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School of Medicine Columbia

Faculty and Staff

Claudia Grillo, Ph.D.

Title: Research Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience
Department: Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience
School of Medicine Columbia
Phone: 803-216-3508

Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuro
Basic Science Bldg 1, Rm B27A

Claudia profile


Postdoctoral Training
The Rockefeller, University, New York, NY

University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

University of Buenos Aires, Argentina 

Research Focus

Obesity is a debilitating public health problem, and a common factor that underlie many of the frequent illnesses seen in medical practice. According to the World Health Organization 700 million adults are clinically obese. Although a number of factors are likely involved, increased food intake is one of the major contributors to obesity. A variety of hormones and neurotransmitters play different roles in appetite regulation, including the adipocyte-derived hormone leptin. Leptin is secreted proportionally to fat mass, and regulates a broad spectrum of homeostatic functions. While the role of hypothalamic leptin receptors in appetite regulation, body weight and energy expenditure are well established, recent studies suggest that extra-hypothalamic leptin receptors also regulate food intake. Integrating in vivo microdialysis with in vivo optogenetics approaches I am studying the role of leptin receptors located in the raphe nuclei, the main source of serotonin, and their interaction with the serotonergic system upon the regulation of eating behavior. My major interest is to identify novel circuits that regulates food intake, which will allow us to identify new targets for the development of therapeutic strategies to treat obesity.

Recent Publications

  • Hersey M, Woodruff JL, Maxwell N, Sadek AT, Bykalo MK, Bain I, Grillo CA, Piroli GG, Hashemi P, Reagan LP. High-fat diet induces neuroinflammation and reduces the serotonergic response to escitalopram in the hippocampus of obese rats. Brain Behav Immun. 2021 Aug;96:63-72. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2021.05.010. Epub 2021 May 16. PubMed PMID: 34010713; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8319113.
  • Macht VA, Woodruff JL, Burzynski HE, Grillo CA, Reagan LP, Fadel JR. Interactions between pyridostigmine bromide and stress on glutamatergic neurochemistry: Insights from a rat model of Gulf War Illness. Neurobiol Stress. 2020 May;12:100210. doi: 10.1016/j.ynstr.2019.100210. eCollection 2020 May. PubMed PMID: 32258255; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7109514
  • Macht VA, Woodruff JL, Maissy ES, Grillo CA, Wilson MA, Fadel JR, Reagan LP. Pyridostigmine bromide and stress interact to impact immune function, cholinergic neurochemistry and behavior in a rat model of Gulf War Illness. Brain Behav Immun. 2019 Aug;80:384-393. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2019.04.015. Epub 2019 Apr 3. PubMed PMID: 30953774; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6790976.
  • Grillo CA, Woodruff JL, Macht VA, Reagan LP. Insulin resistance and hippocampal dysfunction: Disentangling peripheral and brain causes from consequences. Exp Neurol. 2019 Aug;318:71-77. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2019.04.012. Epub 2019 Apr 24. Review. PubMed PMID: 31028829.
  • Macht VA, Woodruff JL, Grillo CA, Wood CS, Wilson MA, Reagan LP. Pathophysiology in a model of Gulf War Illness: Contributions of pyridostigmine bromide and stress. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2018 Oct;96:195-202. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2018.07.015. Epub 2018 Jul 10. PubMed PMID: 30041099.
  • Chapman CD, Schiöth HB, Grillo CA, Benedict C. Intranasal insulin in Alzheimer's disease: Food for thought. Neuropharmacology. 2018 Jul 1;136(Pt B):196-201. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2017.11.037. Epub 2017 Nov 24. Review. PubMed PMID: 29180222.

Find Dr. Grillo on Pubmed.

Lab Members

  • Nicholas Maxwell - Graduate Research Student
  • Brittany Eberl - Undergraduate Research Student 
  • Andrei Robu  - Undergraduate Research Student 
  • Daniel Giles - Undergraduate Research Student

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.