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The world-class faculty in Penn State’s Nutritional Sciences Department actively engage in cutting-edge research that expands the body of knowledge in our field, while also acting as mentors to our graduate students.

In keeping with our innovative and interdisciplinary mission in Nutritional Sciences, the research possibilities here are extensive and diverse, covering domains such as nutritional epidemiology, public health issues in low-income and middle-income countries, food marketing and childhood obesity, best practices in online and hybrid learning — and much more.

Cindy Adams, PhD
cca5153@psu.edu
Instructor and Academic Advisor

Rita Castro, PhD
mum689@psu.edu
Research Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Homocysteine metabolism; genetic and non-genetic determinants of hyperhomocysteinemia; and the molecular mechanisms through which hyperhomocysteinemia causes endothelial dysfunction and vascular disease

Mary Dean Coleman Kelly, Ph.D., MS, RD
mdc15@psu.edu
Didactic Program Director, Assistant Professor, and Professor In Charge of the Undergraduate Program

Brenda Eissenstat, MS, RD
bre2@psu.edu
Senior Instructor and Lead Academic Adviser

Jennifer Fleming, MS, RD, LDN
jas58@psu.edu
Instructor
Research Interests: The effects of diet on risk factors for cardiovascular disease; macronutrient content of the diet and energy balance

Dara Wheeler Ford, PhD, RDN
djw5083@psu.edu
Instructor

Xiang Gao, MD, Ph.D.
xxg14@psu.edu
Associate Professor, Director of Nutritional Epidemiology Lab
Research Interests: Nutritional epidemiology; sleep disorders; neurological diseases; aging; and global health and stress, using data from several large international ongoing prospective cohorts — including the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, and the Kailuan Cohort — in which ~500,000 men and women have been followed regarding their lifestyles and health conditions

Alison D. Gernand, PhD, MPH, RD
adg14@psu.edu
Ann Atherton Hertzler Early Career Professor in Global Health, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences
Research Interests: Micronutrient deficiencies (in particular, vitamin D); pregnancy and prepregnancy maternal nutritional status; placenta (growth, vascular development and angiogenesis, pathology); adverse pregnancy outcomes (fetal growth restriction and SGA, preeclampsia, preterm birth); plasma volume and biomarker concentrations; public health issues in low-income and middle-income countries.

Michael H. Green, Ph.D.
mhg@psu.edu
Professor
Research Interests: Vitamin A metabolism; tracer kinetics/mathematical modeling; lipoprotein metabolism; lipid absorption; Vitamin A delivery to milk.

Kathleen L. Keller, Ph.D.
klk37@psu.edu
Associate Professor / Department of Nutritional Sciences / Department of Food Science
Research Interests: Eating behaviors in children; neural mechanisms of taste preference and eating behaviors in children; food marketing and childhood obesity; genetic and neural influences in taste in children

Shawnee M. Kelly, MS, RDN, LDN
smc28@psu.edu
Coordinator of MPS & Senior Instructor

Lynn Parker Klees, MA, RD, CDE, LDN
lgp2@psu.edu
Senior Instructor

Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., RD
pmk3@psu.edu
Distinguished Professor of Nutrition
Research Interests: Effects of diet on established and emerging risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Denise Conforti Lawson, MS, RD
dmc209@psu.edu
Dietetic Internship Director and Instructor

Jennifer Meengs, MS, RD
jas138@psu.edu
Instructor of Foods Lab

Laura E. Murray-Kolb, Ph.D.
lem118@psu.edu
Associate Professor and Professor-in-Charge of the Graduate Program
Research Interests: Micronutrient deficiencies (primarily iron); mother-child interactions; child development; cognition and affect; biofortification

Muzi Na, PhD, MHS
muzi.na@psu.edu
Assistant Professor in Nutritional Epidemiology, Department of Nutritional Sciences
Research Interests: Maternal and child nutrition; infant and young child feeding practices; food insecurity; innovative quantitative methods in nutrition research

Gina Pazzaglia, PhD, RDN
gps3@psu.edu
Director of the Online Master's Program Instructor of Nutritional Sciences Outreach Associate Professor
Research Interests: Pedagogy; best practices in teaching and learning; cultural competence and diversity skills; best practices in online and hybrid learning; nutrition education and health in the Latino population

Connie J. Rogers, Ph.D., M.P.H.
cjr102@psu.edu
Associate Professor
Research Interests: Role of changes in energy balance and related nutritional factors on inflammation; immune regulation and cancer risk using both animal models and human subjects

Barbara J. Rolls, Ph.D.
bjr4@psu.edu
Helen A. Guthrie Chair and Professor
Research Interests: Psychological and environmental controls of food intake and food selection in normal weight and obese humans; dietary strategies for weight management

A. Catharine Ross, Ph.D.
acr6@psu.edu
Professor and Occupant of Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair and Department Head
Research Interests: Vitamin A/retinoid metabolism; hepatic retinoid function and gene expression; Vitamin A in infection and immunity; Vitamin A and lung development in neonatal period

Gregory Shearer, PhD
gcs13@psu.edu
Associate Professor
Research Interests: The consequences of over-nutrition and the stress of "western diets" related to lipid mediators and a global shift of dietary fatty acids; identifying markers of disease and better ways to prevent or manage disease

Matam Vijay-Kumar (Vijay), PhD
mvk13@psu.edu
Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Host metabolic adaptations to inflammation; the interplay between intestinal inflammation and metabolic disorders; innate immunity-gut microbiotal interactions in metabolic diseases; understanding the mechanisms by which the innate immune response helps in the gut microbiotal homeostasisct against insults such as chemicals, viruses and radiation; Lipocalin 2 - mediated iron homeostasis in inflammation

Jennifer Savage Williams, Ph.D.
jfs195@psu.edu
Assistant Professor; Director, Center for Childhood Obesity Research
Research Interests: Developing individualized, adaptive prenatal and postnatal interventions to promote health across the lifespan; examining the effects of responsive parenting on children’s development of eating behaviors and health outcomes; building community partnerships to develop efficient and effective interventions that use electronic-health, multimedia technology to target low-income mothers to reduce children’s intake of “empty calories”