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Physiol Behav. 2017 Jul 1;176:214-216. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.01.042. Epub 2017 Jan 28.

Scientific familial lessons in ingestive behavior research: 2016 Alan N. Epstein research award.

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Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, TRL building, Office 2209, 125 South 31st Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA. Electronic address:


While energy balance is under the control of the central nervous system (CNS), a major source of neural regulation for the behavioral, physiological and endocrine processes governing energy balance originates in the periphery. Indeed, the organs of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, supporting organs of the peritoneal cavity and adipose tissue are the source of numerous neurotransmitter and neuroendocrine signals released from non-neuronal peripheral tissue that signal in a paracrine and endocrine fashion to regulate the physiological and behavioral processes that affect energy balance. Given the ever increasing appreciation that chronic hyperphagia of highly-palatable/rewarding food is a major contributing factor to the obesity epidemic, it is not surprising that the field has increased research efforts focusing on understanding what role peripherally-derived neuroendocrine signals play in modulating food reward and motivated behaviors. Research throughout my career has focused on understanding gut-to-brain communication of relevance to energy balance control. Through very fortuitous opportunities and amazing collaborations, my research program has also expanded widely to include analyses of multiple GI-, pancreatic- and adipose tissue-derived anorectic signals involved in food intake and energy balance control, as well as analyses of higher-order determinants of food reward, nausea, aversion and maladaptive motivated behaviors. I am honored to be the recipient of the 2016 Alan N. Epstein Research Award from the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, and express much appreciation for the amazing collaborations I have had with my mentors, colleagues and trainees.

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