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Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D. - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D. Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D.

Founding Director, UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders | UNC-Chapel Hill


World-renowned expert on eating disorders and disordered eating. Led the largest genetic initiative in eating disorders ever undertaken



Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D. Publication Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D. Publication Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D. Publication Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D. Publication Cynthia M. Bulik, Ph.D. Publication



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Dr. Bulik holds the first endowed professorship in eating disorders in the United States and is also Founding Director of the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. A clinical psychologist by training, Dr. Bulik has been conducting research and treating individuals with eating disorders since 1982. She developed outpatient, partial hospitalization, and inpatient services for eating disorders both in New Zealand and in the United States.

Dr. Bulik's research includes treatment, laboratory, animal, epidemiological, twin and molecular genetic studies of eating disorders and body weight regulation. More recently she has applied information technology to the treatment of eating disorders and obesity to broaden the public health reach of our interventions. She founded and led the 18-country Genetic Consortium for Anorexia Nervosa and is the lead Principal Investigator of the four nation Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative (ANGI). She is the Director of the first NIMH-sponsored Post-Doctoral Training Program in Eating Disorders. She has had continuous federal, international, and foundation funding since 1985.

Areas of Expertise (3)

Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders/Disordered Eating

Abnormal Psychology

Education (5)

University of Notre Dame: B.A., Psychology

University of California at Berkeley: M.A., Clinical Psychology

University of California at Berkeley: Ph.D., Clinical Psychology

National Institute of Mental Health and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Clinical Research

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: Postdoctoral Fellowship, MacArthur Network I Research Fellow

Affiliations (10)

  • Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders Department of Psychiatry School of Medicine
  • Professor of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet Stockholm Sweden
  • Professor of Nutrition Gillings School of Global Public Health
  • Founding Director UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders
  • Co-Director UNC Center for Psychiatric Genomics
  • Past President Academy for Eating Disorders
  • Past Vice-President of the Eating Disorders Coalition
  • Past Associate Editor of the International Journal of Eating Disorders
  • Founding Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Binge Eating Disorder Association
  • Member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Global Foundation for Eating Disorders

Media Appearances (5)

How To Cope With An Eating Disorder Over The Holidays

Huffington Post  online


The season is also challenging because it's ripe with emotions, says Cynthia Bulik, director of research at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill's Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders. Just think of anyChristmas song or the childhood feelings – good or bad – that often reemerge when you return home, she says.

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Could the Microbiome Cure Eating Disorders?

The Daily Beast  online


UNC eating disorders researcher Cynthia Bulik is spearheading two different studies looking at the microbiome in eating disorders. One of them, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, will track the microbiomes of 100 people with anorexia from the time they’re first admitted to the hospital until they are discharged at a healthier weight, and even beyond. The other study has paired with biotech startup uBiome to gather microbiome samples from people with anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder from around the U.S. to gain a more comprehensive picture of eating disorders and the microbiome. Bulik and other eating disorder experts hope that these studies will help tease apart the biology of eating disorders and provide new insights into treatment.

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Meet The Woman Behind A New Understanding Of Eating Disorders

WUNC  radio


Cynthia Bulik grew up as a lover of international language and culture. She was the first in her family to leave the dry cleaning business and go to college, and she was determined to study diplomacy and international relations. But when she was required to take a psychology class her freshman year at The University of Notre Dame, it changed the course of her life. Bulik is now considered a psychology pioneer and is a world leader in the study of eating disorders.

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Mid-life eating disorders on the rise

CBS This Morning  tv


In the past decade, eating disorder treatment centers have seen a nearly 50 percent jump in the number of people over 35 seeking help. Dr. Cynthia Bulik discusses her book on the topic.

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Eating disorders affect women over 50 too, new study says

CBS This Morning  tv


A new study reveals young women are not the only ones who suffer from eating disorders. The survey of 1,900 women, aged 50 or over, found 13 percent of them admitted having an eating disorder; 8 percent reported purging; and 62 percent said their weight or shape has a negative effect on their lives. Dr. Cynthia Bulik led the study. She is the Director of the University of North Carolina's Eating Disorders Program and the author of "The Woman in the Mirror."

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