Research Interests
Foods and Nutrition

Alex Anderson
Associate Professor

My research focuses on the nutrition of women and infants, infant and young child feeding, breastfeeding promotion and protection, growth of infants and children, body composition of infants, children and pregnant women, as well as community and international interventions for nutrition and health. I have expertise in both qualitative, quantitative and nutritional research methods. I am currently involved in a multi-site research project evaluating parental practices supporting positive eating behaviors during independent eating occassions among early adolescent children. I am also in the early stages of a collaborative study examining barriers to healthy weight management among women of childbearing age in Ghana. For more information, see the Maternal and Child Nutrition Laboratory.

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Lynn Bailey
Department Head, Professor

Folate status and metabolism, maternal health, fetal development.

The Folate Research Group conducts clinical research in women of reproductive age to assess the metabolic and epigenetic response to changes in folate intake. The primary objective of the folate-related research studies is to provide research evidence on which revised folate-related public health recommendations can be based. The long-range goal of the Folate Research Program is to optimize maternal health and fetal development and growth.

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Alison Berg
Assistant Professor and Extension Nutrition and Health Specialist

Alison's current research involves evaluating community education programs to improve nutrition for the prevention and management of chronic disease, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. 

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Leann Birch
William P. "Bill" Flatt Childhood Obesity Professor

Leann Birch, Ph.D. is William P. Flatt Professor in the Department of Foods and Nutrition at The University of Georgia. Her research focuses on individual and contextual factors affecting the development of individual differences in the behavioral controls of food intake and obesity risk among infants, children, and adolescents. In recent years, her research has focused on conducting randomized controlled trials, which have been successful in reducing early obesity risk. These interventions, designed to influence maternal caregiving, infant feeding, sleeping, and crying, prevented excessive weight gain in infancy and reduced the prevalence of overweight during infancy and early childhood. She is the author of more than 250 publications and has been awarded more than $30 million in federal research funding. Dr. Birch received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Michigan and served on the faculty at the University of Illinois and the Pennsylvania State University before joining the UGA faculty in 2014. For more information, see the Maternal and Child Nutrition Laboratory.

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Jamie Cooper
Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator

Dr. Cooper's research encompasses a number of areas ranging from human obesity to athletic performance. Her primary research interests are aimed at addressing metabolic and satiety hormone responses to different nutrients and/or exercise in humans. For more information, see the Human Nutrition Laboratory.

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Caree Cotwright
Assistant Professor

Childhood Obesity Prevention in schools and child care settings, Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policy, Theater Based Nutrition Intervention

My research agenda focuses on promoting wellness best practices and policies in the ECE setting. The aim of my work is to: 1) assess current wellness practices in the ECE setting; 2) create training and interventions for child care providers and child care food service staff to increase healthy eating, wellness education, and physical activity in the ECE setting; and 3) assist ECE settings with creating wellness policies and plans of action to sustain changes long term. The overall goal of my work is to create healthy ECE environments to prevent obesity in our youngest children ages (0-5), while working to decrease health disparities among low-income and minority populations. For more information, visit the Childhood Obesity/Nutrition Intervention Laboratory.

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Ginnefer Cox Ph.D., RDN
Assistant Professor

Dr. Cox’s research interests include sensory evaluation and product development, with an emphasis on ingredient reduction (sodium, fat, sugar) and utilizing functional ingredients and value-added foods. For more information, see the Sensory Evaluation and Product Development Laboratory. 

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Claire de La Serre
Assistant Professor

Dr. de La Serre investigates the pathways by diet composition affects energy balance. She is particularly interested in the consequences of energy-dense diets on the microbiota composition, gastrointestinal (GI) functions and inflammation. She studies how changes in microbiota composition can affect gut-brain signaling to promote overeating. Her laboratory uses animal models and studies phenomena from the behavioral aspect to the molecular pathway. For more information, see the Gastrointestinal Neurophysiology Laboratory.

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Joan Fischer
Professor Emerita

Dr. Fischer studies the role of bioactive compounds from plant foods in the reduction of oxidative stress and inflammation associated with the development of chronic diseases. For more information, see the Bioactive Compounds and Health Laboratory.

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Silvia Giraudo
Associate Professor

Dr. Giraudo directs UGA researchers who are training undergraduate researchers to design childhood obesity interventions while working as counselors at 4-H camps. The three-year Youth Obesity Undergraduate Research and Extension ( Y.O.U.R.E.) fellowship is aligned with the UGA Obesity Initiative. The interdisciplinary team of 10 faculty mentors provide training and guidance to 10 fellows chosen for the program. 

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Arthur Grider
Associate Professor

My research areas include cellular and tissue zinc metabolism, proteomic analysis of biological samples, nutritional biomarkers, and plant polyphenol metabolism. For more information, see the Micronutrient Proteomic Research Laboratory.

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Barbara Grossman
Clinical Associate Professor; Director Dietetic Internship Program

Dr. Grossman conducts research in the area of the scholarship of teaching and learning.

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Gail Hanula
Senior Public Service Associate Emerita

I conduct research on the effectiveness of theory-based nutrition education curricula in improving dietary intake and related behaviors.

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Judy Harrison
Professor and Extension Foods Specialist

I examine food safety education needs, test materials and methods for delivering food safety education to a variety of audiences and measure the impact of educational programs. 

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Mary Ann Johnson
Flatt Professor in Foods and Nutrition, College of Family and Consumer Sciences

Dr. Johnson conducts research and outreach programs for older people to improve dietary habits, physical activity, and self-management of chronic diseases. She also studies centenarians, aged 100 and older. Many of Dr. Johnson's students complete the UGA Certificate of Gerontology to enhance their careers in gerontology and nutrition. Graduates from Dr. Johnson's program work in academia and government, and as dietitians in nursing homes, home health care, hospitals, and community health promotion programs. 

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Emma Laing
Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Dietetics

My research projects focus on osteoporosis and obesity prevention and related health outcomes. My expertise is in the area of imaging techniques for assessment of bone health and body composition and employing dietary and physical activity interventions to optimize the health and wellbeing of children. Results from these studies lead to determining the efficacy of relatively simple and inexpensive approaches to improve health during childhood that will in turn reduce the risk of chronic diseases in adulthood. For more information, see the Bone and Body Composition Laboratory.

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Jung Sun Lee
Professor and Faculty of Gerontology

My research examines nutritional health issues in low-income population with a focus on food insecurity, food environments, healthcare utilization, program evaluation of community-based nutrition interventions, and nutrition policy. My research uses multidisciplinary approaches, and both quantitative and qualitative research methods. I have been conducting studies to better understand the extent and nature of food insecurity, to improve the capacity of food and nutrition assistance programs, and to establish research methodology and datasets to examine the nutrition issues in human services including aging services, healthcare, and public assistance to meet the needs of low-income Georgians. For more information about my research and the UGA SNAP-Ed project, visit the Community Nutrition Laboratory.

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Richard Lewis
UGA Foundation Professor in Family and Consumer Sciences

Dr. Lewis is Director of the Bone & Body Composition Laboratory at The University of Georgia and serves as principal investigator for research projects focused on osteoporosis prevention, primarily targeting pediatric populations. His laboratory investigates the roles of macro- (protein) and micronutrients (vitamin D, zinc), physical activity, and obesity on bone development during growth. Because obese children are at greater risk for fractures than normal weight children, his team examines the impact of obesity and associated cardiometabolic risks on bone quality. He utilizes numerous imaging instruments to assess bone quality such as dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The goal of his research is to discover relatively simple and inexpensive approaches to improve bone strength during growth and prevent osteoporotic fractures later in adulthood. For more information, see the Bone and Body Composition Laboratory.

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Carla Moore
Assistant Professor and Extension Nutrition Specialist

Dr. Moore's research interests include psychosocial and environmental determinants of health behaviors and health disparities, with an emphasis on obesity treatment and prevention.

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Hea Jin Park
Assistant Professor

My research focuses on bioactive food compounds and vitamins and their mechanisms of action on obesity and obesity-related diseases such as Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. For more information, see the Bioactive Compounds and Health Laboratory.

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Chad Paton
Assistant Professor

My research is focused on the role of functional foods and nutritional factors that regulate metabolic activity. We are actively investigating compounds that act as ligands for DNA-binding transcription factors to alter epigenetic regulation of metabolism. We use molecular biology and biochemistry to understand how macronutrient metabolism is regulated in cell and animal models. For more information, visit the Epigenetic and Molecular Models of Metabolism Laboratory.

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Robert Pazdro
Assistant Professor

My research program addresses critical questions pertaining to the genetic basis of aging and age-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. Our current projects aim to identify genes and alleles that regulate chronic disease-related traits throughout the mammalian life span. Phenotypes of interest fall into one or more of the following categories: i) cellular redox systems and stress resistance; ii) circulation, blood composition, and cardiovascular disease; and iii) novel and informative cancer phenotypes. We also investigate mechanisms by which diet or other environmental factors intersect with these genetic pathways. For more information, visit the Free Radical and Nutritional Genetics Laboratory.

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Elisabeth Sattler
Assistant Professor

Interdisciplinary health disparity research in low-income populations with focus on relationships of food insecurity, medication management, and health outcomes

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