Postdoctoral Fellow, Program in Neuroscience,
Department of Psychology, Florida State University
(Applicant for open Assistant Professor position in Neural Metabolic Regulation)
Viscerosensory Modulation of Taste Function
Foods and fluids elicit a cascade of sensory and metabolic signals as they are ingested, digested, and assimilated into the body. Among the many wisdoms of the body are its capacities to predict a food’s biologically significant consequences and tailor ingestion to nutritional needs by flexibly linking oral and postoral signals. The fact that obesity is, in part, associated with the overconsumption of highly palatable but weakly satiating foods, places special emphasis on understanding precisely how sensory signals arising from the gastrointestinal tract are functionally integrated in the brain with those at the forefront of ingestion (e.g., taste). Accordingly, my research has been aimed at characterizing both the transient and lasting effects of postoral feedback on various domains of taste-guided behavior. Such work has revealed that postoral signals rapidly and chemo-specifically modulate the hedonic significance of taste stimuli. Recently, we found that experience with the differential sensory and metabolic events associated with consuming fructose and glucose functions to establish differential responding to the orosensory properties of the same two sugars as well; this challenges the current model of sweet taste reception and implicates a novel T1R2+T1R3-independent taste receptor for glucose.In parallel, using a high resolution lesion/reporter mapping system, our research has begun to pinpoint a region of insular cortex that may be necessary for some types of taste-visceral integrative processing. Future work will continue to combine neural manipulations, both at the level of the peripheral inputs and higher order CNS structures, with comprehensive psychophysical and behavioral measures, to elucidate how taste and visceral signals are processed, integrated, and functionally organized in the control of food and fluid intake.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
HEDCO Auditorium / HNB 100
USC University Park Campus, Los Angeles, CA 90089