Survival requires responding to constantly changing conditions. Over time, evolution has selected for neural circuits that ensure robust and adaptive responses to survival needs. My lab is focused on uncovering the neural circuits and mechanisms that prioritize these behaviors. A key survival need for all organisms is ensuring ‘adaptive food intake’. In other words, it is necessary to obtain sufficient food, often in the face of competing needs, but also to avoid overconsumption. In this seminar, I will share our work that has been directed towards three main objectives: (1) defining the mechanisms by which hypothalamic circuits influence food intake; (2) identifying previously uncharacterized brain regions, neurons and circuits that regulate hunger; and (3) understanding how individuals prioritize hunger against competing needs.