Skip to Main Content

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

Research Summary

Dr. Small’s research focuses on chemosensation and ingestive behavior in humans using neuroimaging combined with metabolic, psychophysical and neuropsychological methods. A major focus of her current work is understanding the impact of diet on gut-brain signaling, perception and cognition. Dr. Small has also established a translational - reverse translational program of research through collaborations with colleagues working in mouse models. The Small Lab currently has a fully automated and fMRI compatible olfactometer, gustometer, and indirect calorimeter. The lab is also equipped with a mock scanner, bio-impedance device, phlebotomy suite, three subject testing rooms and a wet lab.

Specialized Terms: Neurophysiology of feeding; Chemical senses; Neuroimaging; Dopamine; Addiction; Motivation; Psychophysics; Stress; Obesity

Extensive Research Description

  • The role of central insulin sensitivity on cognition in prediabetes
  • Central coding of taste and flavor.
  • Physiological mechanisms underlying food choice and ingestive behavior
  • The impact of diet, adiposity and metabolic dysfunction on brain structure and function, including mood, cognition and addiction.
  • Targeting the gut-brain axis for weight-loss maintenance
  • Determining the role of the gut-brain axis in alcohol dependence
  • Understanding the mechanisms underlying dopamine adaptations in response to diet, adiposity and metabolic dysfunction.


Research Interests

Dopamine; Energy Metabolism; Motivation; Neurophysiology; Obesity; Psychophysics; Stress, Psychological; Neuroimaging; Psychiatry and Psychology; Food Addiction

Research Image

Selected Publications

Clinical Trials

ConditionsStudy Title
Obesity & Weight ControlYale Dietary Supplement and Weight Management Study