Associate Professor of Anthropology and Nutrition
Alumni Building 301
I am a biological anthropologist specializing in human growth and nutrition. My research focuses on understanding the biocultural and biomedical influences on growth and physiology during infancy and childhood. I am particularly interested in how early life nutrition and environmental exposures shape long-term health and obesity risk. I am also the co-director of the Center for Galapagos Studies at UNC and the Galapagos Science Center in San Cristóbal, Ecuador. My research combines laboratory, anthropological and epidemiological approaches to explore the effects of early environments on growth, body composition, and reproductive development. My work focuses on: sex differences in the association between hormones, body composition, and feeding during infancy; the effects of early diet on the development of the intestinal microbiome as an underlying pathway linking infant feeding and the development of obesity; and the structural, social and maternal and infant characteristics contributing to the development of an obesogenic environment. I am currently examining the physical and social environments associated with the development of inflammation in Chinese children, adolescents, and adults through an NIH K award.