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Alexandra G. DiFeliceantonio, PhD

Assistant Professor
  • Associate Director, Center for Health Behaviors Research
  • Graduate Program Faculty
Alex DiFeliceantonio
4 Riverside Circle
Roanoke, VA 24016

How our brains influence food preference

Why do we crave certain foods?

Alexandra DiFeliceantonio, Ph.D., is an appetitive neuroscientist who studies how the brain integrates peripheral signals to guide food selection and eating behaviors. Using multimodal brain imaging and metabolic measures, her laboratory in Roanoke studies food motivation to ask new questions about diet, food choice, and addiction. 

While completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Sweet Briar College, she became interested in reward learning and motivation. This led her to pursue a master’s degree and doctorate in biopsychology from the University of Michigan, where she studied how opioids alter motivation in animal models. During her postdoctoral training at Yale University and the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Germany, Dr. DiFeliceantonio examined the role of post-ingestive dopamine signaling in eating behavior and food choices.

Dr. DiFeliceantonio's complete biography page

  • Assistant Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
  • Associate Director, Center for Health Behaviors Research
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • University of Michigan: Ph.D., Psychology, Biospsychology
  • Sweet Briar College: B.S., Psychology

"Commonly abused drugs all increase dopamine release in the striatum, a brain region that we’re learning is also activated when people ingest certain foods."