Jonathan Flak, PhD

Assistant Investigator

Joined the IBRI in September 2019

Jonathan Flak

Jonathan Flak, PhD, began setting up his lab in the Lilly Diabetes Center of Excellence at the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) immediately upon arrival. The Flak Lab focuses on studying the central nervous system’s regulation of glucose metabolism as it relates to diabetes.

More specifically, Flak will build on work he began at the University of Michigan that is aimed at distinguishing markers for ventromedial hypothalamic neurons involved in glycemic regulation from the rest of the nucleus, a known brain area critical to balancing glucose, to help determine new targets that may prove important in future therapeutics.

He plans to identify the downstream systems from these subsets of ventromedial hypothalamic neurons to establish the mechanisms of how the brain can tune metabolic function (e.g., energy expenditure, glucose uptake, glucose mobilization).

Prior to establishing his lab at the IBRI, Flak worked in the lab of Martin Myers at the University of Michigan. This project was an outgrowth from his work in this lab, where he began using cre-dependent mouse models and viral systems to study leptin action in the brainstem periaqueductal gray and lateral parabrachial nuclei. His work with Myers led to research published in Nature Neuroscience and the Journal of Clinical Investigation. For a full list of Flak's published research, click here.

Areas of Expertise

  • Energy expenditure
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Neuroscience


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Neuroscience), University of Cincinnati, 2011
  • Bachelor of Science (Biopsychology and Cognitive Science), University of Michigan, 2004

Awards & Certifications

  • Distinguished Reviewer, Diabetes, 2017, 2020
  • Pathway Initiator Award, American Diabetes Association, 2016
  • K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, NID, 2016
  • Postdoctoral Training Award, American Diabetes Association, 2015
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award NIDDK, 2013
  • Training Program in Basic and Translational Digestive Sciences, University of Michigan, 2012
  • Training Program in Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Michigan, 2011

Honorary Societies

  • American Diabetes Association
  • Society for Neuroscience