About

We are the Eating Behaviour Research Group and we are based in the School of Psychology, University of Birmingham.

higgs-suzanne

Prof. Suzanne Higgs (Professor of Psychobiology of Appetite): I have a degree in Psychology, Physiology and Philosophy from Oxford University. My PhD work was conducted at the University of Durham on the psychopharmacology of appetite under the supervision of Steve Cooper. I completed post doctoral work at Oxford University on the neural bases of learning and memory with Nicholas Rawlins and Susan Greenfield and was then appointed to a lectureship in psychology at the University of Birmingham. My current position is Professor in the Psychobiology of Appetite. am interested in psychobiological influences on appetite, in particular the role of learning and memory in eating behaviour and drug taking and the potential role of these factors in the development of obesity and drug addiction. We ask questions about how memory for recently consumed foods affects decisions about future food intake and the factors that determine remembered liking for foods. We are also interested in social influences on eating. This work has been funded by the ESRC, BBSRC, Leverhulme Trust, MRC and Alcohol Education Research Council. Email: s.higgs.1@bham.ac.uk

spetter3Dr Maartje Spetter (Research Fellow): I have a BSc and MSc from Maastricht University (UM), the Netherlands in Health Sciences (nowadays Biomedical Sciences), specialising in Metabolism and Nutrition. During my Masters I gained extra research experience as a Research Assistant in the department of Human Biology at the UM, and did an internship at the Universidad de Navarra, Spain in the department of Nutrition and Physiology. I completed my PhD at the Image Sciences Institute at Utrecht University, in cooperation with Wageningen University, the Netherlands. In the Nutritional Neuroscience Lab I worked on functional neuroimaging of satiation and satiety, and had a closer look at the effects of taste, and flavour perception on food intake and related neural responses. Additionally, for a graduate exchange, I conducted research focusing on odour perception in the human brain at the department of Neuropsychology and Physiology of Flavor and Feeding at Yale University and the John B. Pierce Laboratory, USA. Following my PhD I moved to Germany to work as a post-doc in the Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, at the University of Tübingen. Here I focused on oxytocin administration and its effect on neural responses in relation to eating behaviour, and worked on an EU-project were we investigated self-regulation of brain networks related to eating behaviour (BrainTrain F7 EU-project). Currently I am a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, and mainly work on a BBSRC funded project which investigates the interactions between metabolic, cognitive and reward processes in appetite. I am interested in the interplay between metabolic signals, higher cognitive functions and food reward processes, with a special interest in related neural responses and networks. Email: m.s.spetter@bham.ac.uk
 

Leonie_pasfotoLeonie Balter (Doctoral Researcher)At present I am a PhD student looking at the effects of inflammation. To tackle this question, I will study states related to low-grade inflammation including obesity, healthy ageing and chronic diseases. I will combine these lines of research with an experimental model of inflammation, which provides a valuable tool for studying purely inflammation-driven effects. I developed my interests in the health-related field during my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in (Biological) Psychology and Neuropsychology at Maastricht University. After that I did a second Master’s degree in Nutrition and Health at Wageningen University. As part of these degrees, I did a couple of research internships in which I looked at the effects of several food components on health-related factors such as intestinal barrier function and innate immunity and how reward sensitivity modulates brain reward responses. If you have any questions or ideas, feel free to contact me. Email: lxb454@bham.ac.uk

Untitled1Panagiota Kaisari (Doctoral Researcher): I studied Nutrition & Dietetics at Harokopio University of Athens, Greece and after my graduation in 2009 I started my Master studies at the same University, specializing in Clinical Nutrition. During my Master studies, I had been a research associate in the project ‘’Management of overweight and obesity in children’’ which was undertaken in collaboration with the University of Athens Medical School and the Harokopio University. Also, from 2010 to 2012 I was the dietitian in charge of treating adolescents with eating disorders at the Center for Adolescent Medicine, at the Children’s Hospital ‘’Aghia Sophia’’ in Athens, which hosts the UNESCO Chair for ‘’Adolescent Health Care’’ and it is a tertiary unit that serves adolescents aged 11-21 years from all over the country. In September of 2013 I started my PhD research at the University of Birmingham on the psychobiology of appetite under the supervision of Dr. Suzanne Higgs. I am interested in examining the physiological and psychological drivers of eating behaviour and the interaction of hedonic and homeostatic systems in appetite regulation. I am particularly interested in the role of learning, attention, memory and generally cognition in food choice, food intake, dietary control and the potential role of these factors in the development of disordered eating behaviors (i.e. anorexia nervosa, obesity). I am also interested in the application of this knowledge to the development of new therapeutic approaches to manage obesity and other disordered eating behaviors and interventions to promote health-related behaviours. My PhD research is funded by the BBSRC. Email: pxk368@bham.ac.uk 

Jinyu Liu

Jinyu Liu (Doctoral Researcher): I conducted my undergraduate studies in Psychology at the University of York. I received my Master Degree in Psychological Approaches to Health from University of Leeds. I previously worked as a research assistant in the field of health psychology. I am now working on research topics involving the social context and culture influence on food consumption in a psychological perspective at University of Birmingham. My PhD research particularly focuses on the role of social norm messages and culture influences in food intake and food choice. Email: jxl387@bham.ac.uk 

 Angela MeadowsAngela Meadows (Doctoral Researcher): I have a first class BSc in Biological Sciences from the University of Wollongong, Australia, and a Masters in Weight Management from the University of Chester.  I have a Postgraduate Diploma in Science Communication from Birkbeck College, University of London, and I am passionate about bringing science to the non-scientific lay public. I blog about weight stigma and obesity science and I am a contributor to a number of sites, including Huffington Post UK, and I am frequently interviewed for press and television stories on these subjects. I am a practitioner of Health At Every Size (HAES)®, a member of HAES UK and the Association of Size Diversity and Health, and I have spoken about HAES and weight science at national and international seminars. I am also a qualified personal trainer and pilates instructor and, in a previous existence, delivered nutrition and exercise programmes within an NHS setting. I am interested in people’s perceptions of themselves as being addicted to certain foods, such as chocolate or crisps. I am particularly interested in whether self-perceived food addiction is mediated by the effects of societal anti-fat bias and weight-loss dieting, rather than by the pleasure and reward pathways as in most clinical addictions. Email: axm583@bham.ac.uk

 

Master-students

Greta Ontrup Project: Email: G.Ontrup@bham.ac.uk

Nadin Smaili  Project: Effect of social information on memory and appetite Email: N.Smaili@bham.ac.uk

Lisa Harms Project: Effect of social information on memory and appetite Email: L.Harms@bham.ac.uk

Evie Bradbury Project: Effect of consumption on cognitive processes Email: ESB696@student.bham.ac.uk

Ifeoma Egbuniwe Project: Effect of consumption on cognitive processes Email: IAE681@student.bham.ac.uk