Nancy Lee Zucker

Nancy Lee Zucker

Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

External Address: 
905 W. Main Street, Suite 22B Brightleaf Square, Durham, NC 27701
Internal Office Address: 
Box 3454 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710


Our laboratory studies individuals who have difficulty detecting, interpreting, and/or using signals from their body and using this information to guide adaptive behavior, particularly in interpersonal contexts. Our primary populations of study are individuals struggling with eating disorders and feeding disorders of childhood: conditions that are sine quo non for dysregulation of basic motivational drives. Several conditions are of particular focus due to the presence of profound deficits in interoception or/and integration of internal arousal: anorexia nervosa, a disorder notable for extreme, determined, rigid, and repetitive behaviors promoting malnourishment and the inability to use signals of interoception and proprioception in the service of goal-directed actions, pediatric binge eating, a model of appetitive dysregulation marked for its early occurrence in the life cycle, and childhood feeding disorders, children who evidence early disturbance in the range of foodstuffs they are willing to sample. Study of children allows us to ask different questions about disorder etiology, maintenance, and course as we can minimize the impact of malnutrition on brain function and perhaps better characterize prior learning history.

Our parallel line of research examines how individuals’ sense others when they have difficulties sensing themselves. Increasing evidence suggests that we understand others via embodied enactments of our own experiences. These findings have profound implications for individuals who have dysfunction in the experience of their bodies as it suggests limited capacities to truly understand others’ experiences. By studying these processes in parallel, we hope to better understand how this interaction between sensing ourselves and others unfolds.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge 2000

Selected Grants

SCH: INT: Computational Tools for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2022

Maternal obesity, child executive functions and child weight gain awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2015 to 2020

A Mind Body Approach to ARFID in Young Children: Food and Body Investigators awarded by (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2020

Feelings/Body Investigators:Interoceptive Exposure for Children w/Abdominal Pain awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2019

NYU-Duke Lifespan Mental Health Assessment Collaborative awarded by New York University (Principal Investigator). 2018

Defining Remission and Recovery in Eating Disorders awarded by University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2017

Eating Disorders in Type 1 Diabetes: Mechanisms of Comorbidity awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2011 to 2015

Neural Mechanisms of Social Reward Valuation and Decision Making awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2009 to 2014

KAN-DO: A Family-Based Intervention to Prevent Childhood Obesity awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2006 to 2012


Zucker, N., et al. “Selective eating: Normative developmental phase or clinical condition?.” The Oxford Handbook of Eating Disorders, 2017, pp. 419–37. Scopus, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190620998.013.23. Full Text

Sweeney, C., et al. “Family-based treatment for prodromal anorexia nervosa.” Family Therapy for Adolescent Eating and Weight Disorders: New Applications, 2015, pp. 157–76. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9781315882444. Full Text

Zucker, N., and C. Harshaw. “Emotion, Attention, and Relationships: A Developmental Model of Self-Regulation in Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disordered Eating Behaviors.” The Oxford Handbook of Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders Developmental Perspectives, 2012. Scopus, doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199744459.013.0005. Full Text

Bardone-Cone, Anna M., et al. “Eating disorder recovery in men: A pilot study..” Int J Eat Disord, Aug. 2019. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/eat.23153. Full Text

Carpenter, Kimberly L. H., et al. “Sensory Over-Responsivity: An Early Risk Factor for Anxiety and Behavioral Challenges in Young Children..” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, vol. 47, no. 6, June 2019, pp. 1075–88. Epmc, doi:10.1007/s10802-018-0502-y. Full Text

Harris, Adrianne A., et al. “The central role of disgust in disorders of food avoidance..” Int J Eat Disord, vol. 52, no. 5, May 2019, pp. 543–53. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/eat.23047. Full Text

Katzman, Debra K., et al. “Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder: First do no harm..” Int J Eat Disord, vol. 52, no. 4, Apr. 2019, pp. 459–61. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/eat.23021. Full Text

Eddy, Kamryn T., et al. “Radcliffe ARFID Workgroup: Toward operationalization of research diagnostic criteria and directions for the field..” Int J Eat Disord, vol. 52, no. 4, Apr. 2019, pp. 361–66. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/eat.23042. Full Text

Zucker, Nancy L., et al. “Feeling and body investigators (FBI): ARFID division-An acceptance-based interoceptive exposure treatment for children with ARFID..” Int J Eat Disord, vol. 52, no. 4, Apr. 2019, pp. 466–72. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/eat.22996. Full Text

Katzman, Debra K., et al. “Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder..” Psychiatr Clin North Am, vol. 42, no. 1, Mar. 2019, pp. 45–57. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.psc.2018.10.003. Full Text

Fuemmeler, Bernard F., et al. “Pre-Pregnancy Weight and Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Executive Functioning Behaviors in Preschool Children..” Int J Environ Res Public Health, vol. 16, no. 4, Feb. 2019. Pubmed, doi:10.3390/ijerph16040667. Full Text Open Access Copy

Do, E. K., et al. “Associations between imprinted gene differentially methylated regions, appetitive traits and body mass index in children..” Pediatr Obes, vol. 14, no. 2, Feb. 2019. Pubmed, doi:10.1111/ijpo.12454. Full Text

Brown, Melanie, et al. “Executive functioning and central coherence in anorexia nervosa: Pilot investigation of a neurocognitive endophenotype..” Eur Eat Disord Rev, vol. 26, no. 5, Sept. 2018, pp. 489–98. Pubmed, doi:10.1002/erv.2597. Full Text


Kass, Andrea E., et al. “Secretive eating among youth with overweight or obesity..” Appetite, vol. 114, 2017, pp. 275–81. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.appet.2017.03.042. Full Text