Department of Nutritional Sciences (NUTR) Faculty Directory

Alison Borkowska, Ph.D.
Ph.D., University of California, 2012
Research Interests:

Kristine Clark, Ph.D., RD
Director Sports Nutrition; Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 1992
Research Interests:

Sports Nutrition

Mary Dean Coleman Kelly, Ph.D., MS, RD
Didactic Program Director, Assistant Professor, and Professor In Charge of the Undergraduate Program
Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
MS, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Research Interests:

Rebecca L. Corwin, Ph.D., RD
Professor of Nutritional Neuroscience
Ph.D., University of Chicago (Chicago), 1989
Research Interests:

Behavioral neurobiology of binge eating and fat intake.

Brenda Eissenstat, MS, RD
Senior Instructor and Lead Academic Adviser
M.S., Utah State University (1986)
Research Interests:

Dara Wheeler Ford, PhD, RDN
PhD, The Pennsylvania State University, 2013
Research Interests:

Xiang Gao, MD, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Director of Nutritional Epidemiology Lab
M.S., Peking Union Medical College & Chinese Academy for Medical Science, 2001
Ph.D., Tufts University, 2005
M.D., Shanghai Second Medical University, 1994
Research Interests:

Dr Gao’s research interests include nutritional Epidemiology, sleep disorders, neurological diseases, aging, global health and stress. Data from several large international ongoing prospective cohorts have been used, in which approximately ~500,000 men and women have been followed regarding their lifestyles and health conditions. These cohorts include the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, and the Kailuan Cohort.

Alison D. Gernand, PhD, MPH, RD
Ann Atherton Hertzler Early Career Professor in Global Health, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences
PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2011
MPH, University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston, 2003
Research Interests:
  • Micronutrient deficiencies
  • Pregnancy and prepregnancy maternal nutritional status
  • Fetal and placental growth and development
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Public health issues in low-income countries

Michael H. Green, Ph.D.
Professor and Interim Department Head
Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley), 1973
Research Interests:

Vitamin A metabolism

Tracer kinetics/mathematical modeling

Lipoprotein metabolism

Lipid absorption

Vitamin A delivery to milk

Shannon L. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Associate Professor Nutritional Sciences, Surgery and Cell & Molecular Physiology
Ph.D., Nutrition, University of California, Davis
Research Interests:

The role of maternal genetics and diet on mammary gland function and breast health. We focus on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms which regulate zinc metabolism in breast cells during lactation and how these mechanisms are dysregulated in breast cancer.

Kathleen L. Keller, Ph.D.
Mark T. Greenberg Early Career Professor for Children’s Health and Development, Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences and Department of Food Science
Ph.D., Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ (2002)
Research Interests:

We study eating behaviors in young children, in particular, how do they develop and how are they related to risk for obesity later in life. We are using techniques such as brain imaging and genetic screening to provide insight into the biological underpinnings of eating behavior and food preferences in children. Also, we are researching the impact of food marketing and branding on these eating behaviors.

  • 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, RD
Senior Instructor and Academic Adviser
M.S., Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2005
Research Interests:

Lynn Parker Klees, MA, RD, CDE, LDN
M.A. Oakland University, 1983
Research Interests:

Penny M. Kris-Etherton, Ph.D., RD
Distinguished Professor of Nutrition
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1978
Research Interests:

The effects of diet on established and emerging risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Denise Conforti Lawson, MS, RD, LDN
Dietetic Internship Director and Instructor
MS in Nutrition, Tufts University, 2002
Research Interests:

Jennifer Meengs, MS, RD
Instructor of Foods Lab
M.S., The Pennsylvania State University, 2011
Research Interests:

Laura E. Murray-Kolb, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
M.S., The Pennsylvania State University, 1998
Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 2003
Research Interests:
  • Micronutrient deficiencies (primarily iron)
  • Mother-child interactions
  • Child development
  • Cognition and affect
  • Biofortification

Gina Pazzaglia, PhD, RDN
Director of the Online Master's Program Instructor of Nutritional Sciences Outreach Associate Professor
Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University 1999
Ph.D., Arizona State University 2016
M.S., Syracuse University 1989
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.
Associate Professor
M.P.H., The University of Pittsburgh, 2003
Ph.D., The University of Pittsburgh, 1998
Research Interests:

My research focuses on the 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.
Helen A. Guthrie Chair and Professor
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, England, 1970
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.
Dorothy Foehr Chair and Professor
Ph.D., Cornell University, 1976
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
Associate Professor
Research Interests:

Lipid mediators are bioactive metabolites of dietary fatty acids. They act on tissues to alter many disease-related functions, including the stiffness of blood vessels and the body's response to stress.

Most investigations focus on the actions of individual lipid mediators, however over-nutrition and the stress of "western diets" is characterized by a global shift of dietary fatty acids, not a shift in any single fatty acid. The consequence of multiple changes in fatty acids is a corresponding change in the array of lipid mediators produced. We seek to understand disease-related functional changes in the context of globally changes and use them to identify markers of disease and better ways to prevent or manage disease.

Matam Vijay-Kumar (Vijay), PhD
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Biochemistry, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, India 2002.
Research Interests:

1. Host Metabolic Adaptations to Inflammation
Inflammation is a host protective response to mediate clearance of invading pathogens, irritants, or damaged cells. To fuel the inflammatory process, our body undergo metabolic adaptation to allow greater expenditure of energy. However, as in the case of low-grade chronic inflammation, the continuous metabolic burden inadvertently potentiates the development type 2 diabetes and obesity and leading to symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Hence, the primary vein of my research pertains to the interplay between intestinal inflammation and metabolic disorders. My research demonstrates that Toll-like receptor 5 (TLR5)-deficient mice prone to develop spontaneous gut inflammation. To cope up with gut inflammation, these mice adapt alternate metabolic pathways which protect against inflammation but culminates into metabolic diseases. We believe that development of metabolic syndrome in TLR5 deficient mice can be viewed as metabolic adaptation to inflammation.

2. Innate Immunity-Gut Microbiotal Interactions in Metabolic Diseases
The dynamics between innate immunity and gut microbiota frame many of my research questions. A large body of my work focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which the innate immune response helps in the gut microbiotal homeostasis. Specifically, we demonstrate that microbial products (i.e.viral RNA, flagellin) which potently activate their cognate TLR activation and broadly protect against insults such as chemicals, viruses and radiation.

3. Lipocalin 2 - mediated Iron Homeostasis in Inflammation
My research has shown that Lipocalin 2 (Lcn2), a protein elevated during the inflammatory response, can serve as a robust biomarker for intestinal inflammation. More recently, my studies have grown to encompass exploration on the role of Lcn2 in iron homeostasis during inflammation. During this endeavor, I demonstrate that Lcn2 facilitates the hypoferremia of inflammation and also protects against iron-induced toxicity. Loss of Lcn2 disrupts iron homeostasis with adverse consequences not only to the host, but also leads to gut microbiotal dysbiosis that aggravate the host’s susceptibility to colitis.

Jennifer Savage Williams, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor; Interim Director, Center for Childhood Obesity Research
Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University, 2008
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, multi-media technology to target low-income mothers to reduce children’s intake of “empty calories”.

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