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Sharon Jensen-Cody

Mentor: Matthew Potthoff, Ph.D.
Lab Room: 3322 PBDB
Lab Phone: 319-335-7660

Novel Endocrine Circuit Regulating Sugar Satiety

The recent rise in obesity has been greatly influenced by food intake and diet composition. Although multiple studies have explored the complex regulation of food intake, the molecular mechanisms that govern the appetite for specific macronutrients are largely unknown.

Recently, the Potthoff lab demonstrated that the pleotropic hepatic endocrine factor, fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), is shown to mediate endocrine control of simple sugar intake and sweet taste preference through its actions in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus. The PVN is comprised of various neurons, including oxytocin neurons, which project to the ventral tegmental area (VTA), or “reward center” of the brain. In addition, oxytocin neurons are responsible for the synthesis of oxytocin, and recent evidence revealed that oxytocin plays a role in regulating sweet taste preference. For my thesis work, I aim to determine whether FGF21 regulates simple sugar intake and sweet taste preference through its actions on oxytocin neurons in the PVN. Using novel mouse models and techniques, we seek to identify new mechanistic information into this liver-brain hormonal axis regulating central pathways controlling energy homeostasis and reward.

Jensen-Cody SO, Flippo KH, Claflin KE, Yavuz Y, Sapouckey SA, Walters GC, Usachev YM, Atasoy D, Gillum MP, Potthoff MJ. FGF21 Signals to Glutamatergic Neurons in the Ventromedial Hypothalamus to Suppress Carbohydrate Intake. Cell Metab. 2020 Jun 30:S1550-4131(20)30309-0. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.06.008. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32640184.

Ameka M, Markan KR, Morgan DA, BonDurant LD, Idiga SO, Naber MC, Zhu Z, Zingman LV, Grobe JL, Rahmouni K, Potthoff MJ. Liver Derived FGF21 Maintains Core Body Temperature During Acute Cold Exposure. Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 24;9(1):630. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-37198-y. PubMed PMID: 30679672; PubMed Central PMCID:PMC6345819.

Zhang P, Kuang H, He Y, Idiga SO, Li S, Chen Z, Yang Z, Cai X, Zhang K, Potthoff MJ, Xu Y, Lin JD. NRG1-Fc improves metabolic health via dual hepatic and central action. JCI Insight. 2018 Mar 8;3(5). pii: 98522. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.98522. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29515030; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5922292.

Klingelhutz AJ, Gourronc FA, Chaly A, Wadkins DA, Burand AJ, Markan KR, Idiga SO, Wu M, Potthoff MJ, Ankrum JA. Scaffold-free generation of uniform adipose spheroids for metabolism research and drug discovery. Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 11;8(1):523. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-19024-z. PubMed PMID: 29323267; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5765134.

BonDurant LD, Ameka M, Naber MC, Markan KR, Idiga SO, Acevedo MR, Walsh SA, Ornitz DM, Potthoff MJ. FGF21 Regulates Metabolism Through Adipose-Dependent and -Independent Mechanisms. Cell Metab. 2017 Apr 4;25(4):935-944.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.03.005. PubMed PMID: 28380381; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5494834.

deBoer, T.R., Palomino, R.I., Idiga, S.O., Millhauser, G.L. and Mascharak, P.K.: Tyrosine nitration in peptides by peroxynitrite generated in situ in a light-controlled platform: effects of pH and thiols. J Inorg Biochem. 138:24-30, 2014. PMID: 24857804.

Honors and Awards

  • Alfred P. Sloan Scholar, 2015
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology Program Retreat Poster Presentation Travel Award, 2016
  • ACRC 4th Annual Symposium Poster Presentation Travel Award, 2017
  • Iowa Physiological Society Meeting Poster Presentation Award, 2017
  • Graduate College Post-Comprehensive Research Award, 2017
  • 3-Minute Thesis Competition First Prize Winner and People’s Choice Award Winner, 2017
  • Dare to Discover Campaign, 2018
  • Outstanding Research Poster Presentation Award, Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center Research Day, 2018
  • University of Iowa Hawkeye Caucus Day Graduate Student Representative, 2018
  • Midwestern Association for Graduate students 3-Minute Thesis Competition Finalist, 2018
  • NIH/NRSA Predoctoral Diversity Fellowship(F31 DK117515) American Heart Association Fellowship (18PRE34030399)
  • American Heart Association Fellowship (18PRE34030399)
  • Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology Retreat Poster Presentation Award, The University of Iowa, 2017
  • Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology Retreat Poster Presentation Award, The University of Iowa, 2019
  • University of Iowa Research Week Oral Presentation