Department: 1109 Fulbright Drive
Start Year: 2014
Starting Institution: Duke University Medical Center
Current Institution: Duke University Medical Center
Project Title: Function of a gut-brain neural circuit modulating satiety
Our gut is thought to transmit sensory information to the brain through the paracrine action of hormones. This is because enteroendocrine cells, the epithelial sensors of the intestine, are thought to lack synaptic connections with nerves. However, I recently discovered a physical connection between enteroendocrine cells and underlying sensory neurons. This neuro-epithelial junction may constitute the first point of integration between food sensed in the gut and satiety perceived in the brain. Hence, my objective for the Grass Fellowship would be to study the function of this enteroendocrine cell-neuron circuit by documenting its ultrastructure and electrical properties.