Brian A. Baldo
Position title: Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
Phone: (608) 263-4019
M.S. in Neurosciences, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
Ph.D. in Neurosciences, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA
Postdoctoral in Neuroanatomy/Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA
Research in my laboratory is focused on understanding the neural substrates underlying motivation and reward, with a particular emphasis on feeding behavior. My program addresses the following questions:
- What are the forebrain circuits that control motivated behavior?
- What is the role of peptide transmission in these circuits?
- How does the frontal cortex control reward–related circuits in the striatum and hypothalamus?
- How does dysregulation of these circuits generate maladaptive behavior (dysregulated eating)?
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.
Research Key Words:
Neural Substrates, Motivation and Reward