The Effect of a Meal-Predictive Context on Glucose Response and Subsequent Feeding Behavior

Sara Mainville

An overview of Sara's project poster.

A preview of the full poster available below.

Undergraduate Student Project


Do you know someone in your life that is impacted by diabetes? Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that has been very prevalent in recent years.

My name is Sara Mainville. I am a senior psychology major.  Dr. Paul Meyer has been mentoring me for an honors research project in his Behavioral neuroscience lab. This past year I worked on a study that involved meal conditioning.

While many different studies have been completed on metabolic disorders, we find it important to look at meal schedules.  In particular, the question we set out to address was how does meal scheduling impact glucose levels?


This study aims to look at whether meal-predictive stimuli, such as contexts, can both promote glucose absorption and alter feeding behavior in rodents during meals. Here, 20 male and female Sprague-Dawley subjects were trained to eat immediately after either a 30-minute meal-predictive context (paired), or at an explicitly unpaired time following context exposure (unpaired). We hypothesized subjects in the paired group will show a reduced post-ingestive spike in blood glucose relative to the unpaired group. We employed a novel method of examining changes in interstitial glucose surrounding bouts of feeding using indwelling sensors that detect glucose levels daily in 15-minute intervals. Our findings from these sensors revealed a more rapid glucose spike during feeding in the unpaired group.  As a result of this study we now have more precise and informative time-course data on glucose metabolism.

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