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Oklahoma State University

Graduate Student Bios

Saydee Adams

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Deana Hildebrand

Email: saydee.adams@okstate.edu

Research interests: My research interests include community nutrition and policy, systems, and environmental changes to decrease the prevalence of obesity, especially in rural communities.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S.        Oklahoma State
University
Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics
Saydee Adams headshot

Sanmi Emmanuel Alake

Degree program: Ph.D.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Edralin Lucas

Email: sanmi.alake@okstate.edu

Research interests: The interplay of bioactive foods and gut microbiota, and the resultant effect on immunoresponse in cardiovascular disorders.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
M.S. University of Ibadan (Nigeria) Biochemistry (Molecular Drug Metabolism and Toxicology)
B.S. (Hons)  Ekiti State University (Nigeria) Biochemistry
Sammi Alake headshot

 


 

Michelle Cameron Tillinger

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Deana Hildebrand

Email: michelle.cameron@okstate.edu

Research interests: My area of research is assessing the extent to which local foods are being purchased in Childhood Nutrition Programs in Oklahoma school districts.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S.        Oklahoma State
University
Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics
Michelle Cameron

Emily Chambers

Degree program: M.S.

Advisor:  Dr. Winyoo Chowanadisai

Email: emily.chambers@okstate.edu

Research interests: I am interested in gene-nutrient interactions and how the genome effects nutritional status. I am also interested in international nutrition and increasing the dietary quality of those with low food security.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S.        Brigham Young University Dietetics

 

Emily Chambers headshot

 

Jordan Chappell

Degree Program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Tay Kennedy

Email: jlchapp@okstate.edu 

Research Interests: One of the areas of research I am interested in is maternal nutrition, specifically during the period of pregnancy, and the effects that the mother’s nutrition has on both her and her child. I am also interested in early childhood and infant nutrition, and how it affects the development of the child. Finally, I am interested in the nutrition of school-aged children, particularly in the area of childhood obesity prevention.

Education: 

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S.        Oklahoma State
University
Nutritional Sciences

 

Jordan Chappell

Hannah Childers

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Deana Hildebrand

Email: hannah.renee.childers@okstate.edu

Research interests: I have a strong interest in community nutrition education along with chronic diseases within the clinical setting. Additionally, I find qualitative research pertaining to childhood obesity, eating disorder prevention, and the psychology behind why we choose the foods we eat interesting; However, I am open minded to allowing the process of becoming a dietitian reveal more interests to me.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. Oklahoma State
University
Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics
A.S. Tulsa Community College Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics
Hannah Childers headshot

 

Madison Dixon

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor: Dr. Sam Emerson

Research interests: My research interest involves the impact of nutrition on clinical outcomes and detecting cardiometabolic risk. Specifically, my project is looking to determine the reproducibility of the abbreviated fat tolerance test compared to the oral glucose tolerance test in healthy individuals. Evaluating the effectiveness of this test will determine value in improving the utility of postprandial metabolic testing in the clinical setting, as well as more strongly predict cardiovascular outcomes.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. Oklahoma State University Dietetics
Madison Krehbiel

 


 

Levin Dotimas

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor: Dr. Deana Hildebrand

Email: levin.dotimas@okstate.edu 

Research interests: Public health, cultural issues, behavioral nutrition

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S.        Brigham Young University Dietetics
Levin Dotimas

Lauren Higganbotham

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Deana Hildebrand

Email: lhiggan@okstate.edu

Research interests: My interest is in the affect nutrition has on the progression and prevention of various conditions and diseases as well as individualized nutrition plans to improve the quality and length of life in patients with potentially terminal diseases.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S.        Oklahoma State
University
Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics
Lauren Higganbotham

Amritpal Kaur

Degree program: M.S.

Advisor:  Dr. Edralin A. Lucas

Email: amritpal.kaur@okstate.edu

Research interests: Impact of bioactive food components on gut health in obesity and type 2 diabetes

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S.        Punjab Agricultural University (India) Nutrition and Dietetics
Amritpal Kaur headshot

 

Bryant Keirns

Degree Program: Ph.D. 

Advisor: Dr. Brenda J. Smith

Email: bryant.keirns@okstate.edu

Research interest: Impact of diet on gut inflammation and subsequent effects on other tissues.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
M.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences
B.S. Oklahoma Christian University Biology

 

Bryant Keirns

 

Nick Koemel 

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor: Dr. Sam Emerson

Email: nick.koemel@okstate.edu

Research interests: My interests lie in understanding how nutrition and exercise influences the development of chronic diseases. This includes measuring markers of post meal metabolism, vascular function, and activity levels in different age groups.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. Oklahoma State University Dietetics
Nick Koemel

Joel Joshua Komakech

Degree Program: Ph.D.

Advisor: Dr. Deana Hildebrand

Email: joel.komakech@okstate.edu 

Research interests: Interest research area is within social support networks, women empowerment and their association with maternal health and IYCF.

Education: 

Degree  Institution Area of Study
M.Sc. Oklahoma State University Nutrition
MPH International Health Sciences University, Uganda Public Health
B.Sc.  Kyambogo University, Kampala - Uganda Human Nutrition & Dietetics
Joel Komakech

Peiran Lu


Degree program: Ph.D.

Advisor:  Dr. Dingbo (Daniel) Lin

Research interests: Carotenoid and its metabolism in immune response and prevention of chronic disease

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
M.S. Drexel University Food Science
B.S. Northwest A&F University

Food safety and quality

Peiran Lu

Katherine Metzinger

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Deana Hildebrand

Email: katherine.metzinger@okstate.edu

Research interests: I am most passionate and interested about community nutrition. As an undergraduate, my honors thesis focused on the nutrition requirements of the National School Lunch Program and the culinary training program, Cooking for Kids. I used the Healthy Eating Index to compute dietary quality of school lunches prior to implementation of the Cooking for Kids program in a local Oklahoma school. Still of interest to me, is the effects of culinary training on school lunches after staff participation in Cooking for Kids, if there are any notable changes in dietary quality, and student perception to these menu adaptations.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. (Hons) Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences
Katherine Metzinger headshot

 

Babajide Ojo

Degree Program: Ph.D. 

Advisor: Dr. Edralin A. Lucus 

Email: babajide.ojo@okstate.edu    

Research interest: Impact of functional foods on the gut microbiome and gut immunity in models of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
M.S. Oklahoma State University Nutrition
B.S.(Hons) Ekiti State University, Nigeria Biochemistry

 

Babajide Ojo

Thais Gaia Oliveira

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. McKale Montgomery

Email: thais.g.oliveira@okstate.edu

Research interests: I’m Interested in the impact of bioactive compounds in the overall health. The impact of diet to diseases’ development such as cancer, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis. Nutrition and gene expression. Vegetarianism and Veganism. Ways to manage food waste in society.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. East Carolina University Nutritional Dietetics
B.A. East Carolina University Chemistry
Thais Gaia Oliviera headshot
 

Kajal Patel

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor: Dr. Jill Joyce

Email: kajal.patel@okstate.edu 

Research interests: My research interests involve public health and more specifically, dietary quality, school nutrition, and public policy.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics

 

Kajal Patel

Bryan Pepito

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Jill Joyce

Email: bpepito@okstate.edu

Research interests: Sensory analysis/perception’s role in affecting dietary quality

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. Johnson & Wales University Clinical Dietetics & Food Science
A.S. Johnson & Wales University Classical Cuisine
Bryan Pepito headshot

Kara Pointdexter

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Sam Emerson

Email: kara.pointdexter@okstate.edu

Research interests: I am interested in chronic disease prevention. My research now is focused on physical activity habits across aging and metabolic response to a high fat meal to better determine age specific physical activity recommendations.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics
Kara Pointdexter headshot

Gabriela Puche

Degree Program: M.S. 

Dietetic Intern

Advisor: Dr. JIll Joyce

Email: gpuche@okstate.edu  

Research Interest: Currently I do public health research with the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The end goal is to provide evidence to increase the dietary quality of school lunches across the US.

Education:

Degree   Institution Area of Study
M.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences with Dietetic Internship
B.S. Texas Woman's Univeristy Nutrition

 

Gabriela Puche

Hasina Rakotomanana

Degree Program: Ph.D. 

Advisor: Dr. Barbara Stoecker

Email: hasina.rakotomanana@okstate.edu 

Research interest: Exploring the causes of child stunting and poor child development in the highlands of Madagascar

Education:

Degree   Institution Area of Study
M.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences
M.S. Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar Applied Chemistry
Focus: Organic Chemistry
B.S./M.S. Université d’Antananarivo, Madagascar Agronomy
Focus: Agricultural and Food Science and Technology

 

 

Hasina Rakotomanana

Christina Sciarrillo

Degree program: Ph.D.

Advisor:  Dr. Sam Emerson

Email: christina.sciarrillo@okstate.edu

Research interests:

Dietary and exercise interventions that modulate cardiovascular disease risk and pathology; metabolic, inflammatory, and vascular characteristics of metabolic dysfunction

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. University of Louisiana at Lafayette Dietetics
M.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences
Christina Scarillo headshot

Tina Sergi

Degree program: M.S.

Advisor:  Dr. Jill Joyce

Email: tina.sergi@okstate.edu

Research interests: International nutrition, functional foods, public health nutrition

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. University of New Hampshire Nutrition: Dietetics
Tina Sergi

Maegan Smith

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Deana Hildebrand

Email: maegan.smith@okstate.edu

Research interests: Maternal and infant nutrition, nutrition in breastfeeding, sports nutrition

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences
Maegan Smith headshot

Katie Strait

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Jill Joyce

Email: katie.strait@okstate.edu

Research interests: I am extremely interested in cardiovascular disease and health in firefighters.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. Oklahoma State University Human Nutrition
A.A. Northern Oklahoma College Psychology
Katie Strait

Jamie Thomas

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor:  Dr. Deana Hildebrand

Email: tjamiea@okstate.edu

Research interests: Some of my research interests are chronic disease prevention, the benefits of functional foods in reducing chronic disease, and disease progression in relation to risk factors and biomarkers

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences - Dietetics
Jamie Thomas headshot

 

Laurie Thompson

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor: Dr. McKale Montgomery

Email: laurie.thompson@okstate.edu  

Research interests: I am interested in research that furthers our understanding and ability to individualize nutrtion especially in the area of genetics.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences
Laurie Thompson

Lara Vogt

Degree program: M.S.

Dietetic Intern

Advisor: Dr. Deana Hildebrand

Email: lara.vogt@okstate.edu   
lara.lynn.vogt@gmail.com 

Research interests: Weight Management, Fitness, Behavioral Health Nutrition

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.A.  Oklahoma State Univeristy Journalism and Broadcasting: Public Relations
B.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences: Dietetics

 

 
Lara Vogt

Christine Walters

Degree Program: Ph.D.

Advisor: Dr. Barbara Stoecker

Email: christine.n.walters@gmail.com

Research interest: My research focuses on understanding the influence of maternal mental health and intimate partner violence on infant and young child feeding and child undernutrition in low-income countries.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
M.S. Oklahoma State University Nutritional Sciences
B.S. The Ohio State University Medical Dietetics

 

Christine Walters

Siau Yen Wong

Degree program: Ph.D.

Advisor:  Dr. Dingbo Lin

Email: siwong@okstate.edu

Research interests: Nutritional factor on chronic diseases prevention and immune regulation emphasis on vitamin A and carotenoid metabolism.

Education:

Degree  Institution Area of Study
B.S. University of Louisiana at Lafayette Dietetics

 

Yen Wong