Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
Dopamine is a modulatory neurotransmitters that has been shown to regulate various behaviors in the Drosophila including courtship, learning and memory, sleep and wake, and feeding. This study aims to understand the dopaminergic circuitry modulating feeding after a mild starvation protocol. Findings show that activation of a specific group of dopaminergic neurons promotes an increase in initial feeding after starvation, but does not modulate feeding throughout the day. These neurons act through a specific dopamine receptor located downstream in an area involved in metabolic homeostasis. Finding from this study may have implications in understanding the mechanisms of obesity.