Kristy Townsend

The Townsend Lab is accepting a new Ph.D. student for our NSF-CAREER award, starting Fall 2019 or Spring 2020, to work on a project that investigates adult neural stem cells and neural plasticity in the regulation of energy balance.


  • PhD Neuroscience, Boston University, 2007


Kristy Townsend is Assistant Professor of Neurobiology in the School of Biology and Ecology (SBE) at the University of Maine, cooperating faculty in the School of Food and Agriculture (SFA) and Department of Molecular and Biomedical Science (MBMS), and a faculty member in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering (GSBSE).  Dr. Townsend is currently funded by the American Diabetes Association, the Boston Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (BNORC), and the Boston Area Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (BADERC).  Dr. Townsend is also an Adjunct Faculty at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

Research Interests

The Townsend Lab is interested in how the brain coordinates energy balance and how the central and peripheral nervous systems undergo plasticity.  This research impacts the study of obesity, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, aging, and neurodegenerative diseases.  We utilize both in vitro andin vivo models, in the fields of neurobiology, metabolism & biochemistry, physiology & endocrinology, and cell/molecular biology.  Our work includes the following topics: obesity and body weight regulation; hypothalamic and extra-hypothalamic control of appetite; CNS fuel utilization and energetics; dietary/nutritional effects on energy balance; control of adipose tissue development and function (brown and white adipose tissues); activation of energy expenditure via peripheral nerve activity in adipose depots; adult neural stem cells; neurotrophic factors and neuropathy; and central and peripheral neural plasticity.

Dissertation Students

Magdalena Blaszkiewicz

Gabriel Jensen

Cory Johnson