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Carnell, Susan, Ph.D.


Assistant Professor
Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Main Office Address

600 N. Wolfe Street
Phipps 300
Baltimore, MD 21287

Phone: 410-955-7192
Fax: 410-614-3676





University of Oxford



University College London


Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

University College London


Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

Columbia University

Professional Interests

Why do some people become obese while others stay lean? We propose that individuals differ in appetite-related biobehavioral traits (e.g. food cue responsiveness, satiety sensitivity) that manifest early in life, show genetic influence, and interact with environmental influences (e.g. family feeding practices) to predict eating behaviors and weight trajectories. To understand more about the character and origins of these traits and their interplay with environmental factors, my inter-disciplinary research program utilizes a range of methods including behavioral tests, self- and parent-report questionnaires, genotyping, and neuroimaging techniques (e.g. fMRI). We are currently using all of these tools to investigate the neurobehavioral correlates of familial and genetic risk for obesity in lean and obese adolescents and children. Related research projects include studies of eating disorders, stress-related eating, and circadian and hormonal influences on appetite. I also have an interest in shared etiological factors between obesity and other behaviors and disorders (e.g. impulsivity, ADHD), anti-psychotic induced weight gain, neuroendocrine factors in bariatric surgery, and translating research on biobehavioral risk for obesity into practical intervention strategies and advice for the public.

Learn more about Dr. Carnell’s research

Read Dr. Carnell’s blog at Psychology Today

Selected Publications

Carnell S, Kim Y & Pryor K (2012) Fat brains, greedy genes and parent power: a biobehavioural risk model of child and adult obesity. International Review of Psychiatry, 24, 189-199.

Carnell S, Gibson C, Benson L, Ochner C & Geliebter A (2012) Neuroimaging and obesity: current knowledge and future directions. Obesity Reviews, 13, 43-56.

Carnell S, Haworth CMA, Plomin R & Wardle J (2008) Genetic influence on appetite in children. International Journal of Obesity, 32, 1468-1473.

Carnell S & Wardle J (2008) Appetite and adiposity in children: evidence for a behavioral susceptibility model of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 88, 22-29.

Carnell S & Wardle J (2007) Measuring behavioural susceptibility to obesity: validation of the Child Eating Behaviour Questionnaire. Appetite, 48, 104-113.


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