Christopher D. Morrison, Ph.D.

John S. McIlhenny Endowed Professorship in Nutritional Neuroscience
Associate Executive Director of Basic Science

(225) 763-3145
(225) 763-0260
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Ph.D., University of Missouri - Columbia, MO, 2001, Animal Science, Reproductive Physiology and Neuroendocrinology
B.S., Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 1997, Animal Science, Science and Technology Focus


Dr. Morrison has a general research interest in whole animal neuroendocrinology and physiology, especially as applied to the neuronal regulation of feeding behavior, body weight homeostasis, reproduction, growth, and metabolism. Dr. Morrison’s work has recently focused on dietary protein content and its effects on food intake and body weight. Dietary protein restriction significantly alters body composition, metabolism and food intake, but the mechanisms through which protein intake is detected and regulated are largely unknown. Recent work in the Morrison lab has discovered novel pathways contributing to the detection of protein restriction, and in particular has identified the circulating hormone FGF21 as the first known endocrine signal of protein restriction. Ongoing work is focusing on both the mechanism through which dietary protein regulates FGF21 and the mechanisms through which FGF21 coordinates adaptive changes in food intake and metabolism in response to protein restriction. In addition, separate experiments seek to identify novel pathways connecting dietary protein intake to metabolism, feeding behavior and longevity.


Albaugh VL, He Y, Münzberg H, Morrison CD, Yu S, Berthoud HR. Regulation of body weight: Lessons learned from bariatric surgery. Mol Metab, In Press.

Hill CM, Albarado DC, Coco LG, Spann RA, Khan MS, Qualls-Creekmore E, Burk DH, Burke SJ, Collier JJ, Yu S, McDougal DH, Berthoud HR, Münzberg H, Bartke A, Morrison CD. FGF21 is required for protein restriction to extend lifespan and improve metabolic health in male mice. Nat Commun. 13:1897, 2022.

Torres F, Khan S, Fernandez-Kim SO, Spann R, Albarado D, Wagner TJ, Morrison CD, Soto PL. Dynamic effects of dietary protein restriction on body weights, food consumption, and protein preference in C57BL/6J and Fgf21-KO mice. J Exp Anal Behav. 117:346-362, 2022.

Spann RA, Morrison CD, den Hartigh LJ. The Nuanced Metabolic Functions of Endogenous FGF21 Depend on the Nature of the Stimulus, Tissue Source, and Experimental Model. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 12:802541, 2022.

Huesing C, Zhang R, Gummadi S, Lee N, Qualls-Creekmore E, Yu S, Morrison CD, Burk D, Berthoud HR, Neuhuber W, Münzberg H. Organization of sympathetic innervation of interscapular brown adipose tissue in the mouse. J Comp Neurol. 530:1363-1378, 2022.

Khan MS, Spann RA, Münzberg H, Yu S, Albaugh VL, He Y, Berthoud HR, Morrison CD. Nutrients. Protein Appetite at the Interface between Nutrient Sensing and Physiological Homeostasis. Nutrients 13:4103, 2021.

Morrison CD, DuVall MA, Hill CM, Spann RA, McDougal DH. Leptin receptor signaling is required for intact hypoglycemic counterregulation: A study in male Zucker rats. J Diabetes Complications. 35:107994, 2021.

Fang H, Ghosh S, Sims LC, Stone KP, Hill CM, Spires D, Ilatovskaya DV, Morrison CD, Gettys TW, Stadler K. FGF21 prevents low-protein diet-induced renal inflammation in aged mice. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2321:F356-F368. 2021.

Jonsson WO, Margolies NS, Mirek ET, Zhang Q, Linden MA, Hill CM, Link C, Bithi N, Zalma B, Levy JL, Pettit AP, Miller JW, Hine C, Morrison CD, Gettys TW, Miller BF, Hamilton KL, Wek RC, Anthony TG. Physiologic Responses to Dietary Sulfur Amino Acid Restriction in Mice Are Influenced by Atf4 Status and Biological Sex. J Nutr. 151:785-799, 2021.

Huesing C, Qualls-Creekmore E, Lee N, François M, Torres H, Zhang R, Burk DH, Yu S, Morrison CD, Berthoud HR, Neuhuber W, Münzberg H. Sympathetic innervation of inguinal white adipose tissue in the mouse. J Comp Neurol. 529:1465-1485, 2021.

Hill CM, Qualls-Creekmore E, Berthoud HR, Soto P, Yu S, McDougal DH, Münzberg H, Morrison CD. FGF21 and the Physiological Regulation of Macronutrient Preference. Endocrinology 161:bqaa019, 2020.

Berthoud HR, Morrison CD, Münzberg H.The obesity epidemic in the face of homeostatic body weight regulation: What went wrong and how can it be fixed? Physiol Behav. 222:112959, 2020.

Hill CM, Laeger T, Dehner M, Albarado DC, Clarke B, Wanders D, Burke SJ, Collier JJ, Qualls-Creekmore E, Solon-Biet SM, Simpson SJ, Berthoud HR, Münzberg H, Morrison CD. FGF21 Signals Protein Status to the Brain and Adaptively Regulates Food Choice and Metabolism. Cell Rep. 27(10):2934-2947, 2019.

Hill CM, Morrison CD. The Protein Leverage Hypothesis: A 2019 Update for Obesity. Obesity (Silver Spring) 27:1221, 2019.

François M, Torres H, Huesing C, Zhang R, Saurage C, Lee N, Qualls-Creekmore E, Yu S, Morrison CD, Burk D, Berthoud HR, Münzberg H. Sympathetic innervation of the interscapular brown adipose tissue in mouse. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1454:3-13, 2019.

Mumphrey MB, Hao Z, Leigh Townsend R, Qualls-Creekmore E, Yu S, Lutz TA, Münzberg H, Morrison CD, Berthoud HR. Gastric bypass surgery in lean adolescent mice prevents diet-induced obesity later in life. Sci Rep. 9:7881, 2019.

Hill CM, Berthoud HR, Münzberg H, Morrison CD. Homeostatic sensing of dietary protein restriction: A case for FGF21. Front Neuroendocrinol. 51:125-131, 2018.

Hill CM, Laeger T, Albarado DC, McDougal DH, Berthoud HR, Münzberg H, Morrison CD. Low protein-induced increases in FGF21 drive UCP1-dependent metabolic but not thermoregulatory endpoints. Scientific Reports 7:8209, 2017.

Berthoud HR, Münzberg H, Morrison CD. Blaming the Brain for Obesity:Integration of Hedonic and Homeostatic Mechanisms. Gastroenterology 152:1728-1738, 2017.

SM Solon-Biet, VC Cogger, M Heblinski, T Pulpitel, D Wahl, AC McMahon, A Warren, J Durrant-Whyte, KA Walters, F Ponton, K Ruohonen, A Conigrave, D James, D Raubenheimer, CD Morrison, DG Le Couteur, SJ Simpson. Defining the nutritional and metabolic context of FGF21 using the Geometric Framework. Cell Metabolism 24:555-565, 2016.

T Laeger, DC Albarado, SJ Burke, L Trosclair, JW Hedgepeth, HR Berthoud, TW Gettys, JJ Collier, H Münzberg, and CD Morrison. Metabolic responses to dietary protein restriction require an increase in FGF21 that is delayed by the absence of GCN2. Cell Reports 16:707-716, 2016.

CD Morrison and T Laeger. Protein-dependent regulation of feeding and metabolism. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 26:256-62, 2015.

T Laeger, TM Henagan, DC Albarado, LM Redman, GA Bray, RC Noland, H Münzberg, SM Hutson, TW Gettys, MW Schwartz and CD Morrison. FGF21 is an endocrine signal of protein restriction. Journal of Clinical Investigation 124:3913-22, 2014.

HR Berthoud, H Münzberg, BK Richards, CD Morrison. Neural and metabolic regulation of macronutrient intake and selection. Proc Nutr Soc. 3:390-400, 2012.

CD Morrison, SD Reed, TM Henagan. Homeostatic Regulation of Protein Intake: In Search of a Mechanism. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 302:R917-28, 2012.

HR Berthoud and C Morrison. The brain, appetite, and obesity. Annual Reviews of Psychology 59:55-92, 2008.

For a complete list of publications, visit Publons
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