Obesity represents a global epidemic lacking efficient therapeutic options. This highlights the insufficient knowledge of the biological mechanisms regulating energy balance and the absence of therapeutically relevant targets. The brain and in particular the hypothalamus plays a key role in the regulation of energy balance.
Hence, the main scope of our research is to understand how exactly hypothalamic cells and circuits adapt and respond to energy availability in order to control food intake, body weight and peripheral metabolism.
To reach this goal, we study energy-sensing mechanisms, such as the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and use an integrated approach spanning from the generation and in depth metabolic characterization of genetic animals models to the use of state-of-the-art neuroscience techniques for the investigation of the neuronal circuits of interest.
In addition, we perform clinical research studies aimed at better characterizing obese phenotypes in humans, which will lead to better, personalized therapies.