The Domingos laboratory researches neuroimmune mechanisms underlying obesity. They discovered neuro-adipose junctions, between white adipocytes and sympathetic neurons, that are necessary and sufficient for fat mass reduction via norepinephrine (NE) signalling. Moreover, they discovered Sympathetic neuron-
Associated Macrophages (SAMs) that import and metabolize NE. Abrogation of SAM function promotes long-term amelioration of obesity independently of food intake. These findings inspired the development of a new class of anti-obesity compounds named sympathofacilitators, which do not enter the brain, nor have the typical cardiovascular side effects of centrally acting sympathomimetic drugs. Sympathofacilitator drugs act as an energy sink by coupling thermogenesis to active heat dissipation.
Ana Domingos is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford, and a Tutor of Medicine at Lady Margaret Hall. She is a member of the advisory board of Cell Metabolism and is a member of the board of reviewing editors at eLife. Her lab has been funded by HHMI, Wellcome Trust, ERC, HFSP, EMBO among other.