Our Group


Principal Investigator

Sera L. Young

Assistant Professor, Northwestern University, Department of Anthropology and Institute for Policy Research
Adjunct Curator, The Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL

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

Graduate Students

Roseanne Schuster Roseanne Schuster

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

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 Residents

Angela Arbach Angela Arbach

B.A. Mathematics, New York University
MD, 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
MD, 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./RD Nutritional Sciences, 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/Pii Ngima 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 maternal and child health and food and water insecurity.
IMG_6029 Pauline Wekesa

BSc. Nursing, University of Eastern Africa, Baraton
MPH Student, Maseno University

As the study coordinator of the Pith Moromo/Pii Ngima research study in Kenya, Pauline brings on board considerable clinical experience as a nurse as well as her vast experience in the implementation and coordination of research studies. She has a passion for maternal and child health with a particular interest in food insecurity and coping mechanisms that populations use to mitigate household food insecurity.


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

DSC_4825 Godfred Boateng

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition, Northwestern 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.


Widen_headshot_9_2015 Elizabeth (Beth) Widen, PhD, RD

Associate Research Scientist, Columbia University Medical Center,
Department of Medicine and Epidemiology
New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center and Institute of Human Nutrition

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

Undergraduate Students, Winter 2017

Joshua Miller  jdm437(at)cornell.edu
Lauren Blacker lsb236(at)cornell.edu
JoAnn Efobi jofobi2017(at)u.northwestern.edu
Priya Garigipati priyagarigipati2017(at)u.northwestern.edu
Tracy Guo j4i9d7(at)u.northwestern.edu
Brooke Hassan brookehassan2018(at)u.northwestern.edu
Jordan Harris jordanharris2018(at)u.northwestern.edu
Amy Lin   amylin2018(at)u.northwestern.edu
Ashleigh Maclean ashleighmaclean2018(at)u.northwestern.edu
Sophia Olmos sophiaolmos2018(at)u.northwestern.edu
Emily Umuhire g5g816(at)u.northwestern.edu
Julia Yeam jooheeyeam2018(at)u.northwestern.edu