Lori Zeltser, PhD

Lori Zeltser, PhD

Research Interest

Research in the Zeltser laboratory explores how developmental influences exert lasting impacts on body weight regulation. Epidemiological studies provide strong evidence that interactions between genetic and early environmental factors influence later susceptibility to obesity and eating disorders. A major obstacle to elucidating the underlying mechanism for these effects is that most research programs are focused on the neuroanatomy and physiology of body weight regulation in adults. We are using a two-pronged approach to identify critical developmental processes in the central and peripheral nervous system that regulate susceptibility to childhood obesity and anorexia nervosa. First, we use a combination of genetic, environmental and/or dietary manipulations in mice to define the timing and types of exposures needed to recapitulate basic epidemiological observations in humans.  Then we use genetic and pharmacological tools to characterize the consequences of these developmental factors on the maturation of neuronal circuits that, in turn, mediate effects on metabolic, neuroendocrine and behavioral phenotypes. By applying the rigor and precision of developmental neuroscience to mouse models of susceptibility to body weight dysregulation, our research is yielding new insights into the causes of childhood obesity and anorexia nervosa, and could lead to new therapeutic strategies to treat these disorders.

  • A.B., 1989 Molecular Biology; School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • PhD, 1996 Molecular and Developmental Biology; The Rockefeller University, New York
  • Postdoc, 1996-1999 Kings College London
  • Postdoc, 2000-2006 Columbia University

Course Director for Molecular and Cell Biology and Nutrients G4020

  • Domonique Bozec, Senior Staff Associate
  • Olaya Fernandez-Gayol, Postdoc
  • Marie Francois, Associate Research Scientist
  • Daniele Neri, PhD student
  • Ioannis Papazoglou, Associate Research Scientist
  • Angela Ramos Lobo, Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Zeltser, L.M. (2019) Axon guidance molecules implicated in early-onset obesity. Trends in Neurosciences. 42(7):439-440. PMID: 30981443.

Mirzadeh Z., Alonge K.M., Cabrales E., Scarlett J.M., Brown J.M., Hassouna R., Matsen M.E., Nguyen H.T., Zeltser L.M., and Schwartz MW. (2019) Perineuronal net formation and the critical period for neuronal maturation in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. Nature Metabolism. 1(2):212-221. PMID: 31245789; PMCID: 6594569.

Zeltser, L.M. (2018) Feeding circuit development and early-life influences on future feeding behavior. Nature Review of Neuroscience 19(5):302-316. PMID: 29662204.

Zeltser, L.M. and Madra, M. (2018) A framework for elucidating causes and consequences of malnutrition in anorexia nervosa. In S. Sangha and D. Foti (Eds.) Neurobiology of Abnormal Emotion and Motivated Behaviors. Academic Press. ISBN: 9780128136935.

Madra, M. and Zeltser L.M. (2016) BDNF-Val66Met variant and adolescent stress interact to promote susceptibility to anorexic behavior in mice. Translational Psychiatry Apr 5;6:e776. PMC4872394.

Zeltser, L.M. (2015) Developmental influences on circuits programming susceptibility to obesity. Front Neuroendocrinol. 39:17-27. PMID:26206662. Free PMC article.

Lerea J.S., Ring, L.E., Hassouna, R., Chong, A.C.N., Szigeti-Buck K, Horvath, T.L. and Zeltser, L.M. (2015) Reducing adiposity in a critical developmental window has lasting benefits in mice. Endocrinology 157(2):666-78. PMC4733128.

Juan de Solis, A., Baquero, A., Bennett C.M., Grove K.L. and Zeltser, L.M. (2016) Postnatal undernutrition delays a key step in the maturation of hypothalamic feeding circuits. Molecular Metabolism 5(3):198-209. PMC4770263.

Baquero, A. Juan de Solis, A., Lee, S., Lindsley, S., Krigiti M, Smith, S.M., Cowley M, Zeltser, L.M. and Grove K.L. (2014) Developmental switch of leptin signaling in arcuate nucleus neurons. Journal of Neuroscience 34(30):10041-10054. Featured Article in Journal. PMC4107412.

Schwartz, G.J. and Zeltser, L.M. (2013) Functional Organization of Neuronal and Humoral Signals Regulating Feeding Behavior. Annual Reviews of Nutrition Jul 17;33:1-21. PMC3991304.

Ring, L.E. and Zeltser, L.M. (2010) Disruption of hypothalamic leptin signaling in mice leads to early-onset obesity, but physiological adaptations in mature animals stabilize adiposity levels. JCI 120(8):2931-41. PMC2912188.

Padilla, S.L., Carmody, J.S. and Zeltser, L.M. (2010) Pomc-expressing progenitors give rise to antagonistic populations in hypothalamic feeding circuits. Nature Medicine 16(4):403-5. PMC2854504.

  • Sympathetic Innervation of Brown Adipose Tissue 
  • Maternal Programming of Metabolic Disease 
  • Models of Psychiatric Disorders Anorexia 
  • Circuits Regulating Food Intake and Body Weight