De Araujo Lab

Body-Brain Communication

Research

Body-brain communication: From visceral sensations to perception

How do we sense our internal organs? Can abnormal bodily feelings trigger behavioral disorders? We attempt to address such questions by studying how the brain monitors and perceives the body that is attached to it. We make use of contemporary neurobiological tools to unveil large-scale networks linking visceral organs to specific neurons in the central nervous system. We have been concentrating on gut-brain sensory pathways, emphasizing the major role played by the vagus nerve in communicating nutritional signals to brain reward neurons. We are now studying how the gut may elicit sickness-like perceptions such as bloating and nausea, and how exactly the gut-brain axis discriminates between pleasure and aversion. Future studies will take us to analyze other internal organs.

Our long-term objective is that our basic studies may generate novel peripheral targets for stimulation therapies. We are particularly interested in advancing novel stimulation targets for disorders associated with altered bodily sensations, including hyperphagia, nausea, sickness, panic, and depression.

De Araujo Laboratory

Ivan de Araujo
Professor
Annenberg Room 19-010
ivan.dearaujo@mssm.edu

Selected Publications

Han et al. (2018) A Neural Circuit for Gut-Induced Reward. Cell 175(3):665-678.

Han et al. (2017). Integrated Control of Predatory Hunting by the Central Nucleus of the Amygdala. Cell 168(1-2):311-324.

Tellez et al. (2016) Separate Circuitries Encode the Hedonic and Nutritional Values of Sugar. Nature Neuroscience 19(3):465-70.

Han et al. (2016) Striatal Dopamine Links Gastrointestinal Rerouting to Altered Sweet Appetite. Cell Metabolism 23(1):103-12.

Tellez et al. (2013) A gut lipid messenger links excess dietary fat to dopamine deficiency. Science 341:800-2.

Projects

Meet the Team

Ivan De Araujo, DPhil

Ivan De Araujo, DPhil

Professor of Neuroscience

Ivan.DeAraujo@mssm.edu

Wenfei Han, MD, PhD

Wenfei Han, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neuroscience

Wenfei.Han@mssm.edu

Matthew Perkins, PhD

Matthew Perkins, PhD

PostDoctoral Fellow

Matthew.Perkins@mssm.edu

Hao Chang, PhD

Hao Chang, PhD

PostDoctoral Fellow

Hao.Chang@mssm.edu

Tong Zhang, MD

Tong Zhang, MD

Visiting Scholar

Tong.Zhang@mssm.edu