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Eleftheria Maratos-Flier, M.D.

Dr. Maratos-Flier's lab has been interested in obesity and the regulation of energy balance for more than 15 years. Their early focus was the hypothalamus and Dr. Maratos-Flier published extensively on the role of the hypothalamic neuropeptide MCH, including the manuscript originally defining the role of MCH in the hypothalamus in 1996. Her group made MCHKO mice which they showed were lean and resistant to diet induced obesity (DIO). They subsequently showed that mice over-expressing MCH were slightly overweight and had increased susceptibility to DIO.  Her lab characterized differences in the phenotype of MCH ablation in different strains of mice and also showed that MCH ablation improves the aging phenotype of C57BL/6 mice. They also showed that MCH is a critical mediator of the leptin deficient phenotype. Dr. Maratos-Flier demonstrated that the receptor for MCHR1 activates ERK in the CNS and synergizes with Gs pathways. Because the MCH receptor is highly expressed in the accumbens she explored the role of MCH in regulating dopaminergic function and found major difference in mice with MCH ablation, compared to normal mice.