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We investigate neuroimmune molecular mechanisms underlying obesity.

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 a member of the advisory board of Cell Metabolism and her lab has been funded by HHMI, Wellcome Trust, ERC, HFSP, EMBO, among others.


© Guttenplan, Kevin A. et al. (2018) Play It Again, SAM: Macrophages Control Peripheral Fat Metabolism, Trends in Immunology, and Conor A. Bradley (2017). Specialized macrophages contribute to obesity. Nature Reviews Endocrinology. 


© Lady Margaret Hall / Dominik Osvald /

Our team

Recent publications


Yitao Zhu awarded Goodger and Schorstein scholarship

Congratulations are in order to Yitao Zhu on winning a Goodger and Schorstein Award from the Medical Sciences Internal Fund.

Old and “hangry” monocytes turn from friend to foe under assault

Professor Ana Domingos and DPhil student Conan O’Brien review a new study demonstrating that fasting and re-feeding causes monocytes to re-enter the bone marrow and alter the body's response to infection.

Updating the circuit maps of the sympathetic neural network

A new review from Professor Ana Domingos’ lab and colleagues offers a fresh modern viewpoint on sympathetic neurons and their relation to immune cells and obesity.

Related research themes

We host a number of internationally recognised neuroscience groups, with expertise in a wide range of experimental and computational methods.

We host a number of internationally recognised ...

We use the full range of modern molecular genetic and imaging techniques to study a range of metabolic areas.
Metabolism & Endocrinology

We use the full range of modern molecular genetic ...

We play a leading role in the development of more efficient and cost-effective sequencing technologies.
Functional Genomics

We play a leading role in the development of more ...