Brian A. Baldo
- Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry
- (608) 263-4019
Ph.D. University of California, San Diego
Neurostrates Underlying Motivation and Reward
Research in my laboratory is focused on understanding the neural substrates underlying motivation and reward, with a particular emphasis on feeding behavior. Why do we eat palatable foods in situations in which we don't 'need' (in a homeostatic sense) the extra calories? Are there distinct neural circuits for pleasure-driven feeding vs. homeostatic eating? Is there such a thing as 'addiction' to palatable foods?
My lab addresses these questions using a combination of behavioral, anatomical, and molecular techniques. Primarily, we analyze the microstructure of hunger-driven and palatable feeding after microinjections of neurochemicals into discrete brain sites. We often couple region-specific brain microinjections and behaviortal testing with postmortem analysis of neurotransmitter genes or neural activity markers to elucidate circuits involved in reward-related behaviors. Currently, the two main research areas in my lab are (1) analysis of how the cortex controls downstream circuits important for energy homeostasis, and (2) examination of the role of endogenous opioids (heroin-like brain chemicals) in modulating the influence of palatability and stress on binge eating of high-fat foods.
- Baldo BA, Hanlon EC, Obermeyer W, Bremer Q, Paletz E, Benca RM. 2013. Upregulation of Gene Expression in Reward-Modulatory Striatal Opioid Systems by Sleep Loss. Neuropsychopharmacology. doi: 10.1038/npp.2013.174. [Epub ahead of print]
- Baldo BA, Pratt WE, Will MJ, Hanlon EC, Bakshi VP, Cador M. 2013. Principles of motivation revealed by the diverse functions of neuropharmacological and neuroanatomical substrates underlying feeding behavior. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. doi:pii: S0149-7634(13)00053-5. 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.02.017. [Epub ahead of print]
- Newman S, Pascal L, Sadeghian K, Baldo BA. 2013. Sweetened-fat intake sensitizes gamma-aminobutyric acid-mediated feeding responses elicited from the nucleus accumbens shell. Biol Psychiatry. 73(9):843-50.
- Baldo BA. 2011. Relevance and value of a morphine immunoassay as a diagnostic aid for neuromuscular blocking drug-induced anaphylaxis. Anesthesiology. 115(3):657-9.
- Mena JD, Sadeghian K, Baldo BA. 2011. Induction of hyperphagia and carbohydrate intake by μ-opioid receptor stimulation in circumscribed regions of frontal cortex. J Neurosci. 31(9):3249-60.
- Baldo BA, Pratt WE, Kelley AE. 2010. Control of Fat Intake by Striatal Opioids. In: Montmayeur JP, le Coutre J, editors. Fat Detection: Taste, Texture, and Post Ingestive Effects. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press. Chapter 13.
- Hanlon EC, Benca RM, Baldo BA, Kelley AE. 2010. REM sleep deprivation produces a motivational deficit for food reward that is reversed by intra-accumbens amphetamine in rats. Brain Res Bull. 83(5):245-54.
- Perry ML, Andrzejewski ME, Bushek SM, Baldo BA. 2010. Intra-accumbens infusion of a muscarinic antagonist reduces food intake without altering the incentive properties of food-associated cues. Behav Neurosci. 124(1):44-54.
- Perry ML, Baldo BA, Andrzejewski ME, Kelley AE. 2009. Muscarinic receptor antagonism causes a functional alteration in nucleus accumbens mu-opiate-mediated feeding behavior. Behav Brain Res. 197(1):225-9.