Public Release:  BIDMC's Mark Andermann, Ph.D., receives Smith Family Foundation Biomedical Research Award

Award will fund novel investigation into the effects of hunger on cognition, a critical first step in the development of targeted therapies to treat obesity and other eating disorders

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

BOSTON - Mark Andermann, PhD, an investigator in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), has received a three-year $300,000 award from the Smith Family Awards Program for Excellence in Biomedical Research.

The program was created in 1991 by the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation to help launch the careers of newly independent biomedical researchers in Massachusetts, with the aim of achieving medical breakthroughs. Andermann is one of only four recipients of the prestigious award.

Andermann's research focuses on the brain networks underlying hunger. "Hunger selectively enhances attention to food-associated visual cues and this can ultimately lead to excessive eating and obesity," says Andermann, who is also an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Using novel tools to visualize and manipulate brain activity in mice, Andermann is conducting a series of experiments to examine specific neuronal pathways that control hunger and attention.

"The funding from the Smith Family Foundation will enable us to dissect the basic microcircuits within key brain areas," he adds. "We hope that our experiments will ultimately provide a means for understanding and selectively modifying the networks underlying hunger-dependent attention to food cues."

Andermann received his PhD in Biophysics with a specialization in Neuroscience from Harvard University in 2005. He completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Helsinki University of Technology and Harvard Medical School before joining the BIDMC faculty in 2012.

"The rates of obesity and related complications continue to rise dramatically throughout the U.S.," notes Anthony Hollenberg, MD, Chief of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at BIDMC. "Dr. Andermann's work to understand the neurocircutry underlying hunger and eating behaviors provides an essential step towards eventually developing targeted therapies to help treat and manage this widespread epidemic."

###

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a patient care, teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School and currently ranks third in National Institutes of Health funding among independent hospitals nationwide. BIDMC is clinically affiliated with the Joslin Diabetes Center and is a research partner of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox. For more information, visit http://www.bidmc.org.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.