Our Faculty

headshot of Patricia M. Di Lorenzo

Patricia M. Di Lorenzo




Di Lorenzo's research interests lie in the area of neural coding in sensory systems, using the taste system as a model. Her lab has two main lines of research, both involving recording the electrophysiological responses to taste in the brainstem of awake freely licking rats.

The first project is focused on temporal coding of taste quality by the taste-evoked spike trains in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) and the parabrachial nucleus of the pons (PbN), respectively the first and second central relays for taste. They use optogenetic tools to discover the influence of the gustatory cortex and lateral hypothalamus on taste responses in NTS and PbN. Their results have shown these two structures have different effects on the brainstem, with the cortex influencing cognitive ability and the lateral hypothalamus influencing licking.

The second line of research is focused on the effects of obesity and gastric bypass surgery on the brain. Their first interest is in the effects of a high-fat diet on the taste responses in the brainstem of awake rats. Second, they are recording taste responses from the brainstem of rats that have undergone Roux-en Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. Their research is aimed at discovering how this reorganization is expressed physiologically in taste-responsive neurons in the brainstem.


  • PhD, University of California
  • BA, University of Rochester

Research Interests

  • Neural code for taste in the brainstem of lean and obese rats
  • temporal coding of sensation

Teaching Interests

  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Neurophysiology
  • Ethics in Research
  • Physiology of Eating
  • Introduction to Psychology
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Grant Writing and Review


  • State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities