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Jun 7, 2023

What is avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder or ARFID? How does it differ from other disorders? How are intestinal microbiota involved when it comes to eating disorders?

Dr. Cynthia Bulik is a Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders and Founding Director of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders and Professor of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health; and Associate Director, UNC Center for Psychiatric Genomics.

Dr. Bulik’s research teams at UNC (Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders-CEED) and Karolinska Institute (Centre for Eating Disorders Innovation-CEDI) are dedicated to deepening our understanding of the underlying biology and genetics of eating disorders and to advancing the evidence base for the treatment of these illnesses. As founder and co-chair of the Eating Disorders Working Group of the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium (PGC-ED), she leads the global effort to identify actionable genomic variation in eating disorders. She is Principal Investigator of the global Eating Disorders Genetics Initiative funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. She is also the Principal Investigator of the largest study of genetic and environmental contributors to avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID-GEN), also funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. Together with Ian Carroll, PhD she conducts population-level and intensive longitudinal clinical investigations of the intestinal microbiota in eating disorders. For the past decade, with Donald Baucom, PhD and Jennifer Kirby, PhD she has developed and disseminated a suite of couple-based interventions for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder (UNITE: UNiting couples In the Treatment of Eating disorders). She also serves as senior faculty on the SAMHSA-funded National Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (NCEED)—the national authoritative source for information and training in eating disorders. She is dedicated to mentorship of junior investigators, especially women in STEM fields and is passionate about translating science for the public.