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Mary Boggiano, PhD

Mary Boggiano, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology

Campbell Hall 325
Office Phone: (205) 934 3850 
Fax: (205) 975 6110 


  • BA, University of Texas at El Paso, Psychology
  • MA, University of Texas at El Paso, Psychology
  • PhD, University of Texas at El Paso, Psychology
  • Postdoc, University of Cincinnati Medical College


Research Interests:

Psychobiology, motivation, eating disorders and obesity

Past areas of research included the development of animal models of binge-eating (e.g., Stress + Dieting model) and models showing the independence of binge-eating and obesity (e.g., Binge-eating Prone vs. Resistant or “BEP/BER” model). Drug, HPLC, and RIA studies implicated sensitization of mu-opioid receptors, dysregulation of mesolimibic monoamine release, and increased cortisol as mechanisms behind binge-eating. Other systems studied are the role of central PYY and the melanocortin system in eating behavior. Novel behavioral methods included use or increasing levels of foot shock to test the motivation of rats for palatable food and a Pavlovian model of conditioned overeating.

Dr. Boggiano’s animal models of binge-eating and obesity are being used in academic and industry labs to gain a better understanding of the physiology of binge-eating disorders and obesity and to test the efficacy of new drugs for these conditions. Other research involved the use of Ansel Key’s famous WWII Minnesota Starvation Experiment surveys in modern-day individuals to assess the role of dieting in binge-eating and chaotic eating behaviors such as food concocting.

Her current research is focused solely on human subjects and includes the development, validation, and testing of a novel scale to assess motives behind eating highly palatable food (the Palatable Eating Motives Scale or “PEMS”) in adolescents, teens, college students, and weight-loss seeking adults. The PEMS should personalize and hence improve treatments for obesity and binge-eating. 

Other current research involves testing the efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to reduce food cravings and binge-eating traits in humans. Future studies will aim to identify the neural substrates of palatable-food intake for distinct motives and the effect of tDCS on eating behavior. A second aim will involve designing intervention studies using the PEMS and tDCS to treat obesity and binge eating.

Published on May 28, 2010
Food and Addiction: Stress Opioids and Binge-Eating in Rats


Selected Publications:

*Hagan is former name; Boggiano is present and birth name. For a full publication list please

  • Hagan, M.M., Rushing, P.A., Pritchard, L. M. Schwartz, M. W., Strack, A., Vander Ploeg, L., Woods, S.C. & Seeley, R. J. (2000). Long-term orexigenic effects of agouti related peptide (83-132) involve mechanisms other than melanocortin receptor blockade. American Journal of Physiology, 279(1), R47-R52.
  • Hagan, M.M., Wauford, P. K., Chandler, P. C., Jarrett, L. A., Rybak, R. J., & Blackburn, K. (2002). A new animal model of binge eating: key synergistic role of past caloric restriction and stress. Physiology & Behavior, 77(1), 45-54. Selected for commentary.
  • Tschop, M., Castaneda, T. R., Joost, H. G., Thone-Reineke, C., Ortmann, S., Klaus, S., Hagan, M.M., et al. (2004). Physiology: does gut hormone PYY3-36 decrease food intake in rodents? Nature, 430(6996), 1-2 following 165.
  • Boggiano, M.M., Chandler, P. C., Viana, J. B., Oswald, K. D., Maldonado, C. R., & Wauford, P. K. (2005). Combined dieting and stress evoke exaggerated responses to opioids in binge-eating rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, 119(5), 1207-1214.
  • Boggiano, M.M., Artiga, A. I., Pritchett, C. E., Chandler, P.C., Smith, M. L., & Eldridge, A. J. (2007). High intake of palatable food predicts binge-eating characteristics independent of susceptibility to obesity: An animal model of lean vs. obese binge eating and obesity with and without binge-eating. International Journal of Obesity, 31(9), 1357-1367.
  • Boggiano, M.M., Dorsey, J., Thomas, J. M., & Murdaugh, D. (2009). The Pavlovian power of palatable food: lessons for weight-loss adherence from a new rodent model of cue-induced overeating. International Journal of Obesity, 33(6), 693-701. PMC2697275.
  • Boggiano, M. M., Turan, B., Maldonado, C.R., Oswald, K.D. & Shuman, E.J. (2013). Secretive food concocting in binge-eating: Test of a famine hypothesis. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46, 212–225.    
  • Boggiano, M.M., Wenger, L.E., Turan, B., Tatum, M.M., Sylvester, M.D., Morgan, P.R. & Burgess, E.E. (2015). Real-time sampling of reasons for hedonic food consumption: further validation of the Palatable Eating Motives Scale. Frontiers in Psychology-Eating Behavior, 6744.
  • Burgess, E.E.#, Sylvester, M.D., Morse, K.E., Amthor, F.R., Mrug, S., Lokken, K., Osborn, M.K., Soleymani, T. & Boggiano, M.M.  (2016) Effect of transcranial direct stimulation (tDCS) on binge-eatingdisorder. International Journal of Eating Disorders, Epub ahead of print.