Neurobiology of Feeding Behavior Laboratory

Department of Psychology, Boston College

Lab Director: Gorica D. Petrovich, PhD




Meghana Kuthyar '13 receives funding from a Boston College Undergraduate Research Fellowship to continue her research on fear-context induced short-term anorexia.


Assistant Professor Gorica Petrovich has been awarded the 2012 Alan N. Epstein Research Award from the  Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. This award honors an individual for a specific research discovery that has advanced the understanding of ingestive behavior. The letter of nomination states: “Gorica’s work combines cutting-edge behavioral analyses with high-resolution neuroanatomical techniques to provide unique insights into the way that external cues can influence feeding behavior through learning. This work is of high significance and novelty because it provides a rigorous experimental foundation for understanding how cognitive processes in the telencephalon can interface with circuits in the hypothalamus and hindbrain to control feeding behavior.” Gorica will be travelling to Zurich to accept the award and make a presentation on her research.

Graduate student Christina Reppucci (left) and postdoctoral fellow Sindy Cole (right) joined other members of the Boston College Psychology department on a trip to a local elementary school as part of Brain Awareness Week to educate children about the brain through interactive hands-on activities.


Undergraduate students Meghana Kuthyar '13 (left) and Heather Mayer '12 (right) presented posters about their research during the Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference.



Christina Reppucci and Gorica Petrovich report in their forthcoming paper in Appetite, “Learned food-cue stimulates persistent feeding in sated rats,” that learned cues can repeatedly stimulate binge-like consumption of food regardless of physiological hunger state, and that increased consumption following the cue is uncompensated for in total daily food intake.

Jack Young '13, Jordan Newmark '13, and Josh Hwang '13 begin their full-time summer research positions thanks to funding provided by Boston College Undergraduate Research Fellowships. We also welcome Darren Gens '13 and Trace Fairbaugh '14 to the lab as undergraduate volunteers.


Gorica Petrovich and Sindy Cole (far right image, left) traveled to Zurich, Switzerland to attend the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. Sindy gave a poster presentation and Gorica gave a talk and accepted the 2012 Alan N. Epstein Research Award (presented by Thomas Lutz and Alan Watts).

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We are also pleased to announce that Heather Mayer '12, has returned to the lab as a research assistant after a well-deserved break following her recent graduation.


We are pleased to welcome two new graduate students to the lab, Lauren Anderson (right) and Sara Keefer (left).

Gorica Petrovich traveled to Colorado to attend a FASEB meeting titled: “From Causes to Consequences to Treatment: Obesity in Perspective” where she was an invited speaker.


Assistant Professor Gorica Petrovich has been awarded the 2012 Pavlovian Research Award from the Pavlovian Society.  Established by W. Horsley Gantt, this award honors members (particularly younger members) of the Society for significant research accomplishments. The award consists of a certificate and citation.  Gorica traveled to the annual Pavlovian Society meeting to accept the award (presented by Peter Balsam).

Research paper accepted for publication in Neuroscience, by Petrovich, Hobin, & Reppucci: “Selective Fos induction in hypothalamic orexin/hypocretin, but not melanin-concentrating hormone neurons, by a learned food-cue that stimulates feeding in sated rats”.  This study used a cue-induced feeding paradigm to show that a cue that stimulates binge-like consumption of food in the absence of physiological hunger selectively recruits the orexigenic neuropeptide orexin/hypocretin.


Multiple lab members traveled to New Orleans to attend Neuroscience 2012, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. The lab had a great presence at the meeting showing three posters of our most recent research. Left image: Daniel & Sindy at one of the lab's posters. Right image: Sara, Lauren, Gorica, & Sindy at the Ingestive Behavior Social.