Joel Geerling , MD, PhD
In the lab, we use genetic techniques to isolate and manipulate neurons that mediate basic physiologic functions including sleep, appetite, bladder control, and thermoregulation. My focus lies in identifying and deciphering previously unknown connections between neurons in the brainstem and other subcortical brain regions by applying basic developmental-genetic information and selecting Cre-transgenic mouse models that allow us to target specific subpopulation(s) of neurons that control wakefulness and other basic functions. Beyond the basic scientific importance of this work, we hope to improve the understanding and treatment of patients with disorders of arousal and autonomic function, particularly in age-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Lewy body disease, Alzheimer's dementia, MSA, and FTD.
Keywords: cognitive neurology, neuroanatomy, ascending arousal system, coma, central sympathetic/autonomic nervous system, brainstem, parabrachial nucleus, sodium appetite/salt appetite, aldosterone-sensitive HSD2 neurons, urinary bladder control, mouse brain circuits, connectome/connectomics, ascending reticular activating system, disorders of consciousness, sleep-wake control, homeostasis, pre-locus coeruleus, hypothalamus, basal forebrain, central nucleus of the amygdala, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, nucleus of the solitary tract, anterior/agranular insular cortex, pregenual anterior cingulate cortex, Barrington's nucleus/pontine microurition center