PhD Student Profiles

Current PhD Student Profiles

haneen bou ghanemHaneen Bou Ghanem is interested in studying the effects of early life exposures on health outcomes and the biosocial and environmental factors that impact children's growth and development during sensitive developmental periods. She is also interested in exploring the unresolved molecular mechanisms in which maternal health and environmental exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding influence the offspring's health and wellbeing, increasing their risk of obesity, and metabolic syndrome. During her PhD, she will be working on the available data for three generations from the ELEMENT cohort study under the supervision of my advisor Professor Peterson. 

aria grabowskiAria Grabowski is interested in understanding how maternal diet and environmental exposure to toxicants during pregnancy and lactation impacts fetal growth, breast milk composition, and subsequent offspring outcomes.

Zachary GerstenZachary Gersten studies how food systems shape the nutritional outcomes of vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income settings. He uses dynamic modeling and qualitative research approaches to map the multi-level and nonlinear processes inherent to food systems and assess how these processes respond to stressors, such as food and nutrition policies, environmental degradation, and climate change. 

Elizabeth Ludwig-BoryczElizabeth Ludwig-Borycz researches sustainable diets with a particular focus on equity within the food systems before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Molly MulcahyMolly Mulcahy began the doctoral program in 2018, as a member of the Bridges lab. Her research involves the study of time-restricted feeding in the context of pregnancy. She is working to investigate the effects of this practice on maternal insulin resistance and offspring early health outcomes. Her research includes basic science and human observational models.

Carmen RamosCarmen Ramos is broadly interested in the association between diverse family dynamics, including coparenting andco-habitating grandparents, and the home food and weight-related environment in preschool-aged children.

Yanelli Rodríguez CarmonaYanelli Rodríguez Carmona. I am primarily interested in studying interactions between environmental and nutritional exposures, and their inflammatory potential in the development of chronic diseases.

Graduates of PhD-Nutritional Sciences

Kelley BortonKelley Borton, MPH is focusing on nutritional epidemiology and is also currently pursuing her dietetic internship at the University of Michigan.  She is interested in nutrition advice as well as weight stigmatizing messages portrayed in reality weight loss television, as well as weight misperception in adolescents and its association to weight related health behaviors.  In addition, Kelley is interested in the relationship between social media use and body satisfaction, and the implications on the prevention of disordered eating.

James CaseyJames Casey, MS is looking at the identification of diet analysis using metabolomics.  James is also interested in identifying specific metabolomic pattern changes due to obesity, exercise, and changes in diet.

Ellen DavisEllen Davis, BS is interested in how the metabolism interacts with the immune system.  Specifically, she studies the signaling between the cytokine interleukin-6 and GLP-1, an important regulator of glucose, during sepsis.

Aarohee FulayAarohee Fulay is broadly interested in investigating how food insecurity, food access, and the food environment (nutrition policies and programs, etc.) impact dietary quality, chronic disease risk, and overall well-being in vulnerable populations. I am particularly interested in studying the association of food insecurity with dietary quality and chronic disease risk in children, adolescents, and college students.

Noura El HabbalNoura El Habbal 

Samantha Hahn, MPH, RD Samantha Hahn, MPH, RD is a PhD Candidate interested in eating disorder prevention and the unintended consequences of public health efforts to prevent and treat overweight/obesity. Her dissertation focuses on the use of weight-related self-monitoring, such as calorie counting or physical activity tracking, and how it impacts eating disorder risk among college students. Outside of her dissertation, she has focused on the health-related implications of weight misperception and weight stigma.

Jennifer LaBarreJennifer LaBarre, MPH, RD research interests includes studying how nutrition influences metabolism during sensitive periods in human growth and development leading to an increased chronic disease risk.  Jen's dissertation will test the hypothesis that nutrient exposures in utero, as reflected in the metabolome, has a direct influence on the development of the offspring and the offspring's epigenome.  Further, the metabolic pathways modified by intrauterine exposure will be reflected in the metabolome of the infant at birth and these altered metabolomic profiles will be identified in adolescents with phenotypic characteristics of excess adiposity and progression towards insulin resistance.  Upon completion of these studies, she hopes to develop the necessary information to form a model for how intrauterine exposure can lead to altered metabolism in later life.

Nathalie LambrechtNathalie Lambrecht is interested in promoting human nutrition and health within ecologically sustainable food systems. Her dissertation investigates the linkages between household livestock ownership and anemia among young Ghanaian children, assessing both the nutritional benefits of animal-source food consumption and the infectious disease risks of exposure to enteric pathogens from animal feces. Nathalie also researches sustainable diets and linkages with planetary health.

Astrid ZamoraAstrid Zamora research interests include metabolic health, enviornmental exposures, nutritional epidemiology.