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Graduate Neuroscience Program


Paige Dingess

The factors that contribute to the present obesity epidemic are numerous and diverse in nature. Of considerable relevance is the availability and seemingly uncontrollable overconsumption of palatable food high in fat content. My primary area of interest is in studying the behavioral and neurobiological consequences of prolonged exposure to a high-fat diet in the rodent model, in hopes of identifying neural correlates that promote the development of obesity. Currently, I am using a number of behavioral, histological, and electrophysiological techniques to examine how the consumption of this diet elicits structural and functional plasticity within reward circuitry (primarily prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens) and how these adaptions contribute to maladaptive feeding behaviors. 


Emily Jorgensen

Emily Jorgensen received her Bachelors of Science degrees in Biology and Psychology at Kansas State University in 2016. As an undergraduate student, Emily worked as a research assistant in the Behavioral Neuroscience Animal Research Laboratory under Dr. Mary Cain, studying the role of differential rearing in protection against addiction and relapse to amphetamine. In the same lab, she also examined individual differences in ethanol consumption using ultrasonic vocalizations and novelty/sensation seeking screens. Emily is currently a neuroscience graduate student working under Dr. Travis Brown studying the behavioral and neurobiological aspects of addiction. In Dr. Brown's lab, she will continue to examine underlying contributors to addiction, specifically to cocaine and high-salt diets. 

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