Alexandra G DiFeliceantonio

Alexandra G DiFeliceantonio, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Assistant Professor, Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Dr. DiFeliceantonio's laboratory at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute, established in Sept. 2019, uses multimodal imaging and metabolic measures to study how the brain integrates peripheral signals to guide food motivation, choice, and eating behavior.

Dr. DiFeliceantonio is an appetitive neuroscience researcher focused on understanding the circuitry underlying both normal and aberrant motivational processes with a focus on diet and food motivation. During her graduate work with Dr. Kent Berridge at the University of Michigan, she worked on the role of opioids in animal models of intense motivation. Her postdoctoral training in using fMRI techniques to study food motivation was performed in the laboratories of Dr. Dana Small at Yale University and Dr. Marc Titgemeyer at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, where she used both PET and fMRI techniques to examine at the role of post-ingestive dopamine signaling in food reward and reinforcement.

For a more complete listing of Dr. DiFeliceantonio's publications, visit PubMed.

Education and Training

  • University of Michigan: Ph.D. , Psychology, Biospsychology
  • Sweet Briar College: B.S. , Psychology

Previous Positions

  • Yale University Associate Research Scientist, Department of Psychiatry
  • Icahn School of Medicine Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Neuroscience
  • Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, Translational Neurocircuitry

Selected Publications

Thanarajah SE, Backes H, DiFeliceantonio AG, Albus K, Cremer AL, Hanssen R, Lippert RN, Cornely OA, Small DM, BrĂ¼ning JC, Tittgemeyer M. (2019). Food Intake Recruits Orosensory and Post-ingestive Dopaminergic Circuits to Affect Eating Desire in Humans. Cell Metab 29(3): 695-706.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.12.006.

Small DM, DiFeliceantonio AG. (2019). Processed foods and food reward. Science 363(6425): 346-347. doi: 10.1126/science.aav0556.

DiFeliceantonio AG, Coppin G, Rigoux L, Edwin Thanarajah S, Dagher A, Tittgemeyer M, Small DM. (2018). Supra-Additive Effects of Combining Fat and Carbohydrate on Food Reward. Cell Metab 28(1): 33-44.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.05.018.