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Nutrition Faculty and Research

Nutrition faculty are engaged in research designed to promote health and well-being. Our faculty are committed to providing an excellent educational experience for our students and engaging in research with direct benefit to the community at large. Many faculty are leaders within their field and serve in professional organizations, review grants or edit journals. They are committed to mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, serving as role models for the next generation of nutrition professionals. Several of our faculty members have received awards in recognition of their instructional, research and service activities.

Three common themes connect our research in nutrition:

  • Reducing the incidence of excessive weight and obesity among Americans.
  • Lowering the risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • Empowering individuals to assume greater responsibility for their own and their families’ health and well-being.

Researchers are funded from federal sources such as NIH and USDA, industry sources including food companies and manufacturers of physical activity-related equipment, state and local government programs, and private foundations. These grants support numerous graduate and undergraduate students, providing them with ongoing opportunities to expand their expertise and knowledge as they prepare for their own careers in health promotion and other areas of science.


Christy Alexon
Clinical Assoc Professor (FSC)

Alexon serves as director of summer programs for the College of Health Solutions and also coordinates the MS Medical Nutrition program.

Dorothy Sears

Sears has conducted cardiometabolic disease and cancer research since 1995 and is an internationally recognized expert. Her research scope of study spans the molecular to population health levels.

Meg Bruening
Assoc Professor

Meg Bruening's research interests include public health nutrition promotion and obesity prevention targeted to underserved, vulnerable youth and families.

Robin DeWeese
Asst Research Professor (FSC)

DeWeese's research interests include examining the influence of the built environment on food and physical activity behaviors, as well as policies that make healthy choices easy.

Kathleen Dixon
Clinical Professor, MY

Kathy Dixon is a clinical professor and the nutrition program coordinator. Her research interests include food service in healthcare and institutional settings, and pediatric diet therapy.

Shauna Grant
Karen Gregory-Mercado
Lecturer Sr

Gregory-Mercado is a lecturer of health coaching, ethics and cultural aspects of health and U.S. health care systems.

Traci Grgich
Lecturer Sr

Grgich is a lecturer. Her research interests include child nutrition, school nutrition programs, food safety and food management systems.

Haiwei Gu
Asst Professor

Gu's research interests focus on MS-based metabolomics and its applications in early disease diagnosis, drug metabolism, and biological sciences.