Our Group


Sera Young S.L. Young

B.A. Anthropology, University of Michigan
M.A. Medical Anthropology, University of Amsterdam
Ph.D. International Nutrition, Cornell University

Previous appointments at U. California Berkeley, U. California Davis, and U. California San Francisco

Current Graduate Students

Roseanne Schuster Roseanne Schuster

B.S. Biology, Canisius College
M.S. Community Health Sciences, University of Northern British Columbia

My research explores the use of performance-based incentives to increase motivation of community- and clinic-based health worker cadres, to strengthen coordination between these cadres, and to improve delivery of prevention of vertical transmission of HIV services in rural Mozambique. Broadly, I am interested in health systems strengthening to improve delivery of health and nutrition services in low resource settings.
Untitled Vicky Santoso

B.S. Dietetics, University of Texas, Austin
M.S. Food Policy and Applied Nutrition, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

My dissertation research explores the role of intra-household gender equality, especially on household decision-making and task division, in ensuring optimum resource (both time and economic) allocation for child nutrition. This research is part of Singida Nutrition and Agroecology Project (SNAP), a participatory research project engaging farmers in Singida, Tanzania in sustainable agriculture practices (Agroecology), nutrition, and gender roles. My hope is to have this work inform future impact evaluations of nutrition policies and programs. 

Medical Students

Angela Arbach Angela Arbach

B.A. Mathematics, New York University

Class of 2015 at Weill Cornell Medical College

My research focuses on using photo voice to document the experience and determinants of food insecurity in pregnant women in Northern Uganda.  I will also study the relationship between alcohol use, food environment, and HIV status in this population.
Natalie Krumdieck

B.A. Mathematics, Smith College
Class of 2016 at Weill Cornell Medical College

I am a fourth year Weill Cornell medical student currently applying into family medicine residency programs. For the past year, I have worked with Dr. Young’s Pith Moromo 2 study in Kenya, and am now exploring experiences of water insecurity and depression within this cohort. I plan to continue to learn about and work with maternal and child health in the global sphere.

Research Coordinators

shalean Shalean Collins

B.S. Dietetics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
MPH Tulane University, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

I am a public health dietitian interested in maternal and child nutrition in low-resource settings. Currently I work with Dr. Young's Pith Moromo 2 research study in Kenya. Previously, I worked as a research study coordinator for Dr. Young's PostNAPS research study in Gulu, Uganda. My research interests include malnutrition, food insecurity, and nutrition within the context of HIV/AIDS.
IMG_6029 Pauline Wekesa


Mbullo Patrick Mbullo

B.A. Anthropology, Maseno University, Kenya
M.A. Social Anthropology, York University
Director and Co-Founder of Partners in Community Transformation (PCT), Pamoja Community-Based Organization and Kit-Makayi Technical Training Institute, Kenya

Both as a medical and developmental anthropologist Patrick has a wealth of knowledge and experience in project design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, community organizing, community HIV/AIDS programming and sustainable livelihoods projects. His research interests include politics of development in the global South, maternal and child health, mental health, information technology for development, and community participation in research.

Post-doctoral Researchers

Widen_headshot_9_2015 Elizabeth (Beth) Widen, PhD, RD

Interdisciplinary postdoctoral fellow in Nutrition and Population Health, Departments of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Columbia University
B.S. Dietetics, Miami University
Ph.D. Nutrition Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

I am a nutrition epidemiologist interested in maternal and child nutrition across the life course in the United States and globally. Specifically, I study predictors and outcomes of maternal and child nutritional status in pregnancy and postpartum, and ultimately how nutrition in this period relates to later health. I am particularly interested in understanding what factors predict gestational weight gain patterns and body composition changes, and furthermore how gestational weight gain and body composition changes during this period relate to maternal and offspring health in the postpartum period and thereafter. I am collaborating with the Young group on the Pre- and Post-NAPS study to add longitudinal measures of maternal and infant body composition. Previously, I worked on a project examining the dyadic interrelationships between maternal and infant nutritional status in HIV-infected Malawian mothers and their exclusively breastfed infants in the Breastfeeding, Antiretrovirals and Nutrition Study. Find out more about my on-going work here
DSC_4825 Godfred Boateng

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition, Cornell University
B.A. Sociology and Psychology, University of Ghana
MPhil. Sociology, University of Ghana/Universitetet I Tromsø, Norway
Ph.D. Sociology, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

My background is in Sociology with specialization in Work, Occupations and Professions. I have also engaged in research on International development with a focus on maternal health care, women’s empowerment, and food insecurity. More specifically, I have examined individual and structural factors affecting near-miss cases in Ghana and the predictors of access to antenatal and postnatal services in different African countries. At Cornell, I work with the Young Research Group on Maternal and Child nutrition focusing on the Kenyan birth cohort study. Three questions drive my research: (1) how does maternal food insecurity and malnutrition affect fetal development, and how does this relationship vary by HIV serostatus(2) what are the effects of food and nutritional insecurity on the physical and mental well-being of HIV positive and negative women (3) does fetal malnourishment affect postnatal growth and susceptibility to non-communicable diseases. Find out more about my work here and here
Pebsworth Paula Pebsworth

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Texas, San Antonio
B.A. Biology, University of Iowa
M.A. Biology, State University of New York
Ph.D. Primatology, Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University
KF Stintson2 Katie Fiorella

Atkinson Postdoctoral Fellow, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future with Sera Young and Christopher B. Barrett's research groups
A.B. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University
MPH Epidemiology, Certificate in Nutrition, University of California, Berkeley
Ph.D. Environmental Science, Policy Management, University of California, Berkeley

My research aims to understand the interactions among environmental change and livelihood, food, and nutrition security. My works is focused in fishery and agricultural systems and the households that are reliant on the environment to access food and income. In my research at Cornell, I will work with an organization that works to improve the yields of small-scale farmers in Kenya to understand when improvements in farmers’ yields lead to higher food security and better nutrition for farmer families. My project tries to understand how environmental factors – rainfall, drought – affect pathways from improved production to nutrition outcomes, and how changing agricultural production affects the environment. This project will contribute to the development of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, as well as programs and policies that foster integrated improvements in environmental sustainability and livelihood, food, and nutrition security. Find out more about my on-going work here.
IMG_6878 Yolanda Brooks

Post-Doctoral Associate, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, with Ruth Richardson and Sera Young
B.S. Environmental Biology/Microbiology, Michigan State University
Ph.D. Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University

Broadly, my research studies how fecal pollution in aquatic environments can affect the environment and public health. I am also interested in the analysis and design of new technologies to reduce fecal pollution in potable water supplies. Previously, I investigated how the persistence of genetic markers from fecal indicators in water samples were influenced by storage duration, temperature, and storage in liquid form or attached to a solid matrix. I also examined how historical concentrations of fecal indicators in sediment cores from the Lake St. Clair watershed, Michigan, were correlated to historical measurements of human population, nutrient loading, river discharge, and air temperature.At Cornell, I will be investigating how the quality of drinking water affects the health outcomes of participants in the study cohort in Kenya. Specifically, I will be designing a molecular method to analyze for the presence and quantity of pathogens in water samples slated for household use.

Undergraduate Students, Fall 2015

Hijab Kahn hak58(at)cornell.edu
Eleonore Baughan ebb77(at)cornell.edu
Lauren Blacker lsb236(at)cornell.edu
Corrine Casal csc243(at)cornell.edu
Luiza Cepkemoi lc593(at)cornell.edu
Pooja Desai pmd85(at)cornell.edu
Laura Harnett lch83(at)cornell.edu
Josephine Hong jjh343(at)cornell.edu
Nathan Ihemeremadu nj42(at)cornell.edu
Paige Killeala pkk25(at)cornell.edu
Ann Lei al734(at)cornell.edu
Jihoon Lim jl2382(at)cornell.edu
Phoebe Lo pml82(at)cornell.edu
Abena Maranga mam674(at)cornell.edu
Emily Martey ebm72(at)cornell.edu
Joshua Miller jdm437(at)cornell.edu
Evlyn Samuel ecs244(at)cornell.edu
Rie Seu rjs468(at)cornell.edu
Santana Silver srs384(at)cornell.edu
Irene Tsai it83(at)cornell.edu