Meet the Speakers
The taste of childhood
Long before their first taste of food, human babies already prefer certain tastes to others. While some of these inclinations are biologically hardwired through a combination of genetics and evolution, our flavor preferences are shaped by our environments, particularly the diets of our mothers. Science is showing how the flavors of the diet of mothers transmits to and flavors amniotic fluid and mother’s milk, and how these early experiences go on to shape what is a preferred flavor.
Why you’re going to eat junk food after that beer: The role of limbic neuropeptides in intake of ethanol and palatable food
After we’ve had a few drinks, why do we eat junk food, instead of going for healthier options? One reason is that some molecules in the emotional parts of our brain interact with alcohol, dietary fat, and sugars as if they are the same substance and, evolutionarily, we have needed to eat a lot of high calorie foods in order to store energy. My research focuses on these molecules, called neuropeptides, and how they act in the hypothalamus and thalamus to make us eat and drink more than we should.