Nilay Yapici, assistant professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in The College of Arts & Sciences and a Nancy and Peter Meinig Family Investigator, recently received a $2 million grant to fund her research on taste perception and hunger in the neural system.
The award came from the National Institutes of Health’s Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) grant, specifically funding new and early stage investigations. These grants support basic research that aims to increase knowledge of biological processes and lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention. NIGMS supports diversity and research integrity in the professional support and training of grant recipients.
The Yapici Lab focuses on how animals make behavioral decisions by integrating physiologic states with external stimuli and how these decisions are regulated by organisms.
The lab’s newest research project analyzes the process of food intake using a fly, Drosophila melanogaster, as a genetic model organism to evaluate the question of how taste perception and hunger sensation is integrated into the organism’s neural system at the level of genes, cells, and circuits.
“This in-depth knowledge of how the brain regulates eating is currently lacking,” Yapici said. “Our proposed research in the long term may yield exciting new insights as to how the brain controls food intake and help to reveal shared genetic substrates and circuit principles that inform therapeutic strategies for obesity and eating disorders.”