My research focuses on understanding the impact of diet induced obesity on neuronal plasticity in brain regions associated with the regulation of food intake.
I graduated from Dalhousie University with a Ph.D. in neuroscience in August of 2017, and shortly thereafter joined the O’Connell lab as a postdoctoral associate. I am interested in studying 'top-down' mechanisms regulating the development and maintenance of diet induced obesity (DIO). Appetitive circuits in the central nervous system are changed by nutritional experience and DIO. Thus, treatment strategies that aim to control appetite and decrease body weight must target these circuits. The O’Connell lab focuses on AgRP neurons in the hypothalamus and the impact that DIO has on their excitability, plasticity, and regulation of gene expression. By pairing advanced electrophysiological techniques, coupled with 'omics’, computational analyses, biochemical, and behavioral techniques we are able to probe the hypothalamus and further characterize the neuronal populations responsible for regulating appetite. Ultimately, we aim to identify novel therapeutic targets underlying development and maintenance of diet-induced obesity.
Dalhousie University Ph.D.,
Neuroscience Advisor: Dr. Tara Perrot and Ian Weaver
Dalhousie University M.Sc.,
Neuroscience Advisor: Dr. Tara Perrot
University of Nebraska at Omaha B.A.,
Psychology, minor Biology