Daniel Castro, PhD

Assistant Professor

Neurosciences Program
Molecular Genetics and Genomics Program
Computational and Systems Biology Program

  • castro.d@wustl.edu

  • @FlanBrain

  • reward, valence, opioid, motivation, metabolism

  • Understanding the role of endogenous opioids in affective neuroscience and metabolic homeostasis

Research Abstract:

The overarching theme of my lab is to understand the role of endogenous opioids in affective
neuroscience and metabolic homeostasis. Within that general interest are specific objectives that serve to guide
expansive research domains, including 1) investigating known affective sites in the brain that control affect
versus motivation (i.e., hedonic hotspots), 2) determining how opioidergic systems in other brain regions alter
behavioral phenotypes with circuit specific and molecular resolution, 3) examining how opioids act as
neuromodulators within complex neurochemical landscapes, 4) Isolating specific functions and mechanisms of
opioids in metabolic organs, and 5) developing new technologies for studying opioid systems.

Selected Publications:

Castro DC, Oswell CS, Zhang ET, Pedersen CE, Piantadosi SC, Rossi MA, Hunker AC, Guglin A, Morón JA, Zweifel LS, Stuber GD, Bruchas MR. An endogenous opioid circuit determines state-dependent reward consumption. Nature. 2021 Oct;598(7882):646-651. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04013-0. Epub 2021 Oct 13. PubMed PMID: 34646022; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8858443.

Zhang Y, Castro DC, Han Y, Wu Y, Guo H, Weng Z, Xue Y, Ausra J, Wang X, Li R, Wu G, Vázquez-Guardado A, Xie Y, Xie Z, Ostojich D, Peng D, Sun R, Wang B, Yu Y, Leshock JP, Qu S, Su CJ, Shen W, Hang T, Banks A, Huang Y, Radulovic J, Gutruf P, Bruchas MR, Rogers JA. Battery-free, lightweight, injectable microsystem for in vivo wireless pharmacology and optogenetics. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Oct 22;116(43):21427-21437. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1909850116. Epub 2019 Oct 10. PubMed PMID: 31601737; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6815115.

Qazi R, Gomez AM, Castro DC, Zou Z, Sim JY, Xiong Y, Abdo J, Kim CY, Anderson A, Lohner F, Byun SH, Chul Lee B, Jang KI, Xiao J, Bruchas MR, Jeong JW. Wireless optofluidic brain probes for chronic neuropharmacology and photostimulation. Nat Biomed Eng. 2019 Aug;3(8):655-669. doi: 10.1038/s41551-019-0432-1. Epub 2019 Aug 5. PubMed PMID: 31384010.

Castro DC, Bruchas MR. A Motivational and Neuropeptidergic Hub: Anatomical and Functional Diversity within the Nucleus Accumbens Shell. Neuron. 2019 May 8;102(3):529-552. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.03.003. Review. PubMed PMID: 31071288; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6528838.

Corder G, Castro DC, Bruchas MR, Scherrer G. Endogenous and Exogenous Opioids in Pain. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2018 Jul 8;41:453-473. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-080317-061522. Epub 2018 May 31. Review. PubMed PMID: 29852083; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6428583.

Castro DC, Berridge KC. Opioid and orexin hedonic hotspots in rat orbitofrontal cortex and insula. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Oct 24;114(43):E9125-E9134. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1705753114. Epub 2017 Oct 9. PubMed PMID: 29073109; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5664503.

Last Updated: 6/22/2022 2:06:11 PM

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