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Biobehavioral Health
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Lindsay Fernández-Rhodes, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Mailing Address: 108 Biobehavioral Health Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 1 (814) 863-0185


Education & Training:
  • 2022 Social Science Research Institute Faculty Fellow, Pennsylvania State University
  • 2019-present Adjunct Assistant Professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2016-2018 Post-doctoral Scholar, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2009-2016 PhD in Epidemiology and Global Health Graduate Certificate, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2009-2011 MSPH in Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2007-2009 Post-baccalaureate Fellow, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
  • 2003-2007 BS in Biology, College of Arts & Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Courses Taught:


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Margarita (Maggie) Hernandez

Maggie ( is a Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology program at Penn State. Her research interests include understanding how genomics, migration history, and sociocultural factors as associated with adverse health outcomes. For her dissertation, she will be working with Cuban immigrants and Cuban-Americans living in Miami, Florida with a specific focus on differences in disease outcomes among Cuban migration waves. Maggie is also passionate about education, teaching, and scientific outreach/engagement. 

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Brooke Mattern

Brooke ( is a graduate student in BBH. Within the Epi-GaPS lab, Brooke is interested in the study of psychosocial stressors, obesity and maternal-child health.

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Hridya Rao

Hridya ( is an international student at PSU who did her engineering in Biotechnology from VIT, India and completed her masters in Bioethics at Wake Forest University, NC. As a dual-title Biobehavioral and Clinical and Translational Science doctoral candidate, she is combining her knowledge of genetics and epidemiology to study reproductive diseases (e.g. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and to advance precision medicine initiatives. During academic year 2021-2022, she was a Translational Research (TL1) scholar with the PSU Clinical and Translational Science Institute. She is currently an American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellow (2024-present).

Portrait of Yao Tu

Yao Tu

Yao ( is a PhD student in the MCIBS program. She got her bachelor's degree in Biotechnology at SUSTech, China. With a background in Biology, she is now studying the genetic loci of CVD diseases in Hispanic/Latino populations

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Faizah A. Alshehri

Faizah ( has developed a passion for Epigenetics in population research and Bioethics. She is the Co-Founder and a board member of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at her previous institution. Faizah is passionate about academia, education, volunteerism, and scientific research.

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Hannah Montminy

Hannah ( is an undergraduate and is majoring in Biobehavioral Health, with minors in biology and global health. As a member of Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College, she will be working with Dr. Fernandez-Rhodes to write her honors thesis on the association between maternal stressors and childhood obesity, particularly among Hispanics and Latinos living in the U.S. After undergraduate school she plans to apply to Physician’s Assistant programs. 

Research Assistants

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Emily Bromirski

Emily Bromirski ( is a research assistant for the Epi-GaPS lab. She is a December 2023 Penn State graduate with a B.S. in Biobehavioral Health and a minor in Psychology. During her undergraduate career, Emily was a learning assistant for BBH 310 (Research Strategies for Studying Biobehavioral Health) and BBH 411W (Research Applications in Biobehavioral Health). As an aspiring genetic counselor, Emily is interested in genetics research and advocacy. 

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Everlyn Santana Aponte

Everlyn ( is a research assistant at the Epi-GaPS Lab, who acquired her Biology degree and Masters in Public Health from the University of Puerto Rico. She completed her medical studies in 2023 from the University of Medical and Health Sciences. With her combination in clinical experience and passion for health disparities, she is eager to help with the further development of studies to benefit the Latinx communities.  Her favorite topics are psychology, psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, microbiology, epidemiology, health literacy, and emergency preparedness.