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Allison CieslaAllison Ciesla

Home Town: Fulton, NY

Undergraduate Degree and/or previous Graduate Degree(s): Computer Science / Biology BS, Epidemiology MS

Areas of Interest in your field: Take-home occupational and environmental exposures. What are we doing in the workplace that may be taken home and affect our families? Additional areas of interest include environmental contaminants and the investigation into newer chemicals that have replaced more harmful chemicals in our everyday lives.

Background/Profile: Allison Ciesla joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2014. She received her BS in computer science and biology from St. Lawrence University. She has also received an MS in epidemiology from Case Western Reserve University. Her research interests include exposure assessment and occupational epidemiology. She is currently working as a research assistant and study coordinator with a large nationwide collaborative study where our local site is examining environmental exposures and health outcomes in children from the prenatal stage to 4 years of life.

Why did you choose The University of Rochester? The strong environmental epidemiology interests within the department as well as the close proximity to the medical center for collaborative opportunities

What are your career aspirations? Teaching at a research institute

What are some of the things you have learned since you came to Rochester? The methodology our department carries throughout its courses helps lay a great foundation for understanding and success in our field. Her PhD thesis is titled “Occupational contributions to pesticide exposure: the general population and a survey of migrant farmworkers”.

Ashley HolubAshley Holub

Home Town: Medford, NY

Undergraduate Degree and/or previous Graduate Degree(s): Psychology BS, MA

Areas of Interest in your field: Psychiatric epidemiology, access to care, developmental disabilities

Background/Profile: Ashley Holub joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2015. Prior to entering the department, she received her BS in psychology from the University at Buffalo (UB). She has also received an MA in general psychology from Medaille College. Her past work experience includes research with the Depression and Research Treatment Team at UB and in clinical trials as a study coordinator. Her research interests include psychiatric epidemiology, polypharmacy and developmental disabilities.

Why did you choose The University of Rochester? The affiliation with the medical center offers unique research opportunities as well as the variety of faculty interests.

What are your career aspirations? Industry-Pharmaceutical

What are some of the things you have learned since you came to Rochester? A greater understanding of statistical methods and study design. Her PhD thesis is titled Stress, health behaviors, and health outcomes in caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder”.

Julie KittelJulie Kittel-Moseley

Home Town: Charlottesville, VA

Undergraduate Degree and/or previous Graduate Degree(s): Bachelor of Science (Psychology), Master of Arts (Psychology)

Areas of Interest in your field: The interaction of physical and mental health, particularly as it relates to suicide risk

Background/Profile: Julie joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2017. Prior to entering the department, she received her BS in psychology with a minor in music from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and her MA in psychology from the College of William and Mary. Julie previously worked as a research coordinator at the Veterans Authority (VA) VISN 17 Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans in Waco, TX and Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Her research interests focus on the intersection of mental and physical health, and how chronic diseases and physical impairment affect suicide risk. More specifically, she is interested in mental health outcomes and suicide risk in cancer survivors.

Why did you choose The University of Rochester? Both the University and the department value interdisciplinary collaborations, which opens up many opportunities. I have had the opportunity to collaborate with the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide, the VA Center of Excellence for Suicide Prevention in Canandaigua, and the Wilmot Cancer Institute, as well as multiple departments on both campuses.

What are your career aspirations? Research at a government agency (VA, CDC) or academic medical center

What are some of the things you have learned since you came to Rochester? A solid understanding of epidemiologic and statistical methods and how to apply those methods to my research.

Daniel Lopez

Daniel Lopez

Home Town: Napa, CA

Undergraduate Degree and/or previous Graduate Degree(s): History BA, Latin American Studies MA, Public Health MA

Areas of Interest in your field: Predictors of cognitive development/decline

Background/Profile: Daniel joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2018. He received his Bachelor’s in History from the University of California-Los Angeles. He also has an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Stanford University and an MPH from the CUNY School of Public Health. Prior to joining the 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, analyzing predictors of cognitive performance in participants. For his thesis, Daniel plans to focus on population neuroscience and risk factors related to cognitive performance. 

Why did you choose The University of Rochester? The faculty and the possibility for collaboration with other departments at the medical school. Rochester is also a good place for families.

What are your career aspirations? Cognitive research and university teaching

What are some of the things you have learned since you came to Rochester? Appropriate methods for designing a study along with the statistical methods that can be used to analyze data.   

Nicole MayoNicole Mayo

Home Town: Los Angeles, CA

Undergraduate Degree and/or previous Graduate Degree(s): B.S. - Kinesiology, Exercise Science. M.S. - Interdisciplinary Studies, dual emphases in Kinesiology (Exercise Physiology) and Public Health (Epidemiology).

Areas of Interest in your field: Her primary areas of interest are epidemiologic methods and measurement of physical activity and sedentary behavior. In addition to this, she is interested in modifiable, sustainable, and eco-friendly health behaviors. 

Background/Profile: Nicole joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2017. Prior to entering the department, she received her B.S. and M.S. from California State University Northridge. Her previous work experience includes developing and implementing a modified version of the CDC's Diabetes Prevention Program to underserved, at-risk communities in Southern California, while working as a personal trainer and exercise physiologist. 

Why did you choose The University of Rochester? The learning environment felt very friendly and welcoming during the interview process. Importantly, this program allows students to pursue dissertation topics of their own interests and ideas with the primary data collection component.

What are your career aspirations? Teaching at the university level or working as an epidemiologist with a local, state, or national public health agency. 

What are some of the things you have learned since you came to Rochester? Rigorous methodology regarding study design and statistical modeling. Also, what a garbage plate and fish fry are, and how to drive/walk in the snow.

Meng WangMeng Wang

Home Town: Beijing, China

Undergraduate Degree and/or previous Graduate Degree(s): Bachelor of Preventive Medicine, MS in Epidemiology

Areas of Interest in your field: Cardiovascular and clinical epidemiology, risk prediction. 

Background/Profile: Meng Wang joined the Epidemiology PhD program in 2014. She received her Bachelor of Preventive Medicine and MS 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 epidemiology and clinical epidemiology.  Currently she is a research assistant in the Clinical Cardiovascular Research Center at URMC.  Her PhD thesis is "The Influence of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators on Cardiac and Mental Health in Patients with Long QT Syndrome".

Why did you choose The University of Rochester? Strong cardiovascular clinical research program. Students can access resources not only within PHS but also in the medical center. 

What are your career aspirations? Independent investigator in epidemiology or clinical research. 

What are some of the things you have learned since you came to Rochester? Critically appraising literature, epidemiological and statistical methodology, communication with collaborators from different fields, writing and publishing manuscripts, etc.  Her PhD thesis is titled "The Influence of Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators on Cardiac and Mental Health in Patients with Long QT Syndrome".