Cathy Yount joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2020. She holds a degree in Human Biology and Society from UCLA and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of California, Irvine. Prior to coming to Rochester, Cathy was worked as an Evaluation Coordinator at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and completed the Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at the Children’s Hospital, Los Angeles. Her academic interests include environmental exposures during pregnancy and subsequent biomarkers, as well as child health and neurodevelopmental outcomes.
Karunakar Samuel joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2020. He completed his undergraduate studies at Bowling Green State University, earning his Bachelor of Science in Biology before continuing on to the University of Toledo where he earned his Master’s in Public Health with an Epidemiology specialization. His Master’s thesis looked at the impact of multiple sclerosis on oral health, a project he continued working on after graduation as a researcher in the Department of Neurology. He also conducted research studying the relationship between household dust mite exposure and IgE-mediated demyelination. Karunakar’s research interests include the epidemiology of multiple sclerosis and other neuroimmunological diseases.
Mariah Kahwaji joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2020. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology degree in 2018 and a Master of Science in Epidemiology degree in 2019, both from Kent State University. During her educational period at Kent State University, she worked with a neuroscience research lab, Cleveland Clinic Akron General, and Summit County Public Health on projects related to child and maternal health. Broadly, Mariah’s research interests include perinatal health and longitudinal study outcomes. Specifically, she is interested in lifestyle and environmental exposures during the perinatal period that are associated with thyroid and other chronic outcomes in children.
Ying Wang joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2020. She received her Bachelors degree in Preventive Medicine from Nanjing Medical University, and subsequently completed her Master in Epidemiology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include infectious disease and identification of modifiable factors (e.g., physical activity and nutrition) to predict health outcomes.
Spoorthy Vangala joined the Epidemiology Ph.D. program in 2021. She received her medical degree from Dr. NTRUHS, India, and subsequently graduated from the University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, with a Masters in Public Health. She has previously worked at the California Department of Public Health as an Epidemiologist with the COVID-19 response team. Her research interests are in cardiovascular epidemiology, particularly in understanding the effects of environmental exposures on cardiometabolic risk factors.
Maya Anand joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2021 and is a student in the MD/PhD program. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Information Science degree from Columbia University and has previously worked as a clinical research coordinator for studies relating to supportive care for patients with advanced cancer. Her research interests relate to social determinants of health in older adults with cancer, including social support and health literacy.
Allison Ciesla joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2014. She received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Biology degree from St. Lawrence University, and a Master of Science in Epidemiology degree from Case Western Reserve University. Allison has an interest in take home exposures: what are we doing in the workplace that affects the health of our families? Allison is currently conducting field research and collecting data for her thesis titled: “Occupational Contributions to Pesticide Exposure.” She is also working as a research coordinator/assistant with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology for the UPSIDE study.
Ashley Holub joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2015. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology degree from the University of Buffalo, where she worked as a research assistant for the Depression Research Treatment Team. She received a Master in Arts of Psychology from Medaille College. She has previously worked as a clinical research coordinator in clinical trials. Ashley is a human subjects research coordinator for the Seychelles Child Development Study and also conducts research within the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Her research interests are centered around pediatrics and psychiatric epidemiology. Her thesis is examining the health effects of stress in caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder.
Marielle Jensen-Battaglia joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2019. Her educational background includes a Bachelors degree in Biology and minor in Psychology from Roberts Wesleyan College and a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. She is a licensed physical therapist, certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist and American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Credentialed Clinical Instructor with experience in outpatient, skilled nursing, homecare, and day center settings. Her research interests include healthy aging, health inequities in geriatric populations, and determinants of physical mobility through the end of life.
Amber Kautz joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2019. Amber earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Cornell University in 2015, and subsequently completed her Master of Science in Nutrition, as well as her Dietetic Internship, at Boston University in 2017. Prior to joining the program, she worked as a Registered Dietitian for 2 years in the inpatient setting. Broadly, her research interests are centered on nutritional epidemiology, including factors that impact weight status and chronic disease outcomes.
Julie Kittel joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2017. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in Music from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010, and subsequently completed her Master in Experimental Psychology degree at the College of William and Mary in 2012. She also worked at the Department of Veterans Affairs VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans in Waco, TX, where she studied post-deployment mental health in recent veterans. Her research interests are suicide prevention and health-related risk factors for suicide, such as obesity and binge drinking. She is also interested in the relationship between stigma, prejudice, and suicidal behavior.
Rui Li joined the Epidemiology PhD program at URMC in 2016. She received her Bachelors degree in Preventive Medicine from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. Her broad interests include chronic pain epidemiology and women’s health. Her major research area is the life course development and biopsychosocial determinants of chronic pain in women.
My name is Linxi Liu. I am a PhD candidate in Epidemiology program. I have a BS degree in Preventive Medicine, and MS degree in Epidemiology. I am interested in Clinical epidemiology. My dissertation is focusing on the prognostic role of eosinophil count on mortality rates and risk of pneumonitis in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with immunotherapy (immune checkpoint inhibitor).
Daniel A. Lopez joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2018. He received his Bachelors degree in History from the University of California-Los Angeles. He also has an Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from Stanford University and a Master of Public Health from the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Public Health. Prior to joining the Epidemiology PhD program, he worked with the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos for 8 years. He is currently conducting research with the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) cohort study, and will focus on cognitive predictors of problematic gaming habits in adolescents for his thesis.
Philip Meacham joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2013. Phil earned a dual Bachelors of Science in Statistics and Applied Mathematics, summa cum laude, from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2011. He then earned a Masters of Science in Biostatistics at Georgetown University in 2013. During this time, he worked at the National Institutes of Health as a research analyst with the National Institute of Child Health and Development. Phil now works in the clinical trials office at the Wilmot Cancer Institute. His focus is in cancer epidemiology, and he is particularly interested in prevention of second cancers, risk prediction modeling, and applying novel statistical methodology in clinical research. His thesis is examining predictors of subsequent lymphoid malignancies, and evaluating the population that develops these, in order to better understand cancer etiology in the hematologic setting.
Mostafa Mohamed joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2019. Mostafa earned his medical degree (MBBCh) from Alexandria University in Egypt then he completed four years of clinical training in Medical Oncology at Alexandria University Hospitals. Prior to entering the department, Mostafa worked as a research fellow with the Geriatric Oncology Research Group at the University of Rochester for 2 years. His research interests focus on geriatric oncology and clinical cancer research. Specifically, he is interested in examining potential toxicity of cancer treatments, polypharmacy, and physician decision making during cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Savanah Russ joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2019. Savanah earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from the State University of New York at Geneseo in 2016, as well as a Master in Public Health degree from the Yale School of Public Health in 2019 with concentrations in Epidemiology of Microbial Disease and Public Health Modeling. During this time, she worked as a surveillance officer and research assistant for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) IMPACT project at the Connecticut Emerging Infections Program studying missed opportunities for HPV vaccination among women with precursors to cervical cancer. Her main research interests surround effectiveness and barriers to uptake of the HPV vaccine in various populations.
Nicole Mayo joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2017. She graduated from California State University, Northridge with an Interdisciplinary Masters degree in Public Health and Kinesiology (with emphases in epidemiology and exercise physiology), and an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology. Her thesis work involved the development and implementation of a free community-based weight loss program targeting underserved communities of Southern California. Her current research interests include the effect of physical activity and diet as protective measures against neurodegenerative diseases, as well as investigating novel modifiable risk factors related to cardiovascular disease.
Meng Wang joined the Epidemiology PhD grogram in 2014. She received her Bachelor of Preventive Medicine and Master of Science in Epidemiology from Peking University in Beijing, China. Prior to entering the department, she worked as a research assistant in the George Institute for Global Health (China Office) and Peking University Clinical Research Institute. Her research interests include cardiovascular and clinical epidemiology. Currently she is a research assistant in the Clinical Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Her PhD thesis is "The Influence of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators on Cardiac and Mental Health in Patients with Long QT Syndrome.