Postdoctoral Fellow, Monell Chemical Senses Center
Ph.D., Neuroscience, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Dr. Amber Alhadeff
A primary reason we eat is to fulfill a homeostatic need to obtain calories and alleviate the aversive experience of hunger. However, eating also occurs because it is pleasurable and rewarding, even when we don’t physiologically need the calories. I am interested in understanding how signaling in homeostatic and reward centers of the brain drives these two distinct motivators of feeding behavior. Further, I am interested in exploring how individual differences in feeding behavior and obesity are mediated by the influence of gut-brain communication on sensory processing and learning about food-related cues. To this end, I combine in vivo neural activity monitoring with state-of-the-art gut and brain manipulations to investigate how homeostatic and reward systems influence feeding behavior and motivation.
food intake, reward, gut-brain axis, learning, obesity, biosensor imaging
Keefer SE, Bacharach SZ, Kochli DE, Chabot J, Calu DJ. (2020). Effects of limited and extended Pavlovian training on devaluation sensitivity in sign- and goal-tracking rats. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. 2020 February 4. DOI: 10.3389/fnbeh.2020.00003.
Bacharach SZ, Calu DJ. (2019). Stability of individual differences in sucralose taste preference. PLOS One. 2019 May 14; 14(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216431.
Bacharach SZ, Nasser HM, Zlebnik NE, Dantrassy HM, Cheer JF, Calu DJ. (2018). Cannabinoid receptor-1 signaling contributions to sign-tracking and conditioned reinforcement in rats. Psychopharmacology. 2018 August 14; 235(10). DOI:10.1007/s00213-018-4993-6.