Jonathan Flak joined IU in September 2019. Immediately upon arrival he began setting up his own lab within the IBRI Diabetes Center. In his lab, Jonathan is focusing on studying the central nervous system’s regulation of glucose metabolism as it relates to diabetes.
More specifically, Jonathan will build on work he began at the University of Michigan that is aimed at distinguishing markers for ventromedial hypothalamic neurons involved in glycemic regulation from the rest of the nucleus, a known brain area critical to balancing glucose, to help determine new targets/brain systems that may prove important in future therapeutics. He plans to identify the downstream systems from these subsets of ventromedial hypothalamic neurons to establish the mechanisms of how the brain can tune metabolic function (e.g. energy expenditure, glucose uptake and glucose mobilization).
Prior to establishing his lab at the IBRI, Jonathan worked in the lab of Martin Myers at the University of Michigan. This project was an outgrowth from his work in this lab, where he began using cre-dependent mouse models and viral systems to study leptin action in the brainstem periaqueductal gray and lateral parabrachial nuclei. His work with Prof. Myers led to research published in Nature Neuroscience and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Jonathan received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biopsychology and Cognitive Sciences with honors from the University of Michigan in 2004. And, he obtained his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Cincinnati in 2011.
Flak J.N., Goforth P.B., Dell’Orco J., Sabatini P.V., Li C., Bozadjieva N., Sorenson M., Valenta A., Cras-Meneur C., Ansari A., Sacksner J., Kodur N., Sandoval D., Kennedy R.T., Olson D.P., Myers M.G. Jr. Ventromedial hypothalamic neuronal subset regulates blood glucose independently of insulin. Journal of Clinical Investigation (2020); 130(6): 2943-2952.
Bozadjieva N., Ross R.A., Johnson D.Q., Haggerty D.L., Atwood B., Lowell B.B., Flak J.N. The role of mediobasal hypothalamic PACAP in the control of body weight and metabolism. Endocrinology (2021); 162(4).
Flak J.N., Arble D., Pan W., Patterson C.M., Lanigan T., Sacksner J., Joosten M., Morgan D., Allison M.B., Hayes J., Feldman E., Seeley R.J., Olson D.P., Rahmouni K., Myers M.G. Jr. A leptin-regulated neural circuit that modulates glucose mobilization in response to noxious stimuli. Journal of Clinical Investigation (2017); 127(8): 3103-3113.
Flak J.N., Patterson C.M., Garfield A.S., D’Agostino G., Goforth P.B., Sutton A.K., Malec P.A., Wong J.M., Germani M., Jones J.C., Rajala M., Satin L., Rhodes C.J., Olson D.P., Kennedy R.T., Heisler L.K., Myers M.G. Jr. Leptin-inhibited PBN neurons enhance responses to hypoglycemia in negative energy balance. Nature Neuroscience (2014); 17 (12): 1744-50.