Forrest Shaffer, B.S.

I first came to Washington State University as a student-athlete in cross country and track & field. I became interested in neuroscience when my coach, Dr. Tim Riley who was a Ph.D. student in neuroscience at the time, introduced me to Dr. James Peters. Naturally, as a track & field athlete, I was interested in energy homeostasis, metabolism, and food intake so Dr. Peters’ work caught my attention. During my undergraduate research in this lab, I utilized patch-clamp electrophysiology and fluorescent calcium imaging to help undercover the contribution if thermosensitive TRP channels in the control of neural activation and central glutamate release in the brainstem. Additionally, I sought to characterize how the distribution of TRP channels in primary vagal afferents might provide a point of control to convey sensory signals from visceral organs. After getting my B.S in neuroscience at WSU I decided to stay in the quaint town of Pullman for my graduate work. As I begun to pursue my Ph.D. I immediately became interested in the work of Dr. Karatsoreos. So in order to combine my new-founded interests of circadian rhythms and the “stress system” with my ongoing desire to understand the controls of food intake and energy homeostasis, I accepted joint mentorship with both Dr. Karatsoreos and Dr. Peters. Recently, I have electrophysiologically characterized the effects of the glucocorticoid corticosterone on vagal afferent to NTS signaling. My current research now is focusing on how circadian rhythms within the NTS contribute to the control of food intake. My goal of this research is to gain an understanding to how the potential disruption of interactions between the circadian clock and the neural control of food intake contributes to the progression of obesity and metabolic disorders in modern society. 

Outside the lab, I enjoy running and backpacking in the mountains of the beautiful pacific northwest. I also spend time with my cat Finn. Oh, and playing Nintendo.

Notable Achievements:

Society for Research on Biological Rhythms Travel Award

Pac-12 conference postgraduate scholarship

U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Academic Student-Athlete Award