School of Health and Human Sciences

Steven C. Fordahl

Steven C. Fordhal, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Ph.D. in Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2019)
Curriculum Vitae

Brief Bio

Dr. Fordahl’s primary research interest examines how the excessive intake of high fat or high sugar foods alter brain function, leading to dysregulated food intake. In particular, he is interested in how prolonged consumption of a palatable diet degrades the perception of natural rewards by altering dopamine signaling in response to food. To study this he uses a pre-clinical rodent model of obesity, and apply techniques that characterize dopamine neurochemistry in conjunction with behavioral markers of dopamine system function. Dopamine helps attribute the perceived value of rewards, including food. Over activation of the dopamine system following chronic ingestion of highly palatable food causes adaptations in dopamine rich regions of the brain that may skew this perception.

Current Projects

  • Identifying mechanisms that cause dopamine terminal changes following chronic consumption of a high fat diet.
  • Determining the role of stress on the brain’s regulation of food intake.
  • Examining the effect of dietary patterns on brain chemistry, and dysregulated food intake.

Selected Publications

  • Fordahl SC, Jones SR. (2017) High Fat Diet-Induced Deficits in Dopamine Terminal Function are Reversed by Restoring Insulin Signaling. ACS Chemical Neuroscience (Ahead of Press)
  • Fordahl SC, Locke JL, Jones SR. (2016) High fat diet augments amphetamine sensitization in mice: Role of feeding pattern, obesity, and dopamine terminal changes. Neuropharmacology109:170-182
  • Siciliano CA, Fordahl SC, Jones SR. (2016) Cocaine self-administration produces long-lasting alterations in dopamine transporter responses to cocaine. J Neurosci 36(30):7807-7816
  • Yorgason JT, Calipari ES, Ferris MJ, Karkhanis AK, Fordahl SC, Weiner JL, Jones SR. (2015), Social Isolation Rearing Increases Dopamine Uptake and Psychostimulant Potency in the Striatum. Neuropharmacology Oct 23;101:471-479
  • Fordahl, S.C. and Erikson, K.M. (2014) Manganese accumulation in membrane fractions of primary astrocytes is associated with decreased ɣ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) uptake, and is exacerbated by oleic and palmitic acids. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 37(3):1148-56
  • Orr, J.S., Kennedy, A., Anderson, E.K., Webb, C.D., Fordahl, S.C., Erikson, K.M., Zhang, Y., Etzerdot, A., Moestrup, S.K., and Hasty, A.H. (2014) Obesity Alters Adipose Tissue Macrophage Iron Content and Tissue Iron Distribution. Diabetes 63(2):421-32.