The Brain's Balancing Act: Body Weight and Blood Glucose Levels

Nearly two-thirds of US adults are overweight – fueling the twin epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes in this country.  Allison Xu, an Assistant Professor who was trained at Stanford and joined the UCSF Diabetes Center in 2006, is focused on understanding how the central nervous system regulates body weight and glucose levels.

She and her lab colleagues are studying how body weight is dependent on the brain sensing and responding to changes in energy stores in the body. They seek information on how the hormones leptin and insulin enter the brain and act on specific neurons to inhibit food intake and increase energy expenditure. Through her research, Dr. Xu hopes to identify new therapies to prevent and/or treat obesity and type 2 diabetes.