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Deniz Atasoy, PhD

Contact Information

Office: 2-432 BSB
Faculty Profile

Brief description of current research: 

Obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes. We are interested in neural circuits that regulate feeding behavior and glucose metabolism with a special emphasis on disease models of obesity and eating disorders. Using a variety of cutting edge circuit dissection approaches, we map and manipulate neuronal networks to understand synaptic and circuit mechanisms of body weight regulation in health and disease. Environmental conditions such as extended exposure to high fat diet, perinatal undernutrition, aging as well as genetic factors are well known to influence long term body weight and feeding behavior. A major focus of our lab is to understand cellular and circuit level maladaptations to such disease-state appetite and glucose homeostasis. Proper feeding response is also a critical behavioral adaptation to counter hypoglycemia. In the absence of this, as seen in type-1 diabetes and advanced type-2 diabetes patients, hypoglycemic unawareness can have lethal consequences. We are interested in uncovering circuits that drive glucoprivic feeding.

​3 most influential diabetes/obesity/metabolism publications:

  • Ates T., Oncul M., Dilsiz P., Topcu I.C., Civas C.C., Alp M.I., Aklan I., Ates Oz E., Yavuz Y., Yilmaz B., Sayar Atasoy N., Atasoy D. Inactivation of Magel2 suppresses oxytocin neurons through synaptic excitation-inhibition imbalance. Neurobiology of Disease 2019 Jan;121:58-64.
  • Oncul M., Dilsiz P., Ates Oz E., Ates T., Aklan I., Celik E., Sayar Atasoy N., Atasoy D. Impaired melanocortin pathway function in Prader-Willi Syndrome gene-Magel2 deficient mice. Human Molecular Genetics 2018 Sep 15;27(18):3129-3136.
  • Atasoy D., Betley N., Scheffer L., Wei-Ping L., Su H., Sertel S.M., Simpson J.H., Fetter R., Sternson S.M. A genetically specified connectomics approach applied to long-range feeding regulatory circuits. Nature Neurosci. 2014 Dec;17(12):1830-9. 


One of the very best things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.   -Luciano Pavarotti