The Rowett Institute
Ashgrove Road West
- 2018–present: Lecturer, The Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen
- 2015–2018: Principal Laboratory Research Scientist, The Francis Crick Institute, London
- 2012–2015: Senior Investigator Scientist, National Institute for Medical Research, London
- 2010–2012: Marie-Curie Fellow, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin
- 2007–2010: Research Associate, Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge
- 2005–2007: Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm
- 2005: PhD, St John's College, Cambridge; Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge
- 2001: MSc (Biochemistry), Institute of Biotechnology, National Autonomous University of Mexico
- 1997: Medicine, Universidad LaSalle, Mexico City
My overall interest is the study of how the brain predicts and controls changes in metabolism in the body, and in particular how food intake is regulated.
My work revolves around these topics:
- Appetite and body weight control.
- Study of brain networks responsible for regulation of body metabolism, with a focus on hypothalamic networks.
- The role of brain glucose sensors: physiology and pharmacology of brain mechanisms that detect fluctuations in sugar.
The hypothalamus in the brain plays a critical role in assessing the nutritional status of the organism and controlling metabolism accordingly. Food intake, for example, is a complex behaviour that is essentially regulated by the hypothalamus, as are other related functions such as peripheral metabolism, body temperature, etc.
Within the hypothalamus, a group of cells have the ability to detect local fluctuations in sugar. It is believed that this ability allows the brain to sense changes in sugar in the body and react accordingly by, for example, promoting food intake when blood sugar is too low. I study the cellular mechanisms utilised by brain sugar sensors to perform this job. Moreover, I am interested in investigating how these sugar sensors operate within the brain, how they communicate with other brain regions, and what their role is as part of the wider brain circuitry that controls appetite and body weight.
I am currently accepting PhDs in Biomedical Sciences.
Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.
Biomedical SciencesAccepting PhDs
Funding and Grants
- BBSRC New Investigator Scheme (Sep 2021 - Aug 2024; £430k)
- Welcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund - ISSF@Aberdeen (Sep 2018; £20k)
- Molecular Pharmacology of Ion Channels
- Patch Clamp Methods
- Genetic tools to study neural circuits
- Neuronal glucose sensing
- The hypothalamus
I teach various neuroscience-related topics at undergraduate and postgraduate level, see Courses above.
I addition, I have supervisory roles for undergraduates (tutorials, Honours projects) and the MSc in Human Nutrition.
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Projections from the Dorsomedial Division of the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis to Hypothalamic Nuclei in the MouseJournal of Comparative Neurology, vol. 529, no. 5, pp. 929-956Contributions to Journals: Articles
Role of spontaneous and sensory orexin network dynamics in rapid locomotion initiationProgress in Neurobiology, vol. 187, 101771Contributions to Journals: Articles
Orexin-A/hypocretin-1 Immunoreactivity in the Lateral Hypothalamus is Reduced in Genetically Obese but not in Diet-induced Obese MiceNeuroscience, vol. 369, pp. 183-191Contributions to Journals: Articles
Inhibitory Interplay between Orexin Neurons and EatingCurrent Biology, vol. 26, no. 18, pp. 2486-2491Contributions to Journals: Articles
Awake dynamics and brain-wide direct inputs of hypothalamic MCH and orexin networksNature Communications, vol. 7, 11395Contributions to Journals: Articles
Predictive models of glucose control: roles for glucose-sensing neuronesActa Physiologica, vol. 213, no. 1, pp. 7-18Contributions to Journals: Review articles
Lateral hypothalamus as a sensor-regulator in respiratory and metabolic controlPhysiology and Behavior, vol. 121, pp. 117-124Contributions to Journals: Review articles
Convergent inputs from electrically and topographically distinct orexin cells to locus coeruleus and ventral tegmental areaEuropean Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 35, no. 9, pp. 1426-1432Contributions to Journals: Articles
Orexin neurons as conditional glucosensors: paradoxical regulation of sugar sensing by intracellular fuelsThe Journal of Physiology, vol. 589, no. Pt 23, pp. 5701-8Contributions to Journals: Articles
Daily rhythms of spike coding in the rat supraoptic nucleusJournal of Neuroendocrinology, vol. 21, no. 11, pp. 935-45Contributions to Journals: Articles