Amy Naleid (MacDonald)

Ph.D. 2005

Thesis Title:

The role of mesolimbic opioids in food intake reward

Current Position:

Social Worker, Wayzata Public Schools, Minnesota

Undergraduate Institution and Major/Degree:

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, BS, Biology, 1999

Major Advisor(s):

Allen S. Levine, Ph.D.

Research Description:

My research focuses on the mesolimbic reward pathway, between the ventral tegmental area and the nucleus accumbens. I study, in rats, the effects of opioids and dopamine in these sites on intake of normal meals and of palatable meals high in fat and sucrose.

Using microinjection techniques, I temporarily manipulate opioid and dopamine signaling in these sites and then observe the effects on quantity of food consumed and nutrient chosen. I also use immunohistochemistry to determine the effects on cells in these brain sites after consumption of highly palatable meals, either acutely or in a chronic, binge-like pattern. The general hypothesis is that excessive intake of palatable foods activates the same reward mechanisms as do drugs of abuse.

Lab Rotations:

  • Bob Elde
  • Stan Thayer
  • Allen Levine

Courses Taken Beyond the Core Courses:

  • Preparing Future Faculty
  • Neuroscience of Drug Abuse
  • Neurobiology of Disease
  • Biostatistics

Conferences Attended and Presentations:

  • Society for Neuroscience annual meeting - Fall 2002, 2004
  • Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, Groningen, Netherlands, June 2003
  • Winter Conference on Brain Research, Breckenridge, CO, January 2005

Committee Members:

  • William Engeland, Chair
  • Cathy Kotz
  • George Wilcox
  • Will Thomas (Biostatistics department)

Selected Publications:

  • A.M. Naleid, C.J. Billington, A.S. Levine, 2005. Differential effects of opioids on diet selection: intra-PVN and Acb injections. In preparation as of 3/20/05.
  • A.M. Naleid, M.K. Grace, D.E. Cummings, A.S. Levine, 2005. Ghrelin induces feeding in the mesolimbic reward pathway between the ventral tegmental area and the nucleus accumbens. Peptides , in press.
  • A.F. MacDonald, C.J. Billington, A.S. Levine, 2004. Alterations in food intake by opioid and dopamine signaling pathways between the ventral tegmental area and the shell of the nucleus accumbens. Brain Research 1018: 78-85.
  • A.F. MacDonald, C.J. Billington, A.S. Levine, 2003. Effects of the opioid antagonist naltrexone on feeding induced by DAMGO in the ventral tegmental area and in the nucleus accumbens shell in the rat. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 285: R999-R1004.

Awards and Honors:

  • 2003-2005 National Research Service Award Fellow
  • Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training Program, National Institutes of Health
  • 2003 Frederick M. Stark Travel Award to Eleventh Annual Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior conference in Groningen, Netherlands

Professional Memberships:

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior

Home Town:

  • Eden Prairie, MN
Amy Naleid (MacDonald)