Jennette Moreno Lab

Moreno Lab Members

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Jennette Palcic Moreno, Ph.D. - Primary Investigator

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Jenny Moreno
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I grew up on a farm outside of Raleigh, N.C. and then moved to New Orleans. La. where I graduated with a bachelor’s of arts in psychology from Tulane University. I then moved west along Interstate 10 to Baton Rouge, La. where I obtained a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University. I journeyed a little further west down Interstate 10 to Houston where I completed a clinical internship and post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, specializing in pediatric psychology at Texas Children’s Hospital. I am currently an assistant professor of pediatrics in the Children’s Nutrition Research at Baylor College of Medicine. My research focuses on understanding behavioral factors related to the development of obesity among children and the development of  behavioral interventions for the prevention of childhood obesity. I am particularly interested in translating circadian research into interventions for the prevention of childhood obesity. In my free time, I can usually be found in my garden where I focus on planting native Texas plants and taking close-ups of the pollinators that visit my flowers. I also enjoy spending time with my family, exercising, exploring Texas, collecting sea glass (outside of Texas), and snuggling with my tuxedo cat and Havanese.

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Jessica Christian - Research Coordinator

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Jessica Christian
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Several years after starting my professional life in business management I began to develop a passion for wellness and helping others pursue better health practices. I first began researching nutrition and total wellness on my own in my free time and took my yoga practice to a new level by becoming a registered yoga teacher. After moving back from North Carolina to the Houston area where I am from, I took the transition as an opportunity to leave a successful career in business management to pursue my passion for wellness and a formal education in nutrition at the University of Houston. I have since worked as a bariatric nutritionist within a family medical practice, offered nutritional counseling to my yoga students, and worked in the research realm focusing in pediatric obesity prevention studies. My passion for total wellness and helping others drives me to bring relatable and manageable information and practices to all, while also offering a reliable support system, and searching for deeper understanding of health and human behaviors. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband and children as well as our two old lady coonhounds. I love to be outside, whether it’s simply out in our backyard or out exploring our home state of Texas. Though my run times aren’t what they used to be pre-double jogging stroller, I still very much enjoy going for runs through the neighborhood or joining local races.

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Hafza Dadabhoy - Senior Research Coordinator

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Hafza Dadabhoy
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I am one of our more experienced team members and serve as senior research coordinator in the Moreno Research Lab. After moving from Irvine, California, I completed my undergraduate at the University of Houston in Human Nutrition. During this time I was a member of ADA, HADA, Student Nutrition Association, and Nutrition Graduate Student Association. I then went on to do the combined master of science degree and dietetic internship through Texas Women’s University and became a registered and licensed dietitian. Not only did this dietetic internship prepare me to work with patients with various dietary needs, it also sparked an interest in research and prevention. My research thesis: The Impact of Switching to Lower Fat Milk as a Simple dietary Modification in Adolescents, focused on how a simple dietary modification from whole milk to reduced, or fat free milk in children can reduce calories and calories from fat in their dietary intake. I am bilingual (Urdu/Hindi) and have also studied some Spanish. I have been working at the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at BCM since 2005 on projects including: Food Intake Recording Software Development and Validation for Children (FIRSST4) (2008-2011); PROP sensitivity and Obesity among Ethnic Children (2006-2008 Video games for Obesity and Diabetes Prevention (2008-2009); Digital Food Photography for FIRSST software (2007-12); Validation of the Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour Dietary Recall for Children (ASA24-Kids) (2013); Parenting Game App (KIDDIA)(2013-14); DIAB-NANO-G4H (2013-16); Active Video Game (AVG) (2013-14); SUN-ASA24-KIDS (2013-16); School Summer Sleep Study (2016-17); and the i♥rhythm Project (2017-current). I currently have 14 peer reviewed publications.

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Abeer El-Mubasher - Research Coordinator

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I began my career in the coordination of research studies at BCM when I was an undergraduate at the University of Houston. After graduating with a degree in nutrition, I joined the BCM staff as a research coordinator and served as a lead interventionist and outcome specialist for several school based obesity prevention programs with elementary and middle school students. In addition, I assisted with the Fort Bend ISD study in which we collected heights and weights from the 2005 kindergarten cohort at the beginning and end of each school year through fifth grade. Dr. Moreno and I began working together in 2007 when she joined the research team as an intern. The Fort Bend ISD data led to the discovery that elementary school children increased their standardized BMI at a faster rate during summer compared to the school year, a paper that was published by Dr. Moreno in 2013. After taking some time off to start a family, I decided to team up with Dr. Moreno again, as she begins her own independent research lab, to further study the causes of accelerated summer weight gain in children. I am currently serving as an outcome specialist on the i♥rhythm project, a study which aims to examine the feasibility of a mobile health intervention designed to prevent accelerated summer weight gain in children by promoting healthy sleep and circadian rhythms. I am also working toward obtaining a master’s in public health from Lamar University. When I am not working or studying, I enjoy spending time with my family and watching the Texans.

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Rebekah Julie Park - Student Helper

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Rebekah Julie Park
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Hello! I'm Julie and I am from sunny Los Angeles, California, though I was born and raised in a small suburb called Natick in Massachusetts. I am currently a pre-med student (or maybe pre-law?) at Rice University at Duncan College (peace! love! duncan!) where I am double majoring in Kinesiology with a concentration in Sports Medicine and French Studies, and minoring in Biochemistry. I joined the Moreno lab in 2019, studying external factors' influence on children's circannual rhythms as well as assisting on the ii♥rhythm Project investigating pediatric anthropometric and melatonin shifts during the summertime period. In my off time, you might catch me lifeguarding, biking, playing music (about 13 instruments so far!), rooting for the Patriots, or fostering baby kittens.

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Evelyn Syau - Assistant Research Coordinator

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Evelyn Syau
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Originally from Southern California, I attended undergrad at Rice University and graduated with a BA in health sciences (Class of 2020). I also completed my master of public health degree at the School of Public Health in Houston (Class of 2021). While at Rice, my interests in health communication and pediatrics led me to Dr. Moreno’s research lab. As assistant research coordinator, I create videos and additional content for the iheartrhythm project, a behavioral intervention dedicated to obesity prevention among school-aged children. I also conduct data extraction/analysis for our systematic review and meta-analysis, which evaluates the efficacy of established childhood obesity prevention and treatment programs. In my free time, I like drawing/designing, reading memoirs and literary fiction, and going outdoors with my two dogs. I will be starting at UT Austin’s Dell Medical School in Summer 2021. 
 

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Amy Goetz, Ph.D.- Former Postdoctoral Fellow

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Amy Rosie
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Dr. Goetz received her B.S. in Psychology from Florida State University and her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She completed her pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine followed by post-doctoral fellowships at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center. During her time at the CNRC, Dr. Goetz worked with Dr. Moreno and Dr. O’Connor on projects related to infant and early childhood sleep as a novel predictor of risk for later childhood obesity. Currently she is an Assistant Professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Goetz has a passion for helping children, adolescents, and their families improve their day-to-day functioning and overall quality of life, and she has a special interest in improving access to behavioral health services. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, painting, and going on long walks with her dog Rosie.