Joining Soon: Andrew Lutas, Ph.D., Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator

Dr. Lutas is joining the Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Obesity Branch in January 2022.

Photo of Andrew Lutas.

Contact Info

Email: alutas@bidmc.harvard.edu

Open Positions

Technician, postdoctoral fellow, graduate student, and post-baccalaureate student positions are available. Please email alutas@bidmc.harvard.edu for more information.

Current Research

Environmental, stressful, and emotional triggers can powerfully impact our food consumption making it difficult to prevent overeating. We study how neural circuits integrate hormonal, neuropeptide, and monoamine neurotransmitter signaling to control the salience of these triggers and influence related processes in energy homeostasis. Our current research is focused on how multiple neuromodulator signals like dopamine and neuropeptides converge on a common intracellular molecular signal, cyclic AMP (cAMP), to adjust neural circuit activity. Studying intracellular signals has been challenging as these signals are difficult to continuously monitor in behaving animals. We overcome these challenges by using optical approaches like two-photon microscopy, novel fluorescent biosensors, and optogenetics to longitudinally track and manipulate molecular signals inside neurons in the intact brain. By combining these optical approaches with behavior tasks and genetic manipulations in rodents, we probe how molecular signals influence the activity of neural circuits involved in the overconsumption of food. We track these intracellular signals with subcellular resolution as they change over the course of daily food consumption and over many weeks of overconsumption leading to obesity. Our goal is to understand principles of neuromodulation of brain circuits and uncover treatment strategies for obesity and comorbid diseases.

Select Publications

Dopamine-dependent cAMP dynamics in basal amygdala glutamatergic neurons.
Lutas A, Fernando K, Zhang SX, Sambangi A, Andermann M.
bioRxiv (2021) Abstract/Full Text
Hypothalamic dopamine neurons motivate mating through persistent cAMP signalling.
Zhang SX, Lutas A, Yang S, Gao S, Diaz A, Fluhr H, Nagel G, Andermann M.
Nature (2021) Abstract/Full Text
State-specific gating of salient cues by midbrain dopaminergic input to basal amygdala.
Lutas A, Kucukdereli H, Alturkistani O, Carty C, Sugden A, Fernando K, Diaz V, Flores-Maldonado V, Andermann M.
Nat Neuro (2019) Abstract/Full Text
The leak channel NALCN controls tonic firing and glycolytic sensitivity of substantia nigra pars reticulata neurons.
Lutas A, Lahmann C, Soumillon M, Yellen G.
Elife (2016) Abstract/Full Text
Metabolism regulates the spontaneous firing of SNr neurons via KATP and non-selective cation channels.
Lutas A, Birnbaumer L, Yellen G.
J Neurosci (2014) Abstract/Full Text