Student Theses and Dissertations


Keith Tan

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

RU Laboratory

Friedman Laboratory


There is mounting evidence that demonstrates that body weight and energy homeostasis is tightly regulated by a physiological system. This system consists of sensing and effector components that primarily reside in the central nervous system and disruption to these components can lead to obesity and metabolic disorders. Although many neural substrates have been identified in the past decades, there is reason to believe that there are numerous unidentified neural populations that play a role in energy balance. Besides regulating caloric consumption and energy expenditure, neural components that control energy homeostasis are also tightly intertwined with circadian rhythmicity but this aspect has received less attention. In this dissertation, I will first describe a novel method to identify functionally activated neurons in the central nervous system using phosphorylated ribosome profiling. I will use this method to identify new neuronal populations that regulate energy balance as well as uncover new functions for well-studied neural populations. I will elaborate on key findings such as the role of prodynorphin, agouti-related protein and melanin concentrating hormone expressing neurons during scheduled feeding and the role of galanin neurons in maintaining body weight.


A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Rockefeller University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

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