PHILADELPHIA (July 1, 2020) – Amber Alhadeff, PhD, the newest faculty member at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, has been awarded a 2020 Klingenstein-Simons Fellowship Award in Neurosciences, totaling $225,000 over three years.
These are among the nation’s oldest and most illustrious fellowships for young investigators in neuroscience research. Aimed at advancing cutting-edge investigations, the awards are presented to highly promising, early-career scientists. “At this critical juncture in young investigators’ careers, when funding can be a challenge, the fellowship awards promote higher-risk, and potentially higher-reward, projects,” states the fellowship’s mission.
“Dr. Alhadeff’s elegant research focuses on neurons in the brain that control hunger, seeking to identify and understand the different signals that modulate neural activity in these cells,” said Robert Margolskee, MD, PhD, Director and President of Monell. “She has also demonstrated a commitment to mentoring the next generation of scientists, starting when she was a graduate student. As a postdoc, she led teams of graduate students and undergraduates on research projects.”
Alhadeff, a behavioral neurobiologist, studies how the nervous system controls food intake and ways to identify new treatments for diet-related diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and eating disorders. Knowing that the stomach and intestines send information about recently ingested nutrients to the brain, she aims to better understand how information from the gut affects hunger-related neurons.
“We all love to eat, but we are just beginning to learn the intricacies of how the gut signals the brain in real time to influence eating behavior,” Alhadeff said. “This fellowship will allow me to expand my research into new areas to answer important questions about this fundamental behavior.”
Alhadeff joined Monell in January 2020, following four years as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also obtained her PhD in Psychology/Behavioral Neuroscience in 2015. She has successfully obtained grants from the National Institutes of Health and philanthropic sources, including the prestigious L’Oréal USA For Women in Science Fellowship.
The Monell Chemical Senses Center is an independent nonprofit basic research institute based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1968, Monell’s mission is to improve health and wellbeing by advancing the scientific understanding of taste, smell, and related senses, where our discoveries lead to improving nutritional health, diagnosing and treating disease, addressing smell and taste loss, and digitizing chemosensory data.