Amber L. Alhadeff



Assistant Member, Monell Chemical Senses Center
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania


Ph.D., Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

Research Summary

What controls hunger? How do we know when we are full? And how does what we eat influence our brain activity? Maintaining balance between nutrient need and consumption requires exquisite coordination between the gut and the brain.

The Alhadeff Lab is interested in understanding how gut-brain connections, and activity across circuits in the brain, influence motivated behavior. Our research employs a combination of modern neuroscience tools and surgical approaches to understand how external stimuli (e.g. food and drugs) affect in vivo neural activity, and how this brain activity drives behavior.


neuroscience, gut-brain signaling, food intake, reward, calcium imaging, behavior, obesity

Representative Publications

Alhadeff AL, Goldstein N, Park O, Klima ML, Vargas A, Betley JN. (2019) Natural and Drug Rewards Engage Distinct Pathways that Converge on Coordinated Hypothalamic and Reward Circuits. Neuron, 103, 891-908.e6.

Alhadeff AL, Su Z, Hernandez E, Klima ML, Phillips SZ, Holland RA, Guo C, Hantman AW, De Jonghe BC, Betley JN. (2018) A Neural Circuit for the Suppression of Pain by a Competing Need State. Cell, 173, 140-152.e15.

Alhadeff AL, Holland RA, Zheng H, Rinaman L, Grill HJ, De Jonghe BC. (2017) Excitatory Hindbrain-Forebrain Communication Is Required for Cisplatin-Induced Anorexia and Weight Loss. J Neurosci, 37, 362-370.

Alhadeff AL, Mergler BD, Zimmer DJ, Turner CA, Reiner DJ, Schmidt HD, Grill HJ, Hayes MR. (2017) Endogenous Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Signaling in the Nucleus Tractus Solitarius is Required for Food Intake Control. Neuropsychopharmacology, 42, 1471-1479.

Su Z, Alhadeff AL, Betley JN. (2017) Nutritive, Post-ingestive Signals Are the Primary Regulators of AgRP Neuron Activity. Cell Rep, 21, 2724-2736.

Contact Information

(267) 519-4870