Professor Tamas Bartfai, Ph.D., focuses on two main research areas: 1) the roles of neuropeptide galanin in depression, anxiety, and seizures; and 2) fever, cytokine action in the brain and thermoregulation. The neuropeptide galanin has been found to influence several physiological processes such as cognition and memory, and regulation of mood. This is achieved at three galanin receptor subtypes that control the release of various neurotransmitters and hormones (e.g., acetylcholine, noradrenaline, glutamate, dopamine, insulin, growth hormone, prolactin).
Despite being among the most common pathophysiological signs of disease, we know little about fever. By studying the actions of fever producing substances, pyrogens in the brain, we are learning about fever, an adaptive stress response to microbial infection and to psychological stress. The center of the fever response is the warm sensitive and pyrogen sensitive neuron that is being characterized in great molecular detail; providing insights into how temperature regulation, metabolic rate and aging are correlated. There is a strong emphasis on the translational aspects of the research. Dr Bartfai has been involved in industry and academia in the development of several drugs that are in clinical use and he brings this angle of investigation to each experiment in the laboratory and the department.