Dr. Nectow Researches Role of DRN Brain Region and Hyperphagia in PWS

dr-nectow-researches-role-of-drn-brain-region-and-hyperphagia-in-pws.jpgResearchers throughout the world are hard at work trying to identify the biological mechanism(s) that drive hyperphagia (excessive eating) in PWS. One of these scientists is Dr. Alexander Nectow at Princeton Univeristy.

Dr. Nectow's group studies a region of the brain called the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN). Two populations of neurons in the DRN help control food intake and can cause animals to either binge eat or to stop eating.


These subpopulations of neurons normally express the PWS region gene, Magel2, at different levels. In this project Dissecting a Novel Bainstem Feeding Circuit In Prader Willi Syndrome, Dr. Nectow and his group are using cutting-edge neurobiology techniques to investigate how disrupting the Magel2 gene in these neurons impacts their function, and possibly PWS–associated behaviors. Using a mouse model of PWS, Dr. Nectow and his team will also explore whether manipulating these neuron populations can reduce PWS–associated behaviors. 

The results from this work will give a better understanding of how these neurons, which help control food intake, function differently in PWS. This project will also help determine if targeting the DRN region of the brain is a potential therapeutic avenue for PWS. The project is funded by the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research Canada.

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Topics: Research

Jessica Bohonowych


Jessica Bohonowych is a graduate of Duke University, and holds a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of California, Davis. Incorporating her research background, knowledge of pharmacology and drug development, and teaching experience, Jessica works with Theresa Strong in managing FPWR’s grant portfolio, communicating research results and breakthroughs to our community, aiding in special projects such as the Clinical Trials Initiative and Molecular Resource Center, and is heading the development of the Global PWS Registry.