Kathleen L. Keller, Ph.D.

 Kathleen Keller

Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for Children’s Health and Development, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences and 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

Nutrition across the Lifespan, Nutrition and Behavior, Overview of Nutrition, Clinical Nutrition

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

Keller KL. Genetic influences on oral fat perception and preference. Journal of Food Science. In press.

Keller KL, Liang L, Sakimura-McLean J, May D, van Belle C, Breen C, Driggin E, Tepper BJ, Lanzano P, Deng L, Chung WK. Common variants in the CD36 gene are associated with reported fat preferences and obesity in African-Americans. Obesity. In press.

Liang L, Sakimura-Mclean J, May D, Breen C, Driggin E, Tepper BJ, Chung WK, Keller KL. Fat Discrimination: A phenotype with potential implications for studying fat intake behaviors and obesity. Physiol & Behav. 2012;105:470-5.

Olsen AM, van Belle C, Meyermann K, Keller KL. Manipulating fat content of familiar foods at test-meals does not affect intake and liking of these foods among children. Appetite. 57(3):573-77.2011.

Sud S, Tamayo NC, Faith MS, Keller KL. Increased restrictive feeding practices are associated with reduced energy density in 4-6 year-old multi-ethnic children at ad libitum laboratory test meals. Appetite 55(2):201-7.2010.

Keller KL, Reid A, MacDougall MC, Cassano H, Song JL, Deng L, Lanzano P, Chung WK, Kissileff HR. Sex differences in the effects of inherited bitter thiourea sensitivity on body weight in 4-6 year-old children. Obesity 18(6):1194-1200;2010.

Forman J, Halford JC, Summe H, MacDougall MC, Keller KL. Food branding influences ad libitum intake differently in children depending on weight status: results of a pilot study. Appetite 53:76-83;2009.

Keller KL, Kirzner J, Pietrobelli A, St-Onge MP, Faith MS. Increased sweetened beverage intake is associated with reduced milk and calcium intake in 3-7 y. old children at multi-item laboratory lunches. J Am Diet Assoc. 109(3):497-501;2009. NIHMS99821.

Keller KL, Pietrobelli A, Johnson SL, Faith MS. Maternal restriction of children’s eating and encouragements to eat as part of the ‘non-shared environment’: a pilot study using the child feeding questionnaire. Int J Obes 30:1670-75;2006.

Keller KL, Tepper BJ. A possible role for taste sensitivity to 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) in dietary patterns and body weight differences in young children. Obesity Res 12:904-12;2004.

Courses Taught

NUTR 490W Nutrition Seminar