Heike Muenzberg-Gruening, Ph.D.



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(225) 763-0260
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Diploma, Phillips University, Marburg, Germany
Ph.D., University Hospital Hamburg and Universtiy Hospital Heidelberg, Germany (Biology)
Postdoctoral Training, Harvard University/BIDMC, Boston, USA


Dissection of neuronal circuits that are involved in thermoregulatory leptin action to regulate energy expenditure and obesity.
Integration of diverse sensory inputs (e.g. cold, diet, reproductive hormones) to appropriate thermoregulatory output (energy expenditure).

Dissection of neuronal circuits that control nutrient reward and preference.

Role of galanin and leptin in nutrient reward and preference.

Pharmacogenetic and Optogenetic dissection of neuronal circuits for complex behavior (energy expenditure, nutrient reward/preference).

Develop molecular genetic tools to study organ specific autonomic neurons.


Yu S, Münzberg H: Testing Effects of Chronic Chemogeneitic Neuronal Stiulation on Energy Balance by Indirect Calorimetry. Bio Protoc., 2018, 8(8):e2811, PMCID:PMC6018017

Yu S, Cheng H, Francois M, Qualls-Creekmore E, Huesing C, He Y, Jiang Y, Gao H, Xu Y, Zsombock A, Derbenev AV, Morrison CD, Berthoud HR, Münzberg H: Preoptic leptin signaling modulates energy balance independent of body temperature regulation. Elife, 2018, 7:e33505, PMCID:PMC5953538

Francois M, Qualls-Creekmore E, Berthoud HR, Münzberg H, Yu S: Genetics-based manipulation of adipose tissue sympathetic innervation. Physiology & Behavior, 190:21-27, 2017, PMCID:PMC5832526

Yu S, Francois M, Huesing C, Münzberg H: The Hypothalamic Preoptic Area and Body Weight Control. Neuroendocrinology, 2018, 106(2):187-194

Qualls-Creekmore E, Yu S, Francois M, Hoang J, Huesing C, Bruce-Keller A, Berthoud HR, Morrison CD, Münzberg H: Galanin-Expressing GABA Neurons in the Lateral Hypothalamus Modulate Food Reward and Noncompulsive Locomotion. J Neuroscience, 37(25):6053-6065, 2017, PMCID:PMC5481941

Münzberg H, Qualls-Creekmore E, Yu S, Morrison CD, Berthoud H-R: Hedonics Act in Unison with the Homeostatic System to Unconsciously Control Body Weight. Front Nutr. 2016, 15:3-6

Yu S, Rezai-Zadeh K, Jiang Y, Berthoud HR, Morrison CD, Derbenev AV, Zombok A, Münzberg H: Glutamatergic Preoptic Area Neurons That Express Leptin Receptors Drive Temperature-Dependent Body Weight Homeostasis. J Neurosci, 2016, 36(18):5034-46, PMCID:PMC4854966

Münzberg H, Qualls-Creekmore E, Berthoud H-R, Morrison CD, Yu S: Neural Control of Energy Expenditure. Handbook Experimental Pharmacology, 2015, Epub

Laque A, Yu S, Qualls-Creekmore E, Gettys S, Schwartzenburg C, Bui K, Rhodes C, Berthoud HR, Morrison CD, Richards BK, Münzberg H: Leptin modulates nutrient reward via inhibitory galanin action on orexin neurons. Molecular Metabolism, 2015, 4(10):706-17, PMCID:PMC4588437

Rezai-Zadeh K, Yu, Sangho, Jiang Y, Laque A, Schwartzenburg C, Morrison CD, Derbenev AV, Zsombok A, Münzberg H: Leptin Receptor Neurons in the Dorsomedial Hypothalamus are Key Regulators of Enenergy Expenditure and body weight, but not Food Intake. Molecular Metabolism 2014,3:681-93, PMCID: PMC4209380, featured on Journal’s title page

Münzberg H, Laque A, Yu S, Rezai-Zadeh, Berthoud H-R: Appetite and body weight regulation after bariatric surgery. Int J Obes, Review, 2015, Suppl 1:77-90

Morrison CD, Münzberg H: Structure, Production and Signaling of Leptin. Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, 2014, S0026-0495(14):00292-3

Rezai-Zadeh K, Münzberg H: Integration of sensory information via central thermoregulatory leptin targets. Physiol Behav. 2013, 121:49-55, PMCID: PMC3683124

Laque A, Zhang Y, Gettys S, Nguyen TA, Bui K, Morrison CD, Münzberg H: Leptin receptor neurons in the mouse hypothalamus are co-localized with the neuropeptide galanin and mediate anorexigenic leptin action. AJP Endocrinol Metab, Epub Mar 2013, PMCID:PMC3651648.

Berthoud HR, Münzberg H, Richards BK, Morrison CD: Neural and metabolic regulation of macronutrient intake and selection. Proc Nutr. Soc, 71(3): 390-400, 2012.

Zhang Y, Kerman IA, Laque A, Faouzi M, Louis GW, Jones JC, Rhodes C, Münzberg H: Leptin Receptor Expressing Neurons in the Dorsomedial Hypothalamus and Median Preoptic Area Regulate Sympathetic Brown Adipose Tissue Circuits. J Neurosci., 31(5):1873-84, 2011, PMCID:PMC3069639.

Berthoud HR, Münzberg H: The lateral hypothalamus as intergrator of metabolic and environmental needs:from electrical self-stimulation to opto-genetics. Physiol Behav., 104(1):29-39, 2011 PMCID:PMC3131619.
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