Dr. Miriam Bocarsly earned her PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from Princeton University. In her
graduate studies she explored changes in brain circuitry associated with the consumption of high fat
and sugar diets in the labs of Drs. Bart Hoebel and Elizabeth Gould. She continued her training with
postdoctoral research in the NIH Intramural Research Program under the mentorship of Dr. Veronica
Alvarez. At the NIH she explored brain circuitry underlying both naturally rewarding behaviors and
substance abuse. She holds a joint appointment in Rutgers Brain Health Institute and the NJMS
department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience.
PHD, 2013, Princeton University
Bocarsly ME, Da Silva E Silva D, Dobbs LK, Kolb V, Alvarez VA. (2019) A mechanism linking two known vulnerability factors for alcohol abuse: heightened alcohol stimulation and low striatal dopamine D2 receptors. Cell Reports, 29:1147-63.
LeBlanc K, London TD, Szczot I, Bocarsly ME, Friend DM, Nguyen KP, Mengesha MM, Rubinstein M, Alvarez VA, Kravitz AV. (2018) Striatopallidal neurons control avoidance behavior in exploratory tasks. Molecular Psychiatry.
Bocarsly ME, Kane GA, LaMarca EA, Kirschen G, Karatsoreos IN, McEwen BS, Gould E. (2015) Obesity diminishes synaptic markers, alters microglial morphology and impairs cognitive function. PNAS, 112(51): 157316.
Bocarsly ME, Jiang W-c, Wang C, Dudman JT, Ji N, Aponte A. (2015) A minimally invasive microendoscopy system for in vivo functional imaging of deep nuclei in the mouse brain. Biomedical Optics Express, 6(11): 4546-56.
Bocarsly ME, Hoebel BG, Paredes D, von Loga I, Wang M, Arolfo MP, Diamond I, Avena NM. (2014) GS 455534 selectively suppresses binge eating of palatable food and attenuates dopamine release in the accumbens of sugar-bingeing rats. Behavioural Pharmacology, 25(2):147-57.
Bocarsly ME and Avena NM. (2013) A high-fat diet or galanin in the PVN decreases phosphorylation of CREB in the nucleus accumbens. Neuroscience, 248: 61-66.
Bocarsly ME, Barson JR, Hauca J, Hoebel BG, Leibowitz SR, Avena NM. (2012) Effects of perinatal exposure to palatable diets on body weight and sensitivity to drugs of abuse in rats. Physiology and Behavior, 107(4):568-75.
Bocarsly ME, Berner LA, Hoebel BH, Avena NM. (2011) Rats that binge eat fat-rich food do not show somatic signs or anxiety associated with opiate-like withdrawal: Implications for nutrient-specific food addiction behaviors. Physiology and Behavior, 104(5):865-72.
Bocarsly ME, Avena NM, Powell ES, Hoebel BG. (2010) High-fructose corn syrup increases body fat, body weight and triglyceride levels in rats with free access. Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 97(1):101-6.
Neural circuitry underlying feeding behaviors
The Bocarsly lab studies the molecules, cells and circuits that underlie food intake, and the contributions to the development of disease states such as compulsive overeating, stress-induced eating, obesity and anorexia. This is achieved by combining anatomical mapping approaches with transgenic models and sophisticated, high-precision monitoring of food intake behaviors.