The past decade has seen tremendous progress in our understanding of homeostatic regulators controlling energy balance. Insights from human and murine genetics have illuminated multiples pathways within the hypothalamus, brainstem and higher brain regions that play a key role in the control of food intake, whilst physiological studies focusing on the gastrointestinal tract have revealed a panoply of hormones that are secreted in response to or in anticipation of food intake and act centrally to regulate appetite. EurOCHIP brings together world leaders specializing in both areas in order to explore the interaction between the periphery and the brain in the control of energy homeostasis. Our programme of research will comprise four interdependent work-packages: i) characterising the interaction of gastrointestinal hormones with the hypothalamus and brainstem, with the aim of identifying novel molecules and pathways that mediate food intake; ii) using imaging techniques and behavioural phenotyping to explore the response of brain areas involved in higher cognitive and affective functions to these gastrointestinal hormones; iii) harnessing the power of human genetics to determine the role of sequence variation in and around newly identified candidate genes in appetitive behaviour and response to dietary interventions, focusing in particular on childhood obesity and iv) determining the effects of specific dietary interventions on gastrointestinal hormone secretion and using pharmacological studies in humans to mimic the hormonal milieu seen after a meal or bariatric surgery.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project