WesternU Home » Faculty & Staff bios

Ed Wagner, PhD

Associate Professor of Physiology

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

E-Mail: EWagner@westernu.edu

Phone: 909-469-5239 | Join year: September 2001


Dual Ph.D. Pharmacology & Toxicology / Neuroscience, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 1994
B.S., in Psychobiology, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, 1986
Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, CA, 1983

Education Experience

Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Physiology & Pharmacology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR, 1994-98

Teaching Experience

Associate Professor, Western University of Health Sciences, COMP, Pomona, CA, 2005-present
Assistant Professor, Western University of Health Sciences, COMP, Pomona, CA, 2001-2005
Visiting Professor (Adjunct), Department of Neurobiology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, 2001-2010
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR, 1998-2001


Gastrointestinal Physiology
Reproductive Physiology
Regulatory Neurobiology – Synaptic Integration in the Hypothalamus: The GnRH Neuronal System
Endocrine Physiology
Molecular and Cellular Basis of Medicine Physiology

Research Interest

My research interests focus on how cannabinoids regulate the hypothalamic feeding circuitry to affect changes in feeding behavior and energy homeostasis in male and female subjects, and how gonadal steroids modulate this interaction. I use state-of-the-art instrumentation to assess cannabinoid-induced changes in daily and hourly food intake, as well as meal size, frequency and duration, core body temperature and weight gain/loss, and how these changes correlate with alterations in neurotransmitter release and cell excitability at anorexigenic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) synapses within the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus. I recently have discovered that males are much more sensitive to the appetite-modulating properties of CB1 receptor agonists and antagonists than females, which correlates with marked sex differences in the pre- and post synaptic actions of cannabinoids at POMC synapses. These findings indicate that gender should be taken into account when considering the use of cannabinoids in the treatment of HIV/AIDS- or cancer-related cachexia, or obesity.

Research Grant

  • R01 Grant (Co-PI Wagner), National Institute on Child Health and Development, 06/09 – 05/14
  • R15 AREA Grant (R15 DA024314), National Institute on Drug Abuse, 08/08 – 07/11
  • Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01 DA00521), National Institute on Drug Abuse, 09/00 - 08/03


Recent Publications:

  • Viveros MP, Mendrek A, Paus T, Lopez-Rodriguez AB, Marco EM, Yehuda R, Cohen H, Lehrner A, Wagner EJ: A comparative, developmental, and clinical perspective of neurobehavioral sexual dimorphisms. Frontiers in Neuroscience (in press).
  • Washburn N, Borgquist A, Wang K, Jeffery GS, Kelly MJ, Wagner EJ: Receptor subtypes and signal transduction mechanisms contributing to the estrogenic attenuation of cannabinoid-induced changes in energy homeostasis. Neuroendocrinology (in press).
  • Viveros MP, Bermudez-Silva FJ, Lopez-Rodriguez AB and Wagner EJ. The Endocannabinoid System as Pharmacological Target Derived from Its CNS Role in Energy Homeostasis and Reward. Applications in Eating Disorders and Addiction. Pharmaceuticals 2011, 4(8), 1101-1136; doi:10.3390/ph4081101.
  • Viveros MP, Marco E, Lopez-Gallardo M, Garcia-Segura LM and Wagner EJ. Framework for sex differences in adolescent neurobiology: A focus on cannabinoids. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 2011, 35 (8), pp. 1740-1751.
  • Jeffery GS, Peng KC and Wagner EJ. The role of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase and AMP-activated kinase in the rapid estrogenic attenuation of cannabinoid-induced changes in energy homeostasis. Pharmaceuticals 2011, 4 (4), pp. 630-651.
  • Roepke TA, Bosch MA, Rick EA, Lee B, Wagner EJ, Seidlova-Wuttke D, Wuttke W, Scanlan TS, Rønnekleiv OK and Kelly MJ. Contribution of a Membrane Estrogen Receptor to the Estrogenic Regulation of Body Temperature and Energy Homeostasis. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010 Sep;95(9):4476.
  • Farhang B, Pietruszewski L, Lutfy K and Wagner EJ. The role of the NOP receptor in regulating food intake, meal pattern, and excitability of proopiomelanocortin neurons. Neuropharmacology. 2010 Sep;59(3):190-200.
  • Kellert BA, Nguyen MC, Nguyen C, Nguyen QH and Wagner EJ. Estrogen Rapidly Attenuates Cannabinoid-Induced Changes in Energy Homeostasis. Eur J Pharmacol. 2009 Nov 10;622(1-3):15-24.
  • Farhang B, Diaz S, Tang SL and Wagner EJ. Sex differences in the cannabinoid regulation of energy homeostasis. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2009 Dec;34 Suppl 1:S237-46.
  • Diaz S, Farhang B, Hoien J, Stahlman M, Adatia N, Cox JM and Wagner EJ. Sex differences in the cannabinoid modulation of appetite, body temperature and neurotransmission at POMC synapses. Neuroendocrinology. 2009; 89(4):424-40.
  • Ho J, Cox JM and Wagner EJ. Cannabinoid-induced hyperphagia correlates with inhibition of proopiomelanocortin neurons. Physiology and Behavior. 2007; 92: 507-519.
  • Nguyen QH and Wagner EJ. Estrogen differentially modulates the cannabinoid-induced presynaptic inhibition of amino acid neurotransmission in proopiomelanocortin neurons of the arcuate nucleus. Neuroendocrinology. 2006; 84(2):123-37.
  • Tang SL, Tran V and Wagner EJ. Sex Differences in the Cannabinoid Modulation of an A-type K+ Current in Neurons of the Mammalian Hypothalamus. J Neurophysiol. 2005 Oct;94(4):2983-6.

Click link for addtional articles: