Developmental aspects of normal and pathological food related behaviours

The Naneix Lab is investigating 1) how cognitive processes underlying food related behaviours and their neurobiological substrates are changing throughout development, and 2) how nutritional environment may affect these maturation processes and lead to pathological states, especially obesity and other food-related disorders.

Research questions

• How cortico-limbic circuits involved in food-related behaviours mature during childhood and adolescence?

• How the early-life exposure to obesogenic diets (high sugar / high fat) impacts these cortico-limbic circuits?

• How food-related disorders emerge during post-natal development?

• How neuromodulatory systems are impacted by diet exposure during development?

• How diet-related impact on neuromodulatory systems may support alterations in food-related cortico-limbic processes?


Specific behavioural approaches to investigate associative learning (Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning), motivational and hedonic processes.

Oral (e.g. taste) and gastrointestinal (e.g. post-ingestive) influences on food-related brain processes.

Circuit mapping using viral targeting tools and immunohistochemistry.

Ex vivo slice recordings of catecholamine release (fast-scan cyclic voltammetry).

In vivo recordings (fibre photometry, miniscope) and manipulation (chemogenetic, optogenetic) of targeted neuronal circuits and populations.

Funded by:

Royal Society Research Grants (2021-2022; RGS\R1\211013): Maturation and vulnerability of nutrient sensing processes within dopamine circuits.
Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund (2021; ISSF): Adolescent sugar overconsumption programmes poor adult diet via altered dopamine signalling.
Tenovus Scotland Small Pilot Grants (2021-2022; G21.11): How does obesity change food signals to the brain?

%d bloggers like this: