Christian Burgess, PhD

Assistant Professor, Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Assistant Research Professor, Michigan Neuroscience Institute

109 Zina Pitcher, BSRB 5053

Ann Arbor, MI 48109



Dr. Burgess received his BSc and PhD from the University of Toronto in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology. After postdoctoral studies at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, he joined the faculty of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Burgess also holds an appointment in the Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute.

Areas of Interest

Our lab focuses on the neural circuitry underlying learning and behavior. We are specifically interested in how motivation-, arousal-, and feeding-related circuits can modulate higher-order brain areas and their responses to salient, learned cues in the environment.

We use a combination of techniques and approaches to map neural circuits in mice, including neuroanatomy, behavior, optogenetics, and in vivo calcium imaging. The goal is to identify specific neuronal projections, record their activity during motivated behaviors & learning, and manipulate their activity to demonstrate a functional role in behavior. We are currently interested in how specific hunger and sleep promoting circuits in the hypothalamus can facilitate learning of, and appropriate responses to, motivationally relevant sensory cues.

Honors & Awards

  • University of Michigan Biological Sciences Scholars Program 2018


  • Ph.D., University of Toronto, 2012

Published Articles or Reviews

  • Christian Burgess, Yoav Livneh, Rohan Ramesh, and Mark Andermann. 2018. Gating of visual processing by homeostatic need. Current Opinion in Neurobiology (49): 13-18.
  • Yoav Livneh, Rohan Ramesh, Christian Burgess, Kirsten Levandowski, Joseph Madara, Henning Fenselau, Glenn Goldey, Nick Jikomes, Jon Resch, Veronica Diaz, Bradford Lowell, and Mark Andermann. 2017. Homeostatic circuits selectively gate food cue responses in insular cortex. Nature (546): 611-616.
  • Alastair Garfield*, Bhavik Shah*, Christian Burgess*, Monica Li*,Chia Li, Jennifer Steger, Joseph Madara, John Campbell, Daniel Kroeger, Thomas Scammell, Bakhos Tannous, Martin Myers Jr, Mark Andermann, Michael Krashes and Bradford Lowell.  2016. Dynamic GABAergic afferent modulation of AgRP neurons. Nature Neuroscience (19): 1628-1635.
  • Christian Burgess*, Rohan Ramesh*, Arthur Sugden, Kirsten Levandowski, Margaret Minnig, Henning Fenselau, Bradford Lowell, and Mark Andermann. 2016. Hunger dependent enhancement of food cue responses in mouse postrhinal cortex and amygdala. Neuron (91): 1-16.
  • Yael Mandelblat-Cerf*, Rohan Ramesh*, Christian Burgess*, Paola Patella, Zongfang Yang, Bradford Lowell, Mark Andermann. 2015. Arcuate hypothalamic AgRP and putative POMC neurons show opposite changes in spiking across multiple timescales. eLife 4: e07122.
  • Christian Burgess and John Peever. 2013. A noradrenergic mechanism functions to couple motor behavior with arousal state. Current Biology 23(18): 1719–1725.

Additional Publications in Pubmed


Web Sites