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1. Neural Control of Energy Balance / 2. Immunomodulatory Biomaterials for Limb Salvage

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

9:00 AM-10:30 AM

BIOMED / Global Innovation Partnerships (GIP) Dual Seminar

Title Seminar #1:
Neural Control of Energy Balance

Wei L. Shen, PhD
Associate Professor and Investigator
School of Life Science and Technology
ShanghaiTech University

The balance between energy intake and energy expenditure is crucial for maintaining metabolic homeostasis, which is directly controlled by innate behaviors, including feeding and thermoregulation. Finding the precise control mechanisms over energy balance is a major challenge in this field. Here, we use thermoregulation and feeding behavior as examples to decode sensory-triggered precise control mechanisms for energy balance. For thermoregulation, we first identified a type of very sensitive thermoreceptor for fine temperature detection to control energy expenditure. Then, we discovered an inhibitory circuit in the preoptic hypothalamus (POA) that accepts thermal afferent signals and accurately controls energy expenditure and body temperature. Next, we found the POA command signals that differentially regulate brown fat thermogenesis and vasodilation rely on the critical inputs from the lateral parabrachial nucleus. For feeding, we found zona incerta (ZI) neurons detect and integrate multiple sensory inputs to promote hunting and binge eating motivations. Therefore, we provided circuitry diagrams for sensory-guided precise control of energy expenditure and hunting/binge eating, contributing to the understanding of energy balance.

Wei L. Shen, PhD, obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology from Tsinghua University in 2007 (Mentor, Dr. Zihe Rao) and then he pursued his PhD in behavioral neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University (Mentor, Dr. Craig Montell) where he used fruit fly to understand the mechanism for thermosensation. After receiving the PhD (2013), he went to Rockefeller University (Mentor, Dr. Jeff Friedman) as a postdoctoral associate to study obesity related research. In 2014, he joined School of Life Science and Technology in Shanghaitech University as an assistant professor (Tenure-track) and a principal investigator, focusing on the study of neural mechanism for thermoregulation and feeding behaviors, and became tenured associate professor since 2019.


Title Seminar #2:
Immunomodulatory Biomaterials for Limb Salvage

Kara Spiller PhD
Associate Professor
Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
Drexel University

Diabetes and peripheral arterial disease affect hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Patients with these conditions frequently develop chronic wounds on the lower limbs that lead to amputation, with a 5-year mortality rate as high as 77%. Macrophages, the primary cell of the innate immune system, are critical regulators of angiogenesis and wound healing. Their dysfunction is strongly implicated in arterial dysfunction, limb ischemia, and poorly healing chronic wounds. The goal of the Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory at Drexel University is to understand the mechanisms by which macrophages orchestrate successful angiogenesis and tissue regeneration and to develop novel biomaterial strategies that apply these principles to pathological situations, in order to ultimately prevent limb amputation. This talk will focus on the effects of temporal changes in macrophage phenotype on angiogenesis, the design of biomaterials and drug delivery systems to modulate macrophage phenotype for enhanced angiogenesis, and the development of macrophage phenotype-related biomarkers to assist in clinical decision making for a personalized medicine approach to wound care.

Kara Spiller, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Drexel University's School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. Her research interests include the role of immune cells in tissue regeneration, the design of immunomodulatory biomaterials, and international engineering education. Dr. Spiller's research is funded by the NIH, the NSF, and private foundations. Her awards include a Fulbright fellowship, the NSF CAREER award, and the United States nomination for the ASPIRE prize.

Contact Information

Lisa Williams

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