Positions

Assistant Professor
Pediatrics-Nutrition
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US
Member
Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas, United States

Education

BS from University of Warwick
Psychology and Philosophy
MS from Kings College London
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry
PhD from Kings College London
Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry
Post-Doctoral Fellowship at University of Alabama at Birmingham
Statistical Genetics, Epidemiology, Nutrition

Honors & Awards

Conference Award Finalist
Scott Grundy Award for Excellence in Metabolism Research
2nd place
1st Place
1st Place
2nd place
1st Place
Young Investigator Award Finalist
Young Investigator Award
Best paper winner
Our paper "Cognitive performance and BMI: shared genetics between BMI and reaction time, but not response inhibition, across childhood" was selected as one of 6 winning entries to the society's annual conference and featured in a special symposium.
Associate Faculty Member F1000 Prime
Appointed an Associate Faculty Member of the Faculty of 1000 http://f1000.com/
Mark Bieber Award for Excellence in Nutrition Research

Professional Statement

I am Director and PI of USDA-funded Baylor Infant Twin Study (BITS) , which is designed to develop a biobehavioral model of obesity from infancy through early childhood. BITS incorporates molecular biology with well measured behavior to understand why cognitive profile differs in cases of pediatric obesity.

I also have a special interest in health disparities, and my goal is to develop methods which allow us to identify biological determinants of obesity in Latino populations, and examine how they manifest in the Latino culture. I hope this will help reduce the differences in health outcomes associated with ethnic origin.

Selected Publications

Memberships

American Heart Association
Behavior Genetics Association

Projects

The Baylor Infant Twin (BITS) Study
This study seeks to study twins from early infancy period, and better define the cognitive profile related to obesity-related traits.
The Multi-Ethnic Study on Atherosclerosis (MESA)
I am the Chair of the MESA Nutrition working group. While my focus is often on genetics, the group as a whole seeks to understand the association of dietary intake with CVD, subclinical measures of CVD and CVD risk factors. The study has a special focus on whether these associations explain some of the ethnicity - based health disparities we see in the US.

Funding

Mark Bieber Award
Unrestricted funding from American Heart Association
This award adds an epigenetic arm to the Baylor Infant Twin Study (BITS).
Early Genetic and Environmental Influences on Adiposity:The Baylor Infant Twin (BITS) Study
Grant funding from USDA
This study seeks to develop a new observational measure of infant temperament, suitable for 4 month olds, and examine whether genomic (genetic, epigenetic, microbiome) and environmental (parental feeding style) influences are shared between temperament, infant feeding behaviors and infant adiposity.
Hummus for Health: Dietary Quality and Gut Microbiota in Toddlers
Grant funding from Sabra Dipping Company
This study seeks to examine the role hummus can play in improving the dietary quality of young toddlers, and whether it can alter the microbiome to a more favorable bacterial diversity.
ROLE OF PUFA-GENE INTERACTIONS IN HEALTH DISPARITIES
Grant funding from National Institutes of Health
This project examines interactions between dietary polyunsaturated fats and genetic variants in cardiovascular disease risk. An additional goal is to see whether such interactions contribute to ethnic disparities in cardiovascular disease.
Ethnic Differences in Lipoprotein Risk Factors
- #14BGIA18740011
Grant funding from American Heart Association
This project seeks to understand ethnic differences in CVD risk. By combining genetic and clinical information into an ethnically-sensitive predictive algorithm, I hope this project helps us identify who is at risk for an adverse heart event more accurately.
Overcoming Obstacles in Epigenetic Analysis of Human Twins
Grant funding from National Institutes of Health