Welcome to our lab! Research in the Riera lab focuses on the discovery of neural circuits regulating metabolic balance in the context of obesity, diabetes and the aging process.

We study the role of central and peripheral sensory neural circuits in metabolic health and aging by using cutting edge mouse genetics, novel molecular technologies applied to Neuroscience and Molecular Physiology. Our mission is to discover novel target genes playing a fundamental role in the onset of diabetes and obesity, and design pre-clinical strategies to ameliorate metabolic function in mouse models of disease.

taylor and francis figures

Model for the neuroendocrine regulation of metabolism by TRPV1 expressing neurons. Stimulation of TRPV1 by external stimuli promotes CGRP secretion from DRG neurons onto the pancreatic β cells and inhibition of insulin release. TRPV1 activation results in Ca2+ influx and activation of calcineurin, allowing dephosphorylation of CRTC1 and release from 14-3-3 proteins, resulting in nuclear internalization of CRTC1 and transcription of its targets, such as CGRP. CGRP accumulation has detrimental effects on energy expenditure, glucose tolerance, and aging. In contrast, loss of TRPV1 promotes lifespan extension through increased insulin secretion, metabolic health by inactivating of the CRTC1/CREB signaling cascade.