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Laura Murray-Kolb
Laura E. Murray-Kolb
Professor-in-Charge of the Graduate Program
Associate Professor
Summary Statement

Micronutrient deficiencies (primarily iron); mother-child interactions; child development; cognition and affect; biofortification

  • Nutritional Sciences - NUTR
  • Graduate Program
  • Graduate Professor-in-Charge
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  • Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2003
  • M.S., The Pennsylvania State University, 1998
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Currently Accepting Graduate Students
Office Address
219 Chandlee Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802
Professional Credentials


Grants and Research Projects
  • Micronutrient deficiencies (primarily iron)
  • Mother-child interactions
  • Child development
  • Cognition and affect
  • Biofortification
  • Pobee RA, Aguree S, Colecraft EK, Gernand AD, Murray-Kolb LE. Food insecurity and micronutrient status among Ghanaian women planning to become pregnant. Nutrients (2020) 12(2): 470; doi:10.3390/nu12020470.

  • Mahfuz M, Murray-Kolb LE, Hasna SMT, Das S, Fahim SM, Alam MA, Caulfield LE, Ahmed T. Why do children in slums suffer from anemia, iron, zinc and vitamin A deficiency? Results from a birth cohort study in Dhaka. Nutrients (2019) 11(12): 3025; doi:10.3390/nu11123025.

  • McCormick BJJ, Murray-Kolb LE, Lee GO, Schulze K, Ross AC, Bauck AD, Lima AAM, Maciel BLL, Kosek MN, Seidman JC, Ambikapathi R, Bose A, John S, Kang G, Turab A, Mduma E, Bessong P,Shrekstha SK, Ahmed T, Olortegui MP, Mahfuz M, Butta Z, Caulfield LE; on behalf of MAL-ED Network Investigators. Intestinal permeability and inflammation mediate the association between nutrient density of complementary foods and biochemical measures of micronutrient status in young children: results from the MAL-ED study. Am J Clin Nutr. (2019) 110:1015-1025.

  • Gernand AD, Aguree SS, Pobee R, Colecraft EK, Murray-Kolb LE. Concurrent micronutrient deficiencies are low and micronutrient status is not related to common health indicators in Ghanaian women expecting to become pregnant. Curr Dev Nutr. (2019) 3:nzz053.

  • McCormick BJJ, Richard SR, Caulfield LE, Pendergast L, Seidman JC, Koshy B, Roshan R, Shrestha R, Svensen E, Blacy L, Rasmussen Z, Maphula A, Scharf R, Nahar B, Haque S, Rasheed M, Oria R, Rogawski ET, Murray-Kolb LE; on behalf of MAL-ED Network Investigators. Early life child micronutrient status, maternal reasoning and a nurturing household environment have persistent influences on child cognitive development at age 5 years: Results from MAL-ED. J Nutr. (2019) 149:1460-1469

  • Wenger MJ, Rhoten SE, Murray-Kolb LE, Scott SP, Boy E, Gahutu JB, Haas JD. Changes in iron status are related to changes in brain activity and behavior in Rwandan female university students: Results from a randomized controlled efficacy trial involving iron-biofortified beans. J Nutr. (2019) 149:687-697.

  • Petkus DL, Murray-Kolb LE, Scott SP, Southmayd EA, De Souza MJ. Iron status at opposite ends of the menstrual function spectrum. J Trace Elem Med Biol. (2019) 51:169-175.

  • Wenger MJ, DellaValle D, Murray-Kolb LE, Haas JD. Effect of iron deficiency on simultaneous measures of behavior, brain activity, and energy expenditure in the performance of a cognitive task. Nutr Neurosci. (2019) 22:196-206.

  • Pendergast LL, Schaefer BA, Murray-Kolb LE, Svensen E, Shrestha R, Rasheed MA, Scharf RJ, Kosek M, Vasquez AO, Maphula A, Costa H, Rasmussen ZA, Yousafzai A, Tofail F, Seidman JC; on behalf of the MAL-ED Network Investigators. Assessing development across cultures: Invariance of the Bayley-III scales across seven international MAL-ED sites. Sch Psychol Q. (2018) 33:604-614.

  • Murray-Kolb LE. Examining consequences of brain iron deficiency in the absence of anemia. J Nutr. (2018) 148:1511-1512.  (Invited commentary)

  • MAL-ED Network Investigators. Illness, diet, enteropathogens, and the home environment interact to affect early childhood cognitive development: findings from the MAL-ED multi-country birth cohort study (writing group: Murray-Kolb LE, Pendergast LP, Caulfield LE, Schaefer BA, McCormick BJJ). BMJ Glob Health. (2018) 3(4):e000752.

  • Scott SP, Murray-Kolb LE, Wenger MJ, Udipi SA, Ghugre PS, Boy E, Haas J. Cognitive performance in Indian school-going adolescents is positively affected by consumption of iron-biofortified pearl millet: A 6-month randomized controlled efficacy trial. J Nutr. (2018) 148:1462-1471.

  • Scharf RJ, Rogawski ET, Murray-Kolb LE, Maphula A, Svensen E, Tofail F, Rasheed M, Abreu C, Vasquez AO, Shrestha R, Pendergast L, Mduma E, Koshy B, Conaway MR, Platts-Mills JA, Guerrant RL, DeBoer MD. Early childhood growth and cognitive outcomes: Findings from the MAL-ED study. Matern Child Nutr. (2018) 14:e12584.

  • Chen-Edinboro LP, Murray-Kolb LE, Simonsick EM, Ferrucci L, Allen R, Payne ME, Spira AP. Association between non-iron-deficient anemia and insomnia symptoms in community-dwelling older adults: the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. (2018) 73:380-385.

  • Murray-Kolb LE, Wenger MJ, Scott SP, Rhoten SE, Lung'aho MG, Haas JD. Consumption of iron-biofortified beans positively affects cognitive performance in 18 – 27 year old Rwandan female college students in an 18-week randomized controlled efficacy trial. J Nutr. (2017) 147:2109-2117.

  • Sekhar DL, Murray-Kolb LE, Kunselman AR, Weisman CS, Paul IM. Association between menarche and iron deficiency in non-anemic young women. PLoS ONE. (2017) 12:e0177183.

  • Scott SP and Murray-Kolb LE. Iron status is associated with performance on executive function tasks in nonanemic young women. J Nutr. (2016) 146:30-37.

  • Murray-Kolb LE, Rasmussen ZA, Scharf RJ, Rasheed MA, Svensen E, Seidman JC, Tofail F, Koshy B, Shrestha R, Maphula A, Vasquez AO, da Costa HP, Yousafzai AK, Oria RB, Roshan R, Bayyo EB, Kosek M, Shrestha S, Schaefer BA, Bessong P, Ahmed T, Lang D; on behalf of the MAL-ED Network Investigators. The MAL-ED Cohort Study:  Methods and lessons learned when assessing early child development and caregiving mediators in infants and young children in 8 low- and middle-income countries. Clin Infect Dis. (2014) 59 Suppl 4:S261-S272.

Additional Information

Courses Taught

  • NUTR 425 - Global Nutrition Problems
  • NUTR 451 - Nutrition throughout the Life Cycle
  • NUTR 452 - Nutritional Aspects of Disease
  • NUTR 502 - Regulation of Nutrient Metabolism II
  • NUTR 583 - Nutritional Epidemiology