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Jennifer Nasser, PhD

Contact Information

  • 267.359.5834
  • 267.359.5843 F
  • Health Sciences Building, Room 11W35

Jennifer Nasser


Associate Professor and Director, PhD Program in Nutrition Sciences

Nutrition Sciences Department

Jennifer Nasser, PhD, is a registered dietitian and nutritional neuroscientist with postdoctoral training in obesity research and addiction psychiatry. She has over twenty years of experience conducting human nutrition-related research. Her laboratory research focuses on the brain’s response to food and nutrients, the use of alternatives to food rewards, and how the brain’s response to food and nutrients, and use of alternative rewards varies across metabolic and psychiatric disorders. She is also engaged in community-based translational research involving the effectiveness of home delivery of medically prescribed meals and the application of nutrition-related health indices to the provision of food for the homeless.

Academic Distinctions

  • Margaret Montgomery Award for Best Flash Talk, Drexel University Helen Moorehead-Laurencin Sex and Gender Research Forum
  • Member of the Board of Scientific Advisors for MANNA Philadelphia
  • Nominee, President’s Award for Diversity and Inclusion, Drexel University
  • Member, Alpha Eta Allied Health Professionals National Honor Society
  • Member, Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society

Faculty Fellowships

Fellow, The Obesity Society

Professional Society

Member, American Diabetes Association
Member, American Society of Nutrition
Member, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Member, Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior

Selected Publications

Casperson, S., Lanza, L., Albajri, E., Nasser, J. A. (2019). Increasing chocolate’s sugar content enhances its psychoactive effects and intake. Nutrients 12:11(3). pii: E596. doi: 10.3390/nu11030596.

Kaimal, G., Ayaz, H., Herresb, J., Dieterich-Hartwella, R., Makwanaa, B., Kaisera, D. H., Nasser, J.A. (2017). Functional near-infrared spectroscopy assessment of reward perception based on visual self-expression: Coloring, doodling, and free drawing. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 55:85–92.

Nasser, J. A., Del Parigi, A., Merhige, K., Wolper, C., Geliebter, A., Hasim, S. A. (2013) Electroretinographic detection of human brain dopamine response to oral food stimulation. Obesity, 21: 976-980. doi: 10.1002/oby.20101

Grant participation:

External Funding: PI: R21 DK076748 MethylPhenidate and Binge Eating in Humans who are Obese; ILSI Physiology of Carbohydrates Initiative: Glycemic Index Effect on Food Reinforcement; Wrigley- Chewing Gum for Weight Management in Users of Atypical Antipsychotics; American Pecan Council: Pecan consumption effects on weight maintenance, brain activation and cardiovascular disease risk; American Society of Nutrition Forum on the Feasibility of Training a Medical Nutrition Scientist; Pilot and Feasibility Grant (from NIH P30 NIDDK P30DK26687, Pi-Sunyer): Evaluation of Changes in Central Dopamine due to food stimuli by Electroretinography

Co-I: NIH R25 DK080664-01A1 (Pi-Sunyer, PI) Translational Medical Nutrition Training for MD and PhD Trainees.

Drexel Funding: PI: Rapid Research Grant on Racial Equality- The Wonders of Why, Pathway to SuperNova; CNHP Seed Grant: Protein Effects on Satiety in the Elderly; Clinical Translational Research Institute: ERG Evaluation of Food and Drug Response of the Retina to Light in Humans; fNIR Assessment of Brain Response to Food During Eating; CO-I: CNHP Dean’s Rapid Research Funds: Cortical Hemodynamic Response among Infants of Mothers With and Without Postpartum Depression

Editorial review board membership:

Associate Editor, Frontiers in Neuroscience

Research Interests

Nasser’s clinical research focuses on dopamine-mediated mechanisms of food intake regulation in humans and its impact on metabolic homeostasis, especially as it applies to obesity, eating disorders and aging. Her research makes extensive use of functional near infra-red spectroscopy (fNIRS) and electroretinography (ERG), both non-invasive methods of assessing brain function under natural eating conditions in humans.

Postdoctoral Fellowship: New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center and Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Division on Substance Abuse, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

PhD in Food Science and Nutrition, Rutgers University

Dietetic Internship, Marywood University

MS in Chemistry/Biochemistry, Lehigh University

BA in Chemistry and Music, minor in Education, Elmira College