Prof. S.E. la Fleur PhD


Prof. S.E. la Fleur PhD

Associate Professor, Full Professor
Main activities
Neurobiology of Energy Metabolism
Focus of research

Our research aims to unravel the mechanistic link between diet composition and the development of obesity and diabetes as a first step towards a better understanding of the pathogenesis of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, focusing on the role of the brain.


Key publications
  • Koopman K. E., Roefs A., Elbers D. C. E., Fliers E., Booij J., Serlie M. J., La Fleur S. E. Brain dopamine and serotonin transporter binding are associated with visual attention bias for food in lean men Psychological medicine 2016;46 (8):1707-1717 [PubMed]
  • van den Heuvel José K., Furman Kara, Gumbs Myrtille C. R., Eggels Leslie, Opland Darren M., Land Benjamin B., Kolk Sharon M., S Narayanan Nandakumar, Fliers Eric, Kalsbeek Andries, DiLeone Ralph J., la Fleur Susanne E. Neuropeptide Y activity in the nucleus accumbens modulates feeding behavior and neuronal activity Biological psychiatry 2015;77 (7):633-641 [PubMed]
  • La Fleur S. E., Luijendijk M. C. M., van der Zwaal E. M., Brans M. A. D., Adan R. A. H. The snacking rat as model of human obesity: effects of a free-choice high-fat high-sugar diet on meal patterns International journal of obesity (2005) 2014;38 (5):643-649 [PubMed]
  • Koopman Karin E., Caan Matthan W. A., Nederveen Aart J., Pels Anouk, Ackermans Mariette T., Fliers Eric, la Fleur Susanne E., Serlie Mireille J. Hypercaloric diets with increased meal frequency, but not meal size, increase intrahepatic triglycerides: a randomized controlled trial Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.) 2014;60 (2):545-553 [PubMed]
  • Koopman Karin Eva, Booij Jan, Fliers Eric, Serlie Mireille Johanna, la Fleur Susanne Eva Diet-induced changes in the Lean Brain: Hypercaloric high-fat-high-sugar snacking decreases serotonin transporters in the human hypothalamic region Molecular metabolism 2013;2 (4):417-422 [PubMed]
All Publications
Curriculum Vitae

Grants and Honors (selection)

2016    NWO-VICI grant "To be ready or not for glucose challenges; a critical role for the brain's reward center"

2012    STW open competition grant 'Nutrients to modulate obesity-associated brain inflammation'

2012     STW perspective grant  'Enlightened Meals'

2008    ZonMW-VIDI grant “Brain mediators in obesity and insulin resistance”

2008    Alan N. Epstein Research Award, Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior

2004    ZonMW-VENI grant “The hepatic vagus and the melanocortin system in diet-induced obesity”

2002    Novo Nordisk Award for Endocrinology


Research Experience

02/2017- present

Professor, Dept Endocrinology and Metabolism, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

10/2016- present

Honorary group leader, Metabolism and Reward Group, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, the Netherlands


Visiting Professor, Unit of Functional and Adaptive Biology, CNRS-UNiversite Paris Diderot-Paris 7, Paris, France


Associate Professor, Dept Endocrinology and Metabolism, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

12/2008- 7/2011

Group leader/Scientific Staff Member, Dept Endocrinology and Metabolism, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands


Postdoc/Assistant Professor, Dept. Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

8/2001- 11/2004

Postdoctoral fellow, Dept. Physiology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, USA.  supervisor: Prof. dr. Mary F Dallman

3/1997 – 8/2001

PhD student (OIO), Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Supervisors: dr. A Kalsbeek & Prof. dr. RM Buijs




PhD degree in Neuroscience. Thesis title: “The Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Generated Rhythm in Blood   Glucose; a Role for the Autonomic Nervous System” Supervisors: Dr. A. Kalsbeek & Prof. dr. R.M. Buijs (Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) Thesis defense: 14/06/2001, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands


Master’s degree (‘doctoraal’) in (Medical) Biology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Research programmes

Prof. S.E. la Fleur PhD (Brain mediators in diet-induced obesity and diabetes)

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus is a rapidly growing epidemic. Obesity has been identified as one of the main risks for this disease and increased intake of saturated fat and sugar increases the risk to develop Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Our first interest is to understand how nutrients affect the brain and how these changes mediate the overeating as observed in (most) obese people. Secondly, although peripheral actions of both fat and sugar will affect glucose metabolism, it does not explain why some obese individuals become diabetic and why others do not. We therefore focus on the effects of nutrients on the brain as an alternative route via which high caloric diets might mediate the development of diabetes.

We study these research questions with a translational approach using both diet-induced obese animals and human experimental studies. This translational approach is possible because of a close collaboration with the group of dr MJ Serlie within the Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the group of Prof dr J Booij from the Department of Nuclear Medicine.

C. Diepenbroek PhD
J.D. Mul PhD

PhD Students
A. Joshi MSc
M. Ugur MSc
S.R. Ursem

L. Eggels BSc
K. Lamuadni
U.A. Unmehopa BSc

Current research funding
  • AMC
  • AMC (Vrijgesteld)
  • NWO