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Creativity needs some serendipity: Reflections on a career in ingestive behavior
- Rolls, Barbara J.
- Physiology & behavior 2016 v.162 pp. 186-195
- adults, animal models, children, diet study techniques, drinking, energy density, food quality, healthy diet, humans, medicine, obesity, portion size, rats, satiety, scientists, thirst, England, Pennsylvania
- I describe my 50year career in ingestive behavior in the hope of inspiring young scientists to join in the excitement of discovering why animals, especially the human animal, eat and drink. My interest in ingestive behavior started by chance in a freshman biology class at the University of Pennsylvania taught by Alan Epstein. Once I was exposed to the thrill of doing research my plans for medical school were abandoned and I traveled to the University of Cambridge in England where with James Fitzsimons I completed a Ph.D. in physiology on studies of thirst in rats. After I moved on to the University of Oxford, the early training in biologic mechanisms provided a good basis for studies in humans. We characterized the sensations associated with thirst and the mechanisms involved in its initiation and termination. We also continued to work with animal models in a series of studies of dietary obesity. The effect of dietary variety on rat's intake led to studies of sensory-specific satiety in humans. In recent years the primary interest of my lab has been how food properties affect intake, satiety, and body weight. At the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and now at The Pennsylvania State University, we have conducted systematic studies of the effects of the macronutrients, variety, portion size, and energy density in both adults and children. Currently our research aims to understand how to leverage the robust effects of variety, portion size, and energy density to encourage healthy eating and drinking. Throughout my career I have been lucky to have been in supportive environments surrounded by creative, insightful, and diligent colleagues.