Nilay Yapici, Ph.D.

2017 Pew Biomedical Scholars
Assistant Professor
Neurobiology and Behavior
Cornell University
215 Tower Road
Mudd Hall W263
City, State, ZIP
Ithaca, NY 02138
(646) 202-3557
[email protected]
Research field
Award year


My lab studies the neural circuits that regulate hunger sensation and food intake. When we are hungry, we eat. But what produces the feeling of hunger—and why do we consume more after fasting than we do when we are full? As a postdoctoral fellow, I identified a dozen neurons that control how fruit flies respond to a meal. These neurons are activated in fasted flies as they ingest sugar water and decrease in activity when the flies become full. Now, using an array of techniques in genetics, engineering, neurophysiology, and behavior, I will identify the neurons that feed information to these “regulators of ingestion” and characterize the cellular and molecular connections that allow them to process information about hunger and satiety to induce feeding. Further, I will use advanced imaging methods to monitor the neural activity across the entire brain of flies, both hungry and sated, as they make decisions about food—work that could lead to new therapies for obesity and other eating disorders.

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