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Dana Small, PhD

Professor Adjunct of Psychiatry; Director, Modern Diet and Physiology Research Center

Contact Information

Dana Small, PhD

Mailing Address

  • Small Lab

    Modern Diet and Physiology Research Lab, 1 Church Street

    New Haven, CT 06510

    United States



I am a psychologist and neuroscientist with graduate degrees in Neuroscience and Clinical Psychology from McGill University. My 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. My group primarily uses neuroimaging, neuropsychological and metabolic methodologies in humans; however, we also have collaborations with a number of basic research labs at Yale and abroad where we use a revere translational approach to pursue mechanistic questions in rodent models that arise from findings in humans. My laboratory generally consists of 1-2 phd students; 3-4 post-docs; a research associate professor and a handful of international interns and Yale undergraduates. I have trained 5 PhD students, 12 post-doctoral fellows and over 40 undergraduates and medical students. The lab has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2003.

In addition to my activities at Yale, I am also involved in a number of initiatives related to advancing knowledge and treatment of diabetes and obesity. I am co-leading a National Institutes of Health workgroup developing a neuropsychological battery for use in obesity and diabetes trials and chairing the annual meeting for the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. I am executive editor at Appetite and Biological Psychiatry and a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Behavior, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences.

Education & Training

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


  • Visiting Professor
    Tübingen, BW, Germany 2017
    I will be starting as a Visiting Professor at the University of Tubingen working in collaboration with Professor Hubert Priessl
  • Scientific Advisory Board Meeting
    Leipzig, SN, Germany 2017
    ICEMED (A Helmholtz Alliance)
  • Collaboration
    New York, NY, United States 2017
  • Visiting Professor
    Chongqing, Chongqing, China 2017
    Visiting Professor
  • Collaboration
    Paris, Île-de-France, France 2016
  • Collaboration
    Cologne, NRW, Germany 2014
  • Collaboration
    New Haven, CT, United States 2009
  • Collaboration
    Montreal, QC, Canada 2001

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
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 Behavior2015
Appointed to the National Academy of Sciences Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences (BBCSS)National Academy of Sciences2015
Ruth Pike Award for contributions to nutrition researchPenn State University2010
Firmenich Young Investigator Award for Research in Fragrance and Flavors,Firmenich2007
Invitee 18th Annual Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium for Young InvestigatorsNational Academy of Sciences2006
Moskowitz-Jacobs Award for Research Excellence in the Psychophysics of Taste and SmellThe Association for Chemoreception Sciences2005
Ajinomoto Young Investigator Award for Research in GustationThe Association for Chemoreception Sciences2003
Elected member of the International Neuropsychological SymposiumInternational Neuropsychological Symposium2002

Professional Service

Klarman Family FoundationMember2017
Society for the Study of Ingestive BehaviorFrom 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.2016 - Present
Welcome TrustMember2016 - Present
National Institutes of HealthMember2015
Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences, National Academy of SciencesThe 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.2014 - Present
Ad hoc Reviewer, NIDDK, DDK-C Study SectionMember2013
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)Member2013
The Obesity SocietyStudy Section2009 - Present
Frontiers in NeuroscienceEditorial2009 - Present
The Association for Chemoreception SciencesExecutive Committee2008 - Present
European Journal of NeuroscienceEditorial2008 - Present
Chemosensory PerceptionEditorial2007 - Present
MD/PhD Admissions CommitteeAdmissions Committee2007 - Present
NIH/NIMH Special Panel Study SectionStudy Section2007 - Present
NIH Cognition and Perception Study SectionStudy Section2004
National Science FoundationStudy Section2002 - Present

Departments & Organizations