Energy Metabolism

The balance between fuel supply and demand is particularly delicate in the brain, an organ with high energy requirements but negligible stores, and is important in neurodegenerative pathogenesis.

The molecular mechanisms ensuring this balance are not well understood, largely because of lack of techniques to monitor processes with adequate spatial and temporal resolution. We have developed a panel of experimental tools to study cell metabolism with higher resolution, culminating in the use of genetically-encoded FRET nanosensors.

We have uncovered several molecular mechanisms whereby synaptic activity modulates glucose and lactate metabolism in neurons and astrocytes. We are expanding this line of research to the study of brain cells in their natural milieu
in vitro and in vivo. The use of transgenic mice expressing FRET glucose nanosensors specifically in neurons or astrocytes, will help to generate a map of brain energy metabolism with cell-level resolution.