WesternU Home » Faculty & Staff bios

Ed Wagner, PhD

Professor of Physiology

College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

E-Mail: EWagner@westernu.edu

Phone: 909-469-5239Join 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 – 05/16
  • R15 AREA Grant (R15 DA024314), National Institute on Drug Abuse, 08/08 – 09/16
  • Research Scientist Career Development Award (K01 DA00521), National Institute on Drug Abuse, 09/00 - 08/03


Recent Publications:

  • Mela V, Vargas A, Meza C, Kachani M, Wagner EJ. Modulatory influences of estradiol and other anorexigenic hormones on metabotropic:Gi/O-coupled receptor function in the hypothalamic control of energy homeostasis. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2015 Jul 28. pii: S0960-0760(15)30027-3. doi:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2015.07.014.
  • Borgquist A, Meza C, Wagner EJ. Role of neuronal nitric oxide synthase in the estrogenic attenuation of cannabinoid-induced changes in energy homeostasis. J Neurophysiol. 2015 Feb 1;113(3):904-14. doi: 10.1152/jn.00615.2014. Epub 2014 Nov 12.
  • Borgquist A, Meza C, Wagner EJ. The role of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in the androgenic potentiation of cannabinoid-induced changes in energy homeostasis. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Dec 30:ajpendo.00421.2014. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00421.2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25550281
  • Qiu J, Zhang C, Borgquist A, Nestor CC, Smith AW, Bosch MA, Ku S, Wagner EJ, Rønnekleiv OK, Kelly MJ. Insulin excites anorexigenic proopiomelanocortin neurons via activation of canonical transient receptor potential channels. Cell Metab. 2014 Apr 1;19(4):682-93. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2014.03.004.
  • Borgquist A, Kachani M, Tavitian N, Sinchak K, Wagner EJ. Estradiol negatively modulates the pleiotropic actions of orphanin FQ/nociceptin at proopiomelanocortin synapses. Neuroendocrinology. 2013;98(1):60-72. doi: 10.1159/000351868. Epub 2013 Jul 2.
  • Sinchak K, Wagner EJ. Estradiol signaling in the regulation of reproduction and energy balance. Front Neuroendocrinol. 2012 Oct;33(4):342-63. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2012.08.004. Epub 2012 Sep 7.
  • 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 2012 Jun 12;6:84. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00084.
  • 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 2013;97(2):160-75. doi: 10.1159/000338669.
  • 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.

Click link for addtional articles: