Hentges Lab

Dr. Shane Hentgesā€™s research focuses on the neurobiology of energy balance and opioid actions. She has a particular interest in determining the potential for manipulating the endogenous opioid and metabolic circuitry to provide better approaches to treat eating disorders, pain and addiction.

Research activities in the Hentges lab range from whole-animal studies to single-molecule work in an attempt to elucidate mechanisms underlying mood and behavior and the link between physiologic state and motivation. Past work has identified transmitters and neural pathways used by hypothalamic neurons that provide a critical link between energy state and motivated behaviors. Ongoing studies are aimed at developing strategies to treat opioid use disorder and identify therapeutic targets for eating disorders. Approaches in the lab often utilize transgenic and knockout mouse lines and patch clamp electrophysiology, labeling studies and behavioral assays.

research project

Circuitry of the endogenous opioid and melanocortin system as related to pain, reward and obesity

research project

Peptide and amino acid transmitters from POMC neurons and their roles in energy balance and reward

research project

Targeting the mu opioid receptor to treat opioid use disorder


GABAergic inputs to POMC neurons originating from the dorsomedial hypothalamus are regulated by energy state.
Rau AR, Hentges ST
J Neurosci (2019). 14;39(33):6449-6469

Temporal dependence of shifts in mu opioid receptor mobility at the mu opioid receptor after agonist binding observed by single-particle tracking.
Metz MJ, Pennock RL, Krapf D, Hentges ST
Sci Rep (2019). 13;9(1):7297

Various transgenic mouse lines to study proopiomelanocortin cells in the brainstem label disparate populations of GABAergic and glutamatergic neurons.
Rau AR, Hughes AR, Hentges ST
Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol (2018). 315(1):144-55

Differential desensitization observed at multiple effectors of somatic mu opioid receptors underlies sustained agonist-mediated inhibition of proopiomelanocortin neuron activity
Fox PD, Hentges ST
J Neurosci (2017). 37(36):8667-77

The relevance of AgRP-neuron-derived GABA inputs to POMC neurons differs for spontaneous and evoked release.
Rau AR, Hentges ST
J Neurosci (2017). 37(31):7362-72

more publications


Chrystina Crown

Undergraduate Research Fellow

Shane Hentges, PhD

Lab Principle Investigator (PI), Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences

Office: (970) 491-8806


Aspen Turner

Undergraduate Research Fellow