The Institute Of Human Nutrition

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Faculty and Staff

Nutritional and Metabolic Biology Doctoral Training Faculty

Harry R. KissileffHarry R. Kissileff, Ph.D.

Special Lecturer, New York Obesity Research Center, Columbia University



B.A. 1962, University of Pennsylvania
Ph.D. 1966, University of Pennsylvania

Research Interests

What are the physiological mechanisms that control food intake in humans? Potential mechanisms include nutrient sensing, gastric distension, hormone release, and neurotransmitters. Combinations of signals from these sources lead to feelings of satisfaction from eating that can be measured by sensitive instrumentation in the laboratory. In addition, the controls can be studied by careful measurement of eating rates and pressure exerted on a straw during sipping in order to determine motivation and reward value of foods. Portion size choice is another area that determines intake, and sensitive methodology has been utilized to understand of physiological and behavioral signals affect the choice of a portion.


Recent achievements: Food intake is controlled in normal individuals by rate of eating, but slowing the rate of eating does not reduce intake in patients with bulimia nervosa. Leptin injection into obese patients who have lost weight enhances the satiating effects of food. A combination of cholecystokinin and gastric distension adds to reduce food intake in men and women. Liquid foods tend to be more satiating on a calorie for calorie basis than more solid foods.


Future implications: We are currently preparing for publication and expect to study motivation and reward value of foods with a novel device called the sipometer, which combines the eating monitor (measures weight of food as it eaten) with pressure exerted on the straw while consuming. We are also utilizing a new method of estimating the urge to eat and satisfaction by means of computerized portion size control.


Impact and/or other contributions: The methodology developed in our laboratories at the NYORC has been used world-wide to study eating behavior and eating disorders. These methods include the development of the universal eating monitor for measuring rate of eating, the concept of satiating efficiency for measuring the ability of food to satisfy, and to study the components responsible for optimal satiation.



Recent Publications - Pubmed

Kissileff, H.R. Thornton JC, Torres MI, Pavlovich K, Mayer LS, Kalari V, Leibel RL, Rosenbaum M.: Leptin reverses declines in satiation in weight-reduced obese humans. Am.J.Clin.Nutr 95:309-17, 2012.

Kissileff, H.R. Torres, M. Devlin, MJ Zimmerli, E, Walsh BT: Effect of Eating Rate on Binge Size in Bulimia Nervosa (BN) Physiol. Behav 93:481-485, 2008.

Walsh BT. Zimmerli E. Devlin MJ. Guss J. Kissileff HR. A disturbance of gastric function in bulimia nervosa.  Biological Psychiatry 54:929-33, 2003.

Kissileff HR. Carretta JC. Geliebter A. Pi-Sunyer FX. Cholecystokinin and stomach distension combine to reduce food intake in humans. American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative & Comparative Physiology 285:R992-8, 2003.  

Nolan LJ, Guss JL, Liddle RA, Pi-Sunyer FX, Kissileff HR. Elevated plasma cholecystokinin and appetitive ratings after consumption of a liquid meal in humans. Nutrition 19:553-557, 2003.

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