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PI: Dana M. Small, PhD

Dana Small is a Professor of Psychiatry and of Psychology at Yale University and the Director of the Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center (MDPRC). She received her MSc in Neuroscience (1998) and PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology from McGill University in 2001. Her research focuses on understanding how sensory, metabolic and neural signals are integrated to determine food choices and on how the dysregulation of these systems contribute to the development of obesity, diabetes and cognitive impairment.
Office Phone: 203-785-4158

Xue Davis, PhD

Xue is a Program Manager at Yale University and Operations Director of the MDPRC. She completed a Neuroscience PhD in the Small lab at Yale (2015) and a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Harvey Grill at the University of Pennsylvania. Xue is interested in individual differences in metabolic and perceptual responses to food cues and their relationship to reward-related feeding behavior.

Xi Fang, PhD

Xi Fang is a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University. She received her PhD in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia in 2020 and her Bachelor of Engineering degree in Food Science from Northeast Agricultural University, China in 2015. During her PhD, she worked on understanding how bioactive compounds influences the metabolic function and neurocognitive developments in early life through neuroimaging, behavioral, and biochemical techniques. Currently in the Small lab, she is exploring the gut-brain communication by investigating the effects of dietary fat on moderating the influences of fatty amides on weight loss maintenance, metabolism, and food choice after a weight loss program in subjects with overweight and obesity.

Emily Perszyk

Emily Perszyk is a graduate student and National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellow in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at Yale University. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience from Washington and Lee University in 2018. During this time, she worked in Dr. Bob Stewart’s sensory neurobiology lab to characterize the normal postnatal dendritic development of neurons in the hamster nucleus of the solitary tract taste relay center. Currently in the Small lab, she is interested in studying the neural correlates of food reward and feeding behavior through neuroimaging and indirect calorimetry techniques.

Henry Quillian

Henry Quillian is a graduate student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at Yale University. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 2017 from Kenyon College, where he completed a double major in Neuroscience and Music. During this time he studied the neural correlates of non-conscious face perception in the lab of Dr. Andrew Engell. Since then, Henry worked at the Lieber Institute for Brain Development in the labs of Dr. Caroline Zink and Dr. Keri Martinowich before joining Yale’s INP in 2019. Currently in the Small lab he is studying the effects of central insulin resistance on cognitive function in overweight adolescents.

Alex Chen, MA

Alex is a Medical Student at Yale School of Medicine. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology, Psychology, and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Subsequently, he completed his Master’s degree in Philosophy of Medicine and Psychiatry from King’s College London. Alex’s past research interests include seizure thresholds in epilepsy, and neurobehavioral changes during gut inflammation. Currently, his research focuses on the relationship between body composition and cognitive function, as well as the ethical grounding of clinical decision-making during the beginning and end of life.

Chavonn Duncan

Chavonn Duncan is a research assistant and phlebotomist in the Modern Diet & Physiology Research Center. She received her BS in Psychological Science at Central Connecticut State University, where she conducted a study investigating the role of race in depression among college students. Currently, she is completing her master’s degree in advanced clinical social work practice. Chavonn’s future plans are to become a licensed therapist and specialize in mood, anxiety and eating disorders.

Justin Sung

Justin is a research assistant in the Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center. He currently studies Computer Science & Psychology in Yale College. Justin is currently developing research tools to collect data on global food consumption patterns and body composition to investigate the relationship between the two with genetic analyses and neuroimaging. In the future, Justin plans on pursuing graduate studies in cognition, brain, and behavior.