Claudio Perez-Leighton

Ph.D. 2012

Thesis Title:

Role of the orexin peptides in individual sensitivity to diet-induced obesity

Current Position:

Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition,
University of Minnesota

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

Universidad catolica de Chile - Biochemistry, 2006

Major Advisor(s):

Catherine Kotz, Ph.D.

Research Description:

I am interested in the link between neural function and behavior. My current research focus in the role of the receptors for the orexin peptides in the development of obesity.

Lab Rotations:

  • Harry Orr
  • Mark Thomas
  • Paul Mermelstein

Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:

  • STAT 5303 - Design and Analysis of Experiments
  • CSCI 5481 - Computational Techniques in Genomics
  • PUBH 6450 - Biostatistics I

Graduate Level Minor:

  • Bioinformatics

Committee Members:

  • Catherine Kotz - Advisor
  • William Engeland - Chair
  • Charles Billington
  • Esam El-Fakahany


  • Perez-Leighton CE, Grace M, Billington CJ, Kotz CM. Role of spontaneous physical activity in prediction of susceptibility to activity based anorexia in male and female rats. Physiol Behav. 2014 Aug;135:104-11.
  • Perez-Leighton CE, Boland K, Teske JA, Billington C, Kotz CM. Behavioral responses to orexin, orexin receptor gene expression and intrinsic physical activity contribute to individual sensitivity to obesity. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jul 24.
  • Kotz C, Nixon J, Butterick T, Perez-Leighton C, Teske J, Billington C. Brain orexin promotes obesity resistance. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012 Aug;1264(1):72-86.
  • Perez-Leighton CE, Butterick-Peterson TA, Billington CJ, Kotz CM. Role of orexin receptors in obesity: from cellular to behavioral evidence. Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Mar 6.
  • Perez-Leighton CE, Schmidt TM, Abramowitz J, Birnbaumer L, Kofuji P. Intrinsic phototransduction persists in melanopsin-expressing ganglion cells lacking diacylglycerol-sensitive TRPC subunits. Eur J Neurosci. 2011 Mar;33(5):856-67.
  • Tang X, Schmidt TM, Perez-Leighton CE, Kofuji P. Inwardly rectifying potassium channel Kir4.1 is responsible for the native inward potassium conductance of satellite glial cells in sensory ganglia. Neuroscience. 2010 Mar 17;166(2):397-407
  • Blanco E, Rojas R, Haeger P, Cuevas R, Perez C, Munita R, Quiroz G, Andrés ME, Forray MI, Gysling K. Intron retention as an alternative splice variant of the rat urocortin 1 gene. Neuroscience. 2006 140(4):1245-52.

Conferences Attended and Presentations:

  • Society For Neuroscience - 2006, 2009

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Neuroscience

Awards and Honors:

  • Fulbright-Conicyt Scholarship for Graduate Studies 2006

Home Town:

  • Santiago - Chile
Claudio Perez-Leighton