Carlos Campos, PhD
- Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition
- Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition Website: : http://depts.washington.edu/metab/
Carlos Arturo Campos received his PhD in Neuroscience from Washington State University in 2014, where he studied gut-brain mechanisms of appetite control with Dr. Robert Ritter. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Drs. Richard Palmiter and Michael Schwartz at the University of Washington, using mouse transgenic and viral approaches to investigate genetically defined brain pathways involved in feeding behavior, learning, and memory. This research led to several break throughs, including the discovery of a brain locus that transduces visceral sensations into emotions, and the identification of a neural pathway that mediates cancer-induced loss of appetite and malaise. Dr. Campos was recruited by the Department of Medicine and appointed to Assistant Professor in Fall of 2019.
Much of behavior is shaped by the brain predicting changes to physiology – changes related to operating in a volatile environment or resulting directly from planned actions. The beauty of the nervous system lies in part in its complex interacting systems that function to predict these changes, allowing us to live in an ever-changing world while maintaining a calmer, more predictable internal physiology that supports life. Our interdisciplinary research team examines how physiological signals related to internal state interact with other sensory systems to affect learning and memory, the neurological underpinnings of prediction. We study both sensory systems that convey the status of the body to the brain, that innervate internal organs to sense things such as hunger, illness, arousal, as well as those that sense the external world and the quality of the objects within it – for example the feeling of pain or the tastiness of food that motivates approach or avoidance. In studying these systems and the places in the brain where they interact, we hope to discover how we learn to predict changes to our physiology based on associations with our external world. This could involve preemptively lowering glucose levels before consuming a food you know is especially sweet, or avoiding locations that you predict might cause physical discomfort. We hope that in revealing the secrets of how the brain encodes the parts of the world that matter to us that we can help advance our understanding of the complexities of perception, and develop treatments for disorders of physiology, behavior, and affect.