Theme: Metabolism

Invited Speakers with the Theme of Metabolism

Symposium – The Gut-Brain Axis and Metabolism

Dr. Louise OLOFSSON, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Microbiome and Metabolism

Dr. Fiona GRIBBLE, UK 

Nutrient Sensing by Gut Enteroendocrine Cells


Mechanisms Underlying Weight Loss in Bariatric Surgery

Prof. Tricia TAN, Imperial College London, UK

The Metabolic Bypass

Prof Tricia Tan (BSc MB ChB FRCP PhD FRCPath) is a Consultant in Metabolic Medicine and Endocrinology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. She graduated from the University of St Andrews in 1993 and qualified in medicine from the University of Manchester in 1996. She trained in Diabetes and Endocrinology in London and studied with Prof Stephen Bloom for her doctoral research on pancreatic polypeptide. Her research has concentrated on characterizing the physiological effects of human gut hormones on appetite, energy expenditure and glucose homeostasis. A major second theme has been the rational design of gut hormone analogues for therapy of obesity and diabetes, and early Phase clinical trials. Her clinical interests lie in the treatment of obesity with bariatric surgery, and the diagnosis and management of neuroendocrine tumours. She is the Director of the UK Supraregional Assay Service Endocrine Laboratory for Gut Hormones, and serves as the Clinical Lead, Biochemistry, for North West London Pathology Consortium.

Symposium – Role of Hypothalamic ‘Inflammation’ on Obestiy

Dr. Julie CHOWEN, Hospital Infantil Universitario Nino Jesus, Spain

Role of Leptin in Hypothalamic Astrogensis

Julie Chowen received her Ph.D. in Physiology at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1990. She then moved to Madrid, Spain where she was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Luis Miguel García-Segura at the Cajal Institute, where her interest in glial cells was sparked. After 9 years at the Cajal Institute, she moved to the Department of Endocrinology at the Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesús in Madrid where she is Senior Investigator and Director of the Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology.  The laboratory has a special interest in childhood obesity, including clinical, basic and translational studies. One of the current focuses of her research centers on the physiological and pathophysiological role of astrocytes in metabolic control.

Dr. Kate ELLACOTT, University of Exeter Medical School, UK

Astrocyte Inflammation and Energy Homeostasis

Kate Ellacott is a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Neuroscience at the University of Exeter (UK). Her long standing research interest is understanding how the brain controls food intake and body weight. Currently, her work is focused on understanding how different cell types in the brain (neurons, microglia, tanycytes, astrocytes and endothelial cells) coordinate and interact to regulate these processes. Published work from the Ellacott lab has demonstrated a potential role for astrocytes in modulating feeding behaviour in response to acute exposure to a high-fat diet. On-going work in the group is focused on understanding how astrocytes in different regions of the brain are involved in nutrient sensing and the regulation of neuronal circuits which regulate energy homeostasis. Currently research in the Ellacott Lab is supported by grants from the Medical Research Council (UK), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the British Society for Neuroendocrinology.

Dr. Chun Xia YI, Academic Medical Center, The Netherlands

Hypothalamic Neuronmicroglial Internation in Obesity and Diabetes

Dr. Chun-Xia Yi received her MD from Tongji Medical College of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, P. R. of China in 2004 and her PhD from the University of Amsterdam 2010. Currently she is working as an Assistant Professor at the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Her laboratory is focusing on unravelling the interactions between microglia and neurons in maintaining functional hypothalamic neural circuits in control of energy homeostasis. Dr. Yi’s research has identified dietary sugar as a key player in obesogenic diet-induced hypothalamic microglial activation. She revealed how the lipoprotein lipase-gated lipid metabolism programs the microglial immune defence. In addition, she identified the pathway mediating the effects of microglial cytokine on neuronal mitochondrial bioenergetics and dynamics. Her current work aims at understanding how individual microglial intracellular metabolic pathways specifically interfere with neighbouring neuronal function in the hypothalamus.

Dr. Josh THALER, University of Washington, USA

Hypothalamic Gliosis and Obesity

Dr. Thaler studied Biochemistry at Harvard followed by obtaining an MD and PhD in Biomedical Sciences at the University of California, San Diego and the Salk Institute. After moving to the University of Washington, he completed an Internal Medicine residency and endocrinology fellowship, during which he trained with Dr. Michael Schwartz, a world leader in the study of energy homeostasis and glucose regulation. He joined the faculty of the UW in 2010 and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and the UW Medicine Diabetes Institute.

Dr. Thaler’s focus is the hypothalamic regulation of energy homeostasis and the alterations to this system during obesity pathogenesis. He specifically investigates the process of hypothalamic inflammation and its relationship to high fat diet-induced weight gain. He identified an important role for glial cells (astrocytes and microglia) in modulating the neuronal regulation of energy homeostasis. In particular, he discovered that glial cells promote diet-induced damage to critical hypothalamic neurons thereby increasing susceptibility to obesity and diabetes. His current work aims to identify glial factors that can be developed as novel targets for metabolic therapeutics.

Symposium – The Brain Reward Pathway

Dr. Susanne LA FLEUR, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Fat and Sugar Intake: A Matter of Timing and Choice

Prof. Herbert HERZOG, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Australia

Neuropeptides Control of Energy Homeostasis

Prof Herbert Herzog is the Chair in Neuroendocrinology at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, AUSTRALIA. In his early years he studied Chemistry, switching to Biochemistry for his PhD, which he obtained from the University of Innsbruck (Austria).

In 1991, Prof Herzog joined the Garvan Institute where he studies the role of NPY and other family members like PYY and pancreatic polypeptide (PP), investigating the numerous different functions of these important molecules. In his career he has been publishing more then 270 papers on that subject, which are cited over 16000 times thereby establishing himself as an international leader in this field. His achievements have been recognised through invitations to present keynote and plenary lectures at numerous national and international conferences as well as invitations to present at seminar series of different national and international organisations including industry. He received the ‘Victor Mutt Award” from the International Regulatory Peptide Society in 2009 and was invited to give the ANS plenary lecture in 2010, the highest reward given by the society. Prof Herzog’s current work focuses on the brain’s role in the regulation of eating behaviour, stress and glucose homeostasis. He is also interested in how homeostatic processes that regulate bodyweight are coordinated with other homeostatic processes in the body, like the one that control bone and fat mass.


Peripheral Lipid Sensing and the Regulation of Reward

Dr. Stephanie FULTON, Canada 

Integration of Metabolic and Nutritional Signals by Dopamine Neurons; Regulation of Reward

Symposium – Stress-Related Neuroendocrine Mechanism of Metabolism

Prof. Tracy BALE, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Epigenetic Mechanism in Stress-Induced Metabolism Changes

Dr. Zane ANDREWS, Australia
Neuroendocrine Mechanism in Stress and Feeding

Prof. Alfonso ABIZAID, Carleton Univeresity, Canada

Ghrelin at the Intersection of Stress and Metabolism

Prof. Alfonso Abizaid obtained his PhD in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology from Concordia University, and trained as a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Tamas Horvath at Yale University, school of Medicine. Currently, Prof. Abizaid is a full professor at in the Department of Neuroscience at Carleton University in Ottawa, ON Canada. His research interests include the neuroendocrine regulation of feeding, energy balance and reproduction. Current funded projects focus on the effects of the hormone ghrelin on the brain systems implicated in reward seeking behaviors, the role of ghrelin in the homeostatic mechanisms associated with the stress response, and the metabolic effects of early life exposure to endocrine disruptors. Prof. Abizaid is also the President of the Society for Neuroscience Ottawa Chapter, a science advocacy and outreach group supporting the promotion of science translation in Canada’s capital region.

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