Dana Small, PhD

Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Professor of Psychology; Deputy Director and Fellow, The John B Pierce Laboratory

Departments & Organizations

Psychiatry: Center for Nicotine and Tobacco Use Research at Yale (CENTURY) | Connecticut Mental Health Center | Neuroscience Research Training Program (NRTP) | Stress & Addiction Clinical Research Program | Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science

Faculty Research

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program

Obesity Research Working Group

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Neuroscience: Behavioral and Systems; Drug Abuse; Neuroimaging; Sensory Systems

Office of Cooperative Research


My primary research interests relate to oral sensory perception and the role of the gut-brain axis in driving the reinforcing properties of flavors and nutrients in humans using neuroimaging, neuropsychology, psychophysical and metabolic methodologies. Recently we have identified a role for the gut-brain axis in higher order cognitive control, which is relevant for a variety of impulse control disorders. Here a major focus, which draws upon my clinical training as a neuropsychologist, is to identify the mechanisms leading to cognitive dysfunction in obesity and diabetes and uncovering the pathways for their reversal and/or prevention. 

Education & Training

PhD McGill University (2001)
MSc McGill University (1998)

Honors & Recognition

  • Alan Epstein Award for a seminal research contribution to the field of ingestive behavior. Awarded by the Society for the Study of Ingestive BehaviorSociety for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (2015)

  • Appointed to the National Academy of Sciences Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS)National Academy of Sciences (2015)

  • Ruth Pike Award for contributions to nutrition researchPenn State University (2010)

  • Firmenich Young Investigator Award for Research in Fragrance and Flavors, Firmenich (2007)

  • Invitee 18th Annual Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium for Young InvestigatorsNational Academy of Sciences (2006)

  • Moskowitz-Jacobs Award for Research Excellence in the Psychophysics of Taste and Smell The Association for Chemoreception Sciences (2005)

  • Ajinomoto Young Investigator Award for Research in Gustation The Association for Chemoreception Sciences (2003)

  • Elected member of the International Neuropsychological SymposiumInternational Neuropsychological Symposium (2002)

Professional Service

  • Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (2016) From August 2016 to August 2018 I will be acting as the program chair for the The Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) is an organization committed to advancing scientific research on food and fluid intake and its associated biological, psychological and social processes. The Society provides a multidisciplinary environment for the free exchange of ideas and information, and serves as a resource for scientific expertise and education on topics related to the study of ingestive behavior.

  • Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences, National Academy of Sciences (2014) The Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS) works toward five principal goals: To engage academic and other research scientists working in the behavioral, cognitive, and sensory sciences in the consideration of major national policy issues; To promote and advance cross-disciplinary inquiry into complex scientific and policy questions; To provide a forum for objective, independent, and rigorous deliberation among researchers, the public, the media, Congress, professional associations, the NSF, and other federal agencies; To draw attention to the significance of the behavioral, cognitive, and sensory sciences to national policy; To link these sciences to the wider range of scientific and technological questions addressed by the National Academies. The Board's highest profile activities aimed at meeting these goals are its biannual meetings.

  • The Obesity Society (2009) Study Section

  • Frontiers in Neuroscience (2009) Editorial

  • The Association for Chemoreception Sciences (2008) Executive Committee

  • European Journal of Neuroscience (2008) Editorial

  • Chemosensory Perception (2007) Editorial

  • MD/PhD Admissions Committee (2007) Admissions Committee

  • NIH/NIMH Special Panel Study Section (2007) Study Section

  • NIH Cognition and Perception Study Section (2004 - 2004) Study Section

  • National Science Foundation (2002) Study Section

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Contact Info

Dana Small, PhD
Mailing Address
The John B Pierce Laboratory290 Congress Avenue
New Haven, CT 06519

Curriculum Vitae

Affective Sensory Neuroscience Lab