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Kelly Klump

Kelly Klump

MSU Foundation Professor of Psychology and Fellow, Academy for Eating Disorders

Kelly Klump is an expert in genetic and biological factors of eating disorders.

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Area of Expertise

Psychology Eating Disorders


The Klump lab studies the etiology of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and subthreshold variations of these disorders. Her lab is interested in understanding developmental differences in genetic risk factors across adolescence and adulthood, with a particular focus on the role of gonadal hormones in programming and activating risk across development.

Klump is also interested in the ways in which psychosocial (e.g., exposure to thin ideals, weight-based ... teasing) and psychological risk factors (e.g., personality traits like impulsivity) interact with genetic/biological risk and lead to eating pathology.

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University of Minnesota: Ph.D., Clinical Psychology | 1998

University of Minnesota: M.A., Clinical Psychology | 1996

Michigan State University: B.S., Psychology | 1993

Selected Press

Research Finds Ovarian Hormones Play Genes Like a Fiddle

Michigan State University | 2015-07-15

A complex relationship between genes, hormones and social factors can lead to eating disorders in women. Kelly Klump, Michigan State University eating disorder expert, has made monumental strides in deciphering how these factors interact. In her latest discovery, she has found that during the menstrual cycle, ovarian hormones act like a master conductor – they turn genetic risk on and off in the body...

Can this cycle spark eating disorder risk?

Futurity | 2014-12-16

“In our culture, we tend to view any increased eating by a woman as a negative thing, even when that gain is biologically and evolutionarily driven,” Klump says.

“This is a potentially dangerous chain of events that could lead to serious and life threatening eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. This can be especially problematic during the holidays.”

In a study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. Klump and co-lead author Britny Hildebrandt, a Michigan State graduate student, say future work in this area will try to determine what other factors, in addition to emotional eating, drive pathological eating disorder symptoms in women across reproductive and hormonal stages.