Qi Wu, Ph.D.

Title
Assistant Professor
Department
Department of Pediatrics, Children's Nutrition Research Center
Institution
Baylor College of Medicine
Address
1100 Bates Street
Rm# 8022
City, State, Zip
Houston, TX 77030
Phone
(713) 798-0512
E-mail
qiw[at]bcm.edu
Website
https://www.bcm.edu/people/view/5d14933e-dc7d-11e3-a42d-005056b104be
Research Field
Neuroscience
Award Year
2013

Research

Our lab investigates the regulation of appetite and energy metabolism by the central nervous system (CNS). The uncontrolled intake of calorie-dense foods and lack of physical exercise contribute to the epidemic of obesity in the United States. Appetite is known to be controlled at several levels in the CNS; however, little is known as to how feeding is processed in the brain to cause changes in behavior. In previous research, we demonstrated that starvation ensues when a brain center called the parabrachial nucleus (PBN) experiences excessive activation. Improving receptor signaling for the neurotransmitter GABA proved to calm the excited PBN cells. Using viral-based genetic approaches, we will identify the neurons releasing GABA – thus mediating appetite in variable energy states – as well as their role in control of food intake and energy balance. This work could point the way to possible treatments for eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and food addiction, as well as metabolic disorders, such as Type II diabetes.