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Current Graduate Students

Amrita Arcot


Carmen Annevelink


Celeste Beck, MPH

Celeste Beck

Advisor: Alison Gernand

cxb1348@psu.edu

Research interests:
The relationship between nutritional factors and women’s reproductive health; nutritional epidemiology.

Education:
BS in Exercise Science, Brigham Young University, 2006

Master of Public Health, University of Utah, 2008

Publications:

  • Beard JD, Beck C, Graham R, Packham SC, Traphagan M, Giles R, et al. 2012. Winter temperature inversions and emergency department visits for asthma in Salt Lake County, Utah, 2003-2008. Environ Health Perspect 120:1385-1390.
  • Ansong D, Alder SC, Crookston BT, Beck C, Gyampomah T, Amuasi JH, et al. 2011. Role of diagnostic testing in schistosomiasis control programs in rural Ghana. J Bacteriol Parasitol 2:115.
  • Beck C, Ralls B, Giles R, Bullough R, Wagstaff S, Stinner W. 2010. Collection and utilization of family health history information in the health care setting: a case for asthma and diabetes. Utah’s Health: An Annual Review 15:7-1

Courses taught:
HS 370 Epidemiology, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Spring 2016 – Present


Mihaela Ciulei, MS, Ph.D. Student

Mihaela Ciulei

Advisor: Dr. Laura Murray-Kolb

mmc5819@psu.edu

Research interests:
Neuropsychological and neurophysiological consequences due to iron deficiency (anemia) mainly in women and children

Education:
BS: (Nutrition) University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2014
MS: (Nutritional Sciences) Penn State, 2017

Awards/honors/scholarships/fellowships/grants:
Excellence in Graduate Recruitment (FEGR) award: 2015-2016
Clinical and Translational Science NIH fellowship: 2016-2017
John Beard Endowment Award, 2017-2018

Courses taught:
NUTR 452: Nutritional Aspects of Disease
NUTR 445: Nutrient Metabolism (I)


Paige Cunningham, PhD Student

Paige Cunningham

Advisor: Dr. Barbara Rolls

pmc238@psu.edu

Research interests:
The mechanisms that drive eating behavior, with a focus on energy density, portion size, and sensory specific satiety.

Education:
BS (Psychology) Yale University

Awards/honors/scholarships:
Barbara J. Rolls Graduate Scholarship in Nutritional Sciences (2018)
The Alexander P. Hixon Fellowship (2017)

Recent Publications:
Wiedemann AA, Lawson JL, Cunningham PM, Khalvati KM, Lydecker JA, Ivezaj V, Grilo CM. Food Addiction among men and women in India. Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2018 Jul 12; Epub ahead of print.


Hanim Ecem Diktas (Elbir), PhD Student

Hanim Elbir

Advisor: Dr. Barbara Rolls

hee111@psu.edu

Research interests:
The effects of portion size and energy density of foods on eating and ingestive behaviors in adults and children.

Education:
BS: Nutrition and Dietetic, Istanbul Medipol University
MS: Nutrition and Dietetic, Istanbul Medipol University
Dietetic Internship: Minister of Health of the Republic of Turkey, Sadi Konuk Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey

Awards/honors/scholarships/fellowships/grants:
Istanbul Medipol University Integrated Master Program Scholarship (2014-2016)


Nan Dou

Nan Dou

Advisor: Dr. Muzi Na

nyd5083@psu.edu

Research interests:
Nutritional epidemiology; food insecurity and health disparity.

Education:
B.S. Nutritional Sciences – The Pennsylvania State University

M.S. Nutrition – University of Massachusetts Amherst

Awards/honors/scholarships:
Excellence in Graduate Recruitment (FEGR) Award (2018-2019)

UMass Amherst Department of Nutrition Peter L. Pellett Graduate Scholarship (2018)


Sally Grace Eagleton

Sally Grace Eagleton

Advisor: Jennifer Savage Williams

sge5@psu.edu

Research interests:
The influence of family factors commonly associated with poverty on child feeding and the development of childhood obesity.

Education:
BS (Psychology) The University of Tampa
MS (Human Development and Family Science) Oklahoma State University

Awards/honors/scholarships/fellowships/grants:
Oklahoma State University Mildred H. and John W. Skinner Graduate Fellowship (2015)


Ashley Flores

Advisors:
Dr. Xiang Gao
Dr. Gordon Jensen

acf5423@psu.edu

Research interests:
Nutritional Epidemiology
Neuroepidemiology

Education:
BS: Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, The University of Arizona

Awards/honors/scholarships:
Graham Endowed Fellowship (2019-2020)
Graduate Awards Pool (GAP) Award (2019-2020)
Excellence in Graduate Recruitment (FEGR) Award (2019-2020)


Bari Fuchs, Ph.D. Student

Bari Fuchs

Advisor: Kathleen Keller

baf44@psu.edu

Research interests:
Understanding the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms influencing eating behaviors in children and adolescents.

Education:
BS (Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology) - Emory University

Awards:
John A. Milner Endowment


Shue Huang

Shue Huang

Advisor: Dr. Xiang Gao and Dr. Gregory Shearer

sph5357@psu.edu

Research interests:
Nutritional Epidemiology focusing on cardiology

Education:
B Med, Preventive Medicine, Sichuan University, 2006
M Med., Nutrition and Food Hygiene, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Awards/honors/scholarships:
Excellence in Graduate Recruitment (FEGR) Award (2015-2016)
Penn State Department of Nutritional Sciences Travel Award,2016 Fall

Recent Publications:
1. Zhe Huang, Shue Huang, Hongliang Cong, Zheng Li, Junjuan Li, Kathleen L Keller, Gregory C. Shearer, Penny M Kris-Etherton, Shouling Wu, Xiang Gao. Smell and taste dysfunction are associated with higher total cholesterol concentrations in Chinese adults. Journal of Nutrition. 2017, 147(8):1546-1551.

2. Shue Huang, Li Junjuan, Gregory C. Shearer, Alice H. Lichtenstein, Xiaoming Zheng, Yuntao Wu, Cheng Jin, Shouling Wu, and Xiang Gao. Longitudinal study on alcohol consumption and HDL concentrations: a community-based study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017; 105:1-8

3. Timothy D. O’Connell, Robert C. Block, Shue Huang, Gregory C. Shearer. ω3-Polyunsaturated fatty acids for heart failure: Effects of dose on efficacy and novel signaling through free fatty acid receptor 4. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. 2017;103:74-92.

4. Wang Z, Huang S, Zhao Y, Zhao W, Liang X. [Role of vaccination in chronic disease prevention and control]. Zhonghua Yu Fang Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2015 Aug;49(8):757-60. Chinese. PubMed PMID: 26733040.

Courses TAed:
NUTR456 Community Nutrition, 2016 Fall
NUTR446 Nutrient Metabolism II, 2017 Fall


Emily Johnston, MPH, RD, CDE

Emily Johnston

Advisor: Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton

exj22@psu.edu

Research interests:
Nutrition education for medical students and residents; diabetes prevention and management

Education:
BS: (Nutrition) UNC Greensboro
MPH: Rutgers University

Awards/honors/scholarships:
Penn State 2017 Summer Translational Science Fellowship
John A Milner Endowment: Travel Funding

Recent Publications:
Johnston E, Beasley J, Jay M, et al. Practical Nutrition for the Primary Care Provider. iBook. Published November 29, 2017.
Johnston E, Mitchell, L, George, M. Kids with Food Allergies in an invaluable resource for nutrition counselors working with parents of children with food allergies; Presented at National WIC Association Conference.
Davidson P, Johnston E. Crowdsourcing 101: Implications for Healthcare Providers On the Cutting Edge, Diabetes Care and Education. 2016; 37(2): 33-38.

Courses TAed:
Nutrition 453


Yi-Hsuan (Lisa) Liu, MS, RD

Lisa Liu

Advisor: Drs. Xiang Gao and Gordon Jensen

yxl476@psu.edu

Research interests:
Dietary patterns and health outcomes in older adults

Education:
B.S. (Nutrition and Health Sciences)- Taipei Medical University, Taipei, Taiwan
Dietetic Internship- Taipei Medical University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
M.S. (Human Nutrition)- The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Awards/honors/scholarships:

o Penn State Nutritional Sciences Departmental Travel Award (2019)

o Clinical Emerging Leaders Award Competition, American Society for Nutrition (2019)

o Finalist, Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Competition, American Society for Nutrition annual meeting (2019)

o Penn State NIH-funded CTSI TL1 Fellowship (2018-2019)

o Penn State Nutritional Sciences Departmental Travel Award (2018)

o Finalist, Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Competition, American Society for Nutrition annual meeting (2018)

o American Society for Nutrition and North America Chinese Society for Nutrition Travel Award (2017)

o Finalist, Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Competition, Experimental Biology 2017

o Graham Endowed Fellowship, Penn State Graduate School (2016-2017)

Recent publication:

o Liu Y-H, Gao X, Mitchell DC, Wood C, Still CD, Jensen GL. Diet quality is associated with mortality in adults aged 80 years and older: a prospective study. J Am Geriatr Soc. August 2019. [Epub ahead of print]

o Liu Y-H, Gao X, Mitchell DC, Wood C, Bailey RK, Still CD, Jensen GL. Validation of a diet quality screening tool for oldest old. J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2019 Apr-Jun;38(2):196-204.

o Liu Y-H, Huang Z, Vaidya A, Li J, Curhan GC, Wu S, Gao X. A longitudinal study of altered taste and smell perception and change in blood pressure. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2018 Sep;28(9):877-883.

Courses TAed:
NUTR 452- Nutritional Aspects of Disease (Fall 2017)
NUTR 453- Diet in Disease (Fall 2018)


Chaoran Ma

Chaoran Ma

Advisor: Dr. Xiang Gao

cvm5720@psu.edu

Research interests:
Nutritional Epidemiology
Neuroepidemiology

Education:
B Med: (Clinical Medicine) Xi'an Jiaotong University, China
M Med: (Epidemiology and Biostatistics) Xi'an Jiaotong University, China

Awards/honors/scholarships:
• Ruth L. Pike Fellow. The Pennsylvania State University, 2019
• Best Poster Award. Penn State College of Medicine University Park Campus Research Symposium, 2019
• Contributions to Science Awards. Penn State Department of Nutritional Sciences, 2019
• Penn State Department of Nutritional Sciences Travel Award. 2018
• Contributions to Science Awards. Penn State Department of Nutritional Sciences, 2018
• Penn State Graduate Exhibition Awards – Second Place. 2017
• Penn State Department of Nutritional Sciences Travel Award. 2017
• America Society for Nutrition and North America Chinese Society for Nutrition Travel Award. 2016
• Finalist, America Society for Nutrition Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Competition, 2016
• Excellence in Graduate Recruitment Award. The Pennsylvania State University, 2015

Recent Publications:
Ma C, Gurol ME, Huang Z, Lichtenstein AH, Wang X, Wang Y, Neumann S, Wu S, Gao X. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and risk of intracerebral hemorrhage: a prospective study. Neurology 2019: 93:1-13.
Ma C, Pavlova M, Li J, Liu Y, Sun Y, Huang Z, Wu S, Gao X. Alcohol consumption and probable REM sleep behavior disorder: a community-based study. Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2018;5(10):1176–1183.
Ma C, Pavlova M, Liu Y, Liu Y, Huangfu C, Wu S, Gao X. Probable REM sleep behavior disorder and risk of stroke: A prospective study. Neurology 2017;88(19):1849-1855.
Ma C, Yin Z, Zhu P, Luo J, Shi X, Gao X. Blood cholesterol in late-life and cognitive decline: a longitudinal study of the Chinese elderly. Mol Neurodegener 2017;12(1):24.
Ma C, Liu Y, Neumann S, Gao X. Nicotine from cigarette smoking and diet and Parkinson Disease: A systematic review. Translational Neurodegeneration 2017;6:18.
Ma C, Bai L, Lei C, Wu C, Shi Q, Hu F, Hao Z, Ma L. Predictors of Visual and Anatomical Outcomes with Bevacizumab for Neovascular Age-related Macular Degeneration. Biomed Rep. 2015;3(4):503-508.

Courses TAed:
NUTR 452 Nutritional Aspects of Disease, Spring 2017
NUTR 445 Nutrient Metabolism I, Spring 2018
NUTR 452 Nutritional Aspects of Disease, Fall 2018


Katherine McNitt, RD, LDN

Katherine McNitt

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Savage Williams

kmm6054@psu.edu

Research interests:
Developing effective childhood obesity prevention interventions, with a focus on the first few years of life, in disadvantaged rural populations.

Education:

BS, Nutritional Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 2014

Dietetic Internship, Medical Nutrition Therapy, University of Houston, 2015

Awards/honors/scholarships:
Best Oral Presentation Award (Student/Staff Level), “Programming Effect of the Intrauterine Environment on Fetal Growth: Study Methods and Protocol,” Hershey, USA, 2016

Courses Taught:
TA for NUTR 456 Community Nutrition and NUTR 119 Elementary Foods

Recent Publications:

Symons Downs D, Savage Williams JS, Rivera DE, Smyth JM, Rolls BJ, Homan EE, McNitt KM, Kunselman AR, Stetter C, Pauley AM, Leonard KS, Guo P (JMIR Research Protocols. 2018 Jun 8;7(6):e150) Individually-Tailored, Adaptive Intervention to Manage Gestational Weight Gain: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial in Women with Overweight and Obesity.


Nick Neuwald


Raphia Ngoutane


Lois Oviawe


Ester Soojung Oh

Ester Oh

Advisor: Dr. Connie Rogers

sxo35@psu.edu

Research interests:
The effects of nutritional factors on inflammation and immune regulation.

Education:
B.S. (Nutritional Science & Food Management) - Ewha Womans University, South Korea
M.S. (Nutritional Science & Food Management) - Ewha Womans University, South Korea

Awards/honors/scholarships:
Clinical and Translational Science NIH fellowship: 2017-2018

Recent Publications:
Oh S., Lee, MS., Jung S., Kim, S., Park, H., Park S., Kim S., Kim, CT., Jo YH., Kim, IH., Kim, YH. Ginger extract increases muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and serum HDL-cholesterol level in high-fat diet-fed rats. J Funct Foods, 2017; 29:193-200.

Nicole Reigh, Ph.D Student

Nicole Reigh

Advisor: Dr. Kathleen Keller

nar5235@psu.edu

Research interests:
The development of evidence-based interventions to prevent childhood obesity and understanding the various factors that influence children’s compensation ability during meals.

Education:
B.S. (Nutritional Sciences)- The Pennsylvania State University


Cara Ruggiero, RD, Ph.D Student

Cara Ruggiero

Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Savage Williams

cfr8@psu.edu

Research interests:
Mixed methods research to design family-based childhood obesity prevention interventions in low income communities focusing on child feeding and growth during the first few years of life.

Education:
BS (Dietetics) University of Delaware
RD (Dietetic Internship) University of Maryland Medical Center

Recent Publications:
Sato, P. M., Steeves, E. A., Carnell, S., Cheskin, L. J., Trude, A. C., Shipley, C., . . . Gittelsohn, J. (2016). A youth mentor-led nutritional intervention in urban recreation centers: A promising strategy for childhood obesity prevention in low-income neighborhoods. Health Education Research, 31(2), 195-206. doi:10.1093/her/cyw011 [doi]

Yamaguchi, M., Steeves, E. A., Shipley, C., Hopkins, L. C., Cheskin, L. J., & Gittelsohn, J. (2016). Inconsistency between self-reported energy intake and body mass index among urban, african-american children. PloS One, 11(12), e0168303. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0168303 [doi]

Schwendler, T., Shipley, C., Budd, N., Trude, A., Surkan, P. J., Anderson Steeves, E., . . . Gittelsohn, J. (2017). Development and implementation. Health Promotion Practice, , 1524839917696716. doi:10.1177/1524839917696716 [doi]

Trude, A. C. B., Anderson Steeves, E., Shipley, C., Surkan, P. J., Sato, P. M., Estep, T., . . . Gittelsohn, J. (2017). A youth-leader program in baltimore city recreation centers: Lessons learned and applications. Health Promotion Practice, , 1524839917728048. doi:10.1177/1524839917728048 [doi]

Perepezko, K., Tingey, L., Sato, P., Rastatter, S., Ruggiero, C., & Gittelsohn, J. (2017). Partnering with carryouts: Implementation of a food environment intervention targeting youth obesity. Health Education Research, doi:10.1093/her/cyx078 [doi]

Gittelsohn, J., Trude, A. C., Poirier, L., Ross, A., Ruggiero, C., Schwendler, T., & Anderson Steeves, E. (2017). The impact of a multi-level multi-component childhood obesity prevention intervention on healthy food availability, sales, and purchasing in a low-income urban area. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(11), 10.3390/ijerph14111371. doi:E1371 [pii]

Ross, A., Krishnan, N., Ruggiero, C., Kerrigan, D., & Gittelsohn, J. (2017). A mixed methods assessment of the barriers and readiness for meeting the SNAP depth of stock requirements in baltimore's small food stores. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, , 1-15. doi:10.1080/03670244.2017.1416362 [doi]


Philip A. Sapp, MS

Advisor: Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton

pzs5199@psu.edu

Research interests:
The effect of diet and exercise on cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Education:

B.S. Nutritional Sciences- Pennsylvania State University
M.S. Exercise and Nutrition Science- Lipscomb University

Awards/honors/scholarships:
2018-2019 Excellence in Graduate Recruitment (FEGR)

Recent Publications:
Sapp, PA., Townsend, JR., Vantrease, WC., Marshall, AC., and Johnson, KD. The Effects of Dietary Manipulations on Ultrasound Assessment of Muscle Size and Quality: A Pilot Study. Journal of Exercise and Nutrition. In Press.

Townsend JR, Bender D, Vantrease WC, Sapp PA, Toy AM, Woods CA, Johnson KD. Effects of Probiotic (Bacillus subtilis DE111) Supplementation on Immune Function, Hormonal Status, and Physical Performance in Division I Baseball Players. Sports. In Press.


Teresa Schwendler


Anita Subramanian

Anita Subramanian

Advisor: Dr. Alison Gernand

afs5465@psu.edu

Research interests:
Understanding the role of vitamin D during pregnancy and its effect on pregnancy outcomes and association with placental growth.

Education:
BA: (Nutrition) College of St. Benedict
MS: (Dietetics and Food Service Management) Indira Gandhi National Open University, India
Dietetic Internship: Dr. B.L. Kapur Super Specialty Hospital, New Delhi, India

Awards/honors/scholarships/fellowships/grants:
Ruth L.Pike Scholarship in Basic Nutrition Science (2016-2017)
Excellence in Graduate Recruitment (FEGR) Award (2015-2016)
UGC-NET, qualified for eligibility of Assistant Professor, June 2014, India

Courses TAed:
NUTR 425: Global Nutrition Problems: Health, Science and Ethics
NUTR 451: Nutrition Throughout the Life Cycle


Valerie Sullivan

Valerie Sullivan

Advisor: Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton

vks5014@psu.edu

Research interests:
The effects of whole foods and their nutritional components on cardiometabolic risk factors.

Education:
B.S. Nutritional Sciences - Schreyer Honors College, Penn State University
Dietetic Internship: Sodexo Allentown

Awards/honors/scholarships/fellowships/grants:
College of Health and Human Development Alumni Recognition for Student Excellence (2011)
College of Health and Human Development Honors Scholarship (2007-2011)


Hannah VanEvery, Ph.D Student

Hannah Van Every

Advisor: Dr. Connie Rogers

hqv5028@psu.edu

Research interests:
The role of nutritional factors in gut health, inflammation, and immune function.

Education:
BS: (Chemical & Biological Engineering) Iowa State University

Awards/honors/scholarships/fellowships/grants:
University Graduate Fellowship
Penn State CTSI TL1 Predoctoral Fellowship Award
John A. Milner Endowment

Recent Publications:
Aurigemma N, Koltun KJ, VanEvery H, Rogers CJ, De Souza MJ. Linking the gut microbiota to bone health in anorexia nervosa. Current Osteoporosis Reports, in press. (2017)

Courses Taught:
NUTR 446 (TA: Spring 2017)
NUTR 445 (TA: Spring 2018)


Rachel Walker, MS, Ph.D. Student

Rachel Walker

Advisor: Dr. Greg Shearer

Research interests:
The role of lipids, lipoproteins, and lipid metabolism on initiation and resolution of inflammatory processes and diseases. Mechanisms by which lipids initiate or resolve chronic diseases and inflammation. Maternal nutrition and inflammation and its effect on child nutrition through lactation.

Education:
BS (Biology Education) Penn State University
MS (Exercise Science and Wellness) Old Dominion University

Awards/honors/scholarships:
Penn State Nutritional Sciences Ruth Pike Graduate Fellowship Award (2018)
ATVB Travel Award for Young Investigators, AHA Scientific Sessions (2016)
Penn State Graduate School Graham Fellowship (2014-2015)
Excellence in Graduate Recruitment (FEGR) Award (2014-2015)
Old Dominion University Graduate Award in Exercise Science and Wellness (2011)

Recent Publications:
Walker RE, Swain DP, Ringleb SI, Colberg SR. Effect of added mass on treadmill performance and pulmonary function. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Apr; 29(4):882-8.
Singh V, Chassaing B, Zhang L, Yeoh BS, Xiao X, Kumar M, Baker MT, Cai J, Walker R, Borkowski K, Harvatine KJ, Singh N, Shearer GC, Ntambi JM, Joe B, Patterson AD, Gewirtz AT, Vijay-Kumar M. Microbiota-dependent hepatic lipogenesis mediated by stearoyl CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) promotes metabolic syndrome in TLR5-deficient mice. Cell Metabolism. 2015 Oct; 22(6):983-96.

Courses Taught:
NUTR 445 – Macronutrient Metabolism (TA: Spring 2015)
NUTR 100 – Contemporary Nutrition Concerns (Instructor: Spring 2016)


Courtney Whalen, Ph.D. Student

Courtney Whalen

Advisor: Dr. A. Catharine Ross

caw400@psu.edu

Research interests:
The impact of B vitamins and methionine on the development of atherosclerosis, a main cause of cardiovascular disease.

Education:
BA (Biology) – Emmanuel College


Xinyuan (Cindy) Zhang, Ph.D. Student

Cindy Zhang

Adviser: Dr. Xiang Gao

xxz241@psu.edu

Research interests:
Nutritional epidemiology – Association between nutrients, dietary patterns, genes and health outcomes.

Education:
BSc, Biological Sciences, Fudan University, 2017

Recent publications:
Wu S, Jin C, Li S, Zheng X, Zhang X, Cui L, Gao X. Aging, atrial stiffness, and blood pressure association. (Under review)

Zhang X, Yi T, Gao X, Jin C, Zhang R, Chen S, Cui L, Li S, Wu S. Arterial stiffness mediates the association between serum uric acid and blood pressure. (Under review)