Daniel C. Castro, PhD
Assistant Professor of Radiology
Research Centers:Biophotonics Research Center
Daniel C. Castro, PhD, is an assistant professor of radiology and a principal investigator in the Biophotonics Research Center, based in the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. As an opioid biologist and experimental neuroscientist, Castro’s research focuses on how endogenous opioids modulate affective and motivational neural circuits that control appetitive behaviors. His research program investigates non-canonical mechanisms of action for endogenous opioids in affective neural circuits and peripheral metabolic organs. To achieve this goal, Castro’s lab uses a wide array of advanced neuroscience and optical imaging tools — for example, 3D anatomical mapping — to understand how complex neuropeptides function in endogenous and pathological states, and eventually develop more effective treatments for those suffering from affective or substance use disorders.
Castro earned his doctorate at the University of Michigan, where he studied how various neuropeptides could modulate positively and negatively valenced behaviors throughout the brain. He then began his postdoctoral training at Washington University and later at the University of Washington. During this period, Castro sought to identify one of the primary mechanisms through which opioids act to potentiate motivated behaviors in a brain area called the nucleus accumbens. Additionally, he has contributed to the development of multiple wireless optofluidic technologies for in vivo neuroscience research. Castro is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and he is committed to supporting and advocating for underrepresented groups in his lab, at Washington University and in the greater St. Louis area.
Neurobiology of positive and negative affect, endogenous opioids, ingestive behaviors, metabolism, addiction, wireless technology development for in vivo research, in vivo/deep tissue brain imaging
Link to Publications
International Narcotics Research Conference
Society for Neuroscience
American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Hope Center for Neurological Disorders
Diabetes Research Center