Brain-Gut Interactions & Cognitive Control

Principal Investigators | LINE staff implicated | Collaborators | Overview | Representative Publications | Financial Support

Principal Investigators

Dr. Ulrike Toepel (lead investigator)

Prof. Micah M. Murray (co-investigator)

LINE staff implicated

Current staff

  • Camille Crézé (PhD student)

Past staff

  • Marie-Laure Notter (PhD student)
  • Claudia Lietti (PhD student)
  • Lena Pasquier (MD student)
  • Camille Verascon (BSc student)
  • Fanny Vuilleumier (MSc student)


Department of Physiology (CHUV-UNIL)

  • Professor Luc Tappy
  • Dr. Vittorio Guisti, Privant Docent
  • Vanessa Campos
  • Léonie Egli

Department of Neurology (University of Fribourg)

  • Dr. Lucas Spierer

German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke

  • Dr. Kathrin Ohla

Nestle Research Center

  • Dr. Johannes le Coutre
  • Dr. Julie Hudry
  • Dr. Ciaran Forde


This interdisciplinary project combines the expertise of two research groups to better understand links between brain activity, hormone secretion, and eating behaviour. On the one hand, the Service of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism (SEDM) has established methods for the monitoring of gastric hormones linked to glucose homeostasis (Rodieux et al., 2008). On other hand, the EEG Brain Mapping Core of the Center for Biomedical Imaging (EEG-CIBM) has used electrical neuroimaging methods to identify how the brain tracks the energetic value of food images (Toepel et al., 2009). Also, the project aims at determining the parallels between Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) - and its associated effects on gastric hormone levels and eating behaviour - and brain activity during visual food discrimination. For this purpose, hormone blood measures are correlated with neural responses as measured by electroencephalography (EEG) in healthy normal-weighted and obese controls without surgery, as well as in RYGB patients before and after food intake.

Representative Publications

  • Bielser ML, Crézé C, Murray MM, Toepel U (2016) Does my brain want what my eyes like? Prospective liking and choice modulate behavioral and brain responses during food viewing. Brain and Cognition 110: 64-73.
  • Toepel U, Murray MM (2015) Human gustation: when the brain has taste. Current Biology 25(9): R381-R383.
  • Toepel U, Bielser ML, Forde CG, Martin N, Voirin A, le Coutre J, Murray MM, Huldry J (2015) How much to eat? Meal size selection for expected satiety is mediated by brain regions involved in attentional and self-regulation processes. Neuroimage, 113: 133-142.
  • Toepel U, Ohla K, Hudry J, le Coutre J, Murray MM. (2014) Verbal labels selectively bias brain responses to high-energy foods. Neuroimage 87: 154-163.
  • Lietti CV, Murray MM, Hudry J, Coutre Jl, Toepel U. (2012) The role of energetic value in dynamic brain response adaptation during repeated food image viewing. Appetite 58(1):11-18.
  • Ohla K, Toepel U, Hudry J, Le Coutre J (2012) Visual-gustatory interaction: Orbitofrontal and insular cortices mediate the effect of high-calorie visual food cues on taste pleasantness. PLOS One 7(3):e32434.
  • Toepel U, Knebel JF, Hudry J, le Coutre J, Murray MM. Gender and weight shape brain dynamics during food viewing. PLoS One 7(5):e36778.
  • Harrar V, Toepel U, Murray MM, Spence C. (2011) Food’s visually-perceived fat content affects discrimination speed in an orthogonal spatial task. Experimental Brain Research 214:351-6.
  • Ohla K, Toepel U, Le Coutre J, Hudry J. (2010) Electrical neuroimaging reveals intensity-dependent activation of human cortical gustatory and somatosensory areas by electric taste. Biol Psychol 85: 446-55.
  • Toepel U, Knebel JF, Hudry J, le Coutre J, Murray MM. (2009) The brain tracks the energetic value in food images. Neuroimage 44, 967-974.


Financial Support

Current funding

  • The project is funded by an Interdisciplinary research grant from the Faculty of Biology and Medicine, CHUV-UNIL.

Past funding



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Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) Centre d'imagerie Biomédicale (CIBM) Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) Université de Genève Université de Lausanne École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)