UCL Division of Biosciences


NPP Seminar: Professor Debra Ann Fadool, Florida State University

10 May 2023, 12:00 pm–1:00 pm

Debra A Fadool

Title: Olfactory Perturbation and Obesity

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni






Charlette Bent-Gayle


Medical Sciences 131 A V Hill LT
Medical Sciences and Anatomy
Gower Street

Academic Host: Paola Pedarzani

AbstractOur laboratory has discovered that the olfactory system plays a regulatory role in modulating energy homeostasis, and that conversely, over-nutrition can dysregulate olfactory function and correlate circuitry.  We have used CRISPR genome editing,  nanoparticle-associated drug delivery, and chemogenetics in select mouse models as strategies to modify the excitability of output neurons from the olfactory bulb.  By exciting or suppressing functional connections of the olfactory bulb to higher cortical regions, it is evident that modulation of olfaction drives changes in body weight, glucose clearance, serum chemistry, energy expenditure, adipose deposition, fuel utilization, oxygen consumption, and caloric intake.  Using mice models with reporters for olfactory circuits, we can visualize the deleterious effects of diet-induced obesity (DIO).  We can measure losses in synaptic connections in response to DIO that are associated with reduced olfactory discrimination and that fail to recover despite “dieting the mice” to normal body weight and glycemic levels.  Our lecture will discuss future approaches to uncover the mechanism of how the olfactory system communicates with central circuits to maintain metabolic health.  Use of iso-caloric feeding, voluntary running, microbiome analyses, strategic transgenic lines with modified excitable circuits, viral track tracing, gene activation, and biochemistry determinations are parallel means to determine the cellular and biophysical means by which the olfactory system contributes to balancing the body’s metabolic setpoint.  Because the olfactory system is engineered with the expression of endocrine factors, hormone receptors, and important energy signaling pathways, it is well poised to uphold a dual function to detect external chemical cues (odorants) and internal chemical cues (metabolic factors). 

About the Speaker

Distinguished Research Professor Debra Ann Fadool

Distinguished Research Professor, Program in Neuroscience and Institute of Molecular Biophysics at Florida State University

Debra Ann Fadool is a Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University and the Director of the Chemosensory Training Grant Program supported by the NIH for almost 30 years.  She was the first to propose the olfactory system as a metabolic sensor and to discover the sensitivity of the olfactory circuits to over nutrition.  Her work is at the intersection of sensory physiology/biophysics and obesity – or the newly merged field known as “Sensory Nutrition”.

More about Distinguished Research Professor Debra Ann Fadool