Kathleen L. Keller, Ph.D.

photo of Kathleen Keller

Associate Professor / Department of Nutritional Sciences / Department of Food Science

Contact Information

321 Chandlee Lab
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park PA 16802


(fax) 814-863-6103




Ph.D., Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (2002)

Teaching Interests

Ingestive behavior, Adult Obesity, Childhood Obesity, Eating and Weight Disorders

Research Interests

We study eating behaviors in young children, in particular, how do they develop and how are they related to risk for obesity later in life. We are using techniques such as brain imaging and genetic screening to provide insight into the biological underpinnings of eating behavior and food preferences in children. Also, we are researching the impact of food marketing and branding on these eating behaviors.

  • Eating behaviors in children
  • Neural mechanisms of taste preference and eating behaviors in children
  • Food marketing and childhood obesity
  • Genetic and neural influences in taste in children

Selected Publications

English LK, Fearnbach SN, Wilson SJ, Fisher JO, Williams JS, Rolls BJ, Keller KL. Food portion size and energy density evoke different patterns of brain activation in children. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017;105:295-305.

Fearnbach SN, Masterson TD, Schlechter HA, Loken E, Downs D, Thivel D, Keller KL. Perceived exertion during exercise is associated with children’s energy intake. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2017;49:785-92.

Fearnbach SN, Masterson TD, Schlechter H, Ross AJ, Rykaczewski MJ, Loken E, Downs D, Thivel D, Keller KL. Impact of imposed exercise on energy intake in children at risk for overweight. Nutr J. 2016;15:92-101.

English LK, Fearnbach SN, Lasschuijt M, Schlegel A, Anderson K, Harris S, Wilson SJ, Fisher JO, Savage JS, Rolls BJ, & Keller KL. Brain regions implicated in inhibitory control and appetite regulation are activated in response to food portion size and energy density in children. International Journal of Obesity. 2016;40:1515-22.

Jellenik RD, Myers TA, Keller KL. The impact of doll style of dress and familiarity on body dissatisfaction in 6-8 year-old girls. Body Image; 2016;18:78-85.

Keller KL, Adise S. Variation in the ability to taste bitter thiourea compounds: implications for food acceptance, dietary intake, and obesity risk in children. Annual Review of Nutrition. 2016; 2016;36:157-82.

Fearnbach SN, English LK, Lasschuijt M, Wilson SJ, Savage JS, Fisher JO, Rolls BJ. Keller KL. Brain response to images of food varying in energy density is associated with body composition in 7- to 10-year-oled children: Results of an exploratory study. Physiol Behav. 2016;162:3-9.

Fearnbach SN, Silvert L, Keller KL, Genin PM, Morio B, Pereira B, Duclos M, Boirie Y, Thivel D. Reduced neural response to food cues following exercise is accompanied by decreased energy intake in obese adolescents. International Journal of Obesity. 2016;40(1):77-83.

Fearnbach SN, Thivel D, Meyermann KA, Keller KL. Intake at a single, palatable buffet test meal is associated with total body fat and regional fat distribution in children. Appetite. 2015;92:233-9.

Cravener TL, Schlechter H, Loeb K, Radnitz C, Scwartz M, Zucker NL, Finkelstein S, Wang YC, Rolls BJ. Keller KL. Feeding practices derived from behavioral economics and psychology can increase vegetable intake in children as part of a home based intervention: results of a pilot study. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115(11):1798-807.

Courses Taught

NUTR 490W Nutrition Seminar