)

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Biosciences Graduate Program
Department of Pharmacology Graduate Program
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

Obesity is an epidemic in industrialized nations, and current pharmacological interventions are insufficient. While many drugs to combat obesity have been developed, they almost exclusively target food intake behavior or digestive efficiency. Essentially no effective/safe compounds have been developed for increasing energy output, and thus our group’s focus is to identify novel therapeutic targets for increasing resting metabolic rate as an alternative or adjunct to conventional therapies. The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is well known for its roles in blood pressure and water and electrolyte homeostasis. This hormone system is found in the circulation but also within individual tissues, where it acts as a paracrine/autocrine signaling mechanism. Organs that use the RAS for paracrine signaling include the brain and adipose. We have previously demonstrated important roles for both the brain and adipose RAS in the control of resting metabolic rate, and ongoing work is focused on understanding these mechanisms. Additional research is focused on understanding the contributon of brain RAS to the physiological effects of the metabolic controller, leptin. Our laboratory uses both classic pharmacological and unique transgenic animal models to examine the effects of specific RAS manipulations on physiological processes including blood pressure, fluid and electrolyte turnover, and metabolic rate. Through collaborations with various faculty at the University of Iowa, additional foci of our group include understanding the role of blood pressure and sodium homeostasis on resting metabolism, arginine vasopressin in hypertension and related disorders such as preeclampsia, and the physiological significance of a novel intracellular isoform of the renin enzyme.

Center, Program and Institute Affiliations

Cardiovascular Research Center
Center for Functional Genomics of Hypertension
Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center
Obesity Initiative

Selected Publications

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Grobe J, Rahmouni K, Liu X, Sigmund C.  Metabolic rate regulation by the renin-angiotensin system: brain vs. body..  Pflugers Arch - European J of Physiology.  2013 January. 465(1):167-175.

Hilzendeger A, Morgan D, Brooks L, Dellsperger D, Liu X, Grobe J, Rahmouni K, Sigmund C, Mark A.  A brain leptin-renin angiotensin system interaction in the regulation of sympathetic nerve activity.  Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol.  2012 July 15. 303(2):H197-H206.

Xu D, Borges G, Davis D, Agassandian K, Sequeira Lopez M, Gomez R, Cassell M, Grobe J, Sigmund C.  Neuron- or glial-specific ablation of secreted renin does not affect renal renin, baseline arterial pressure, or metabolism.  Physiol Genomics.  2011 March 29. 43(6):286-294.

Grobe J, Buehrer B, Hilzendeger A, Liu X, Davis D, Xu D, Sigmund C.  Angiotensinergic signaling in the brain mediates metabolic effects of deoxycorticosterone (DOCA)-salt in C57 mice.  Hypertension.  2011 March. 57[Part 2}(3):600-607.

Grobe J, Grobe C, Beltz T, Westphal S, Morgan D, Xu D, de Lange W, Li H, Sakai K, Thedens D, Cassis L, Rahmouni K, Mark A, Johnson A, Sigmund C.  The brain Renin-angiotensin system controls divergent efferent mechanisms to regulate fluid and energy balance.  Cell Metab.  2010 November 3. 12(5):431-442.

Xu D, Borges G, Grobe J, Pelham C, Yang B, Sigmund C.  Preservation of intracellular renin expression is insufficient to compensate for genetic loss of secreted renin.  Hypertension.  2009 December. 54(6):1240-1247.

Grobe J, Xu D, Sigmund C.  An intracellular renin-angiotensin system in neurons: fact, hypothesis, or fantasy.  Physiology (Bethesda).  2008 August. 23:187-193.

Date Last Modified: 06/07/2014 - 21:56:23