Rebecca Moragne, TuftScope Research-Highlights Editor
Caffeine. Body perception. Sugar. Exercise. All these topics are related to studies in Dr. Robin Kanarek’s Nutrition and Behavior Lab. Dr. Kanarek is a psychology professor at Tufts University who heads the university’s Nutrition and Behavior Lab. Her role is to oversee the lab and direct research performed by graduate and undergraduate students. She is constantly full of intelligent advice and seems to always be carrying around a recently published study with intriguing nutrition research.
While the Tufts Nutrition and Behavior Lab spans a range of topics, Dr. Kanarek is particularly interested in those studies that relate to how environmental factors’ affect body image. Additionally, she is curious about the relationship between food intake and obesity stigma as well as different nutrients’ effects on human behavior.
Before working on human nutrition, Dr. Kanarek started in animal behavior research. She studied how sucrose affects diet-induced diabetes in animals and how opiate drugs affect an animal’s dietary preference (e.g. fats versus proteins) and pain sensitivity. Dr. Kanarek slowly moved towards human research after collaborating with colleagues in the cognitive sciences. She desired to pursue research with more relevance and human practicality.
When asked if as an undergraduate student, Dr. Kanarek could see herself in the profession that she is in now, Dr. Kanarek smiled widely. When Dr. Kanarek applied to undergraduate school, an application presented her with the question, “where do you see yourself in 10 years?” And she responded expressing her desire to be a teacher. Dr. Kanarek loves how in teaching she is always learning. The research in Dr. Kanarek’s lab excites her and in her opinion, “there really are no bad studies.” Whether a study provides the results that she expected or not, she learns something. A love of learning is such a key trait for a professor and Dr. Kanarek certainly embodies it.
1. [Untitled portrait photo of Dr. Robin B. Kanarek]. Retrieved October 15, 2016 from
2. von Struensee, S. (2012). Nutrition [Online image]. Retrieved October 15, 2016 from