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Virtual Seminar: Running on Dopamine: Metabolic Regulation of Reward Seeking

Pioneers in Biomedical Research Seminar presented by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Running on Dopamine: Metabolic Regulation of Reward Seeking

Date: Nov. 20, 2020
Time: 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Virtual Access:
Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic faculty, staff, and students will be sent an email with Zoom login credentials. 

About This Seminar

Dopamine plays an important role in the regulation of goal-directed behavior. To ensure energy homeostasis, goal-directed behavior has to be tuned according to physiological needs of the organism. However, despite the wealth of preclinical evidence on the link between disturbed energy homeostasis and altered dopamine signaling, this correspondence is not well understood in humans. In the talk, I will provide an integrative perspective on goal-directed behavior that incorporates energetic demands. Crucially, the emerging evidence on vagal afferent signals in regulating allostasis via changes in monoaminergic signaling suggests that non-invasive electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve may provide a means to perturb homeostatic and motivational circuits in the human brain. Thus, by emulating vagal afferent signals concurrently to fMRI, we can better elucidate the role of interoceptive feedback in regulating goal-directed behavior. Ultimately, this mechanism might help us explain why metabolic and motivational symptoms often co-occur in mental and metabolic disorders.

Additional Details 

This is a free event hosted by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and co-sponsored by the institute's Center for Human Neuroscience Research. The Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Pioneers in Biomedical Research Program offers the expertise of a range of scientists who are exploring frontiers in biomedical research. These seminars are open to Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic faculty, students, and staff.


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Nils Kroemer, Ph.D.

Nils Kroemer, Ph.D.

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