Jose Fernandez headshot

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Department of Nutrition Sciences is recognized globally for our ongoing contributions to the field of nutrition science. Transformative researchers within the department are exploring the role nutrition plays in diabetes, cancer, and more using animal models (such as fruit flies, mice, and elephants) as well as clinical, community, and population research. Our students come from all over the country and the world to learn, bringing new perspectives while enhancing UAB’s diverse student body.

Our graduate programs include multiple master’s degree tracks with clinical and research focuses, as well as a PhD in Nutrition Sciences. With support from two comprehensive research centers on-site, UAB’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) and Diabetes Research Center(DRC), graduate students have the opportunity to work one-on-one with internationally renowned faculty and gain exposure to a wide range of topics in the field. Undergraduate students are invited to pursue a minor in Nutrition Sciences.

Our department is dedicated to – and excited about – training the next leaders in our field. If you’re passionate about nutrition science, join us!

Dr. Jose Fernandez
Professor and Vice Chair for Education, Department of Nutrition Sciences

Alumni Speak

Our students hail from different countries, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Their unique life experiences create an enriched learning environment that elicits the development of skills and compassion that benefit each other beyond UAB.

  • Charita Lewis
  • Carly Chason
  • Danielle Bowden
  • Keith Pearson
  • Mary Claire Shurina
  • May Pendergrass
  • Patrick McGavin
  • Charita Lewis

    Charita Lewis is from Dothan, Alabama, and earned her undergraduate degree from Samford University. Charita decided to further her education by enrolling in the Dietetic track of UAB’s MS in Nutrition Sciences. “This program has a history of success. Students enrolled in the UAB DI [MS in Nutrition Sciences] program will be well equipped to work professionally when they leave. This program has a high emphasis on critical thinking and application.” About the program, Charita says, “Come prepared to be stretched and to learn. It is an intense year of study and learning how to practice, but it is all worth it.”

  • Carly Chason

    Carly Chason grew up in Alpharetta, Georgia, and is a graduate of the University of Georgia. Her advice for any incoming UAB dietetic interns is, “Keep an open mind. Although you may already have an idea of the areas of nutrition that you like and dislike, be open to every rotation and be willing to put in the same amount of effort everywhere you go. Also, enjoy Birmingham; there are so many fun things to do in Birmingham, so take advantage.”

  • Danielle Bowden

    Danielle Bowden is from a very small farm town in Sherrard, Illinois. She attended the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where she earned her undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Health Sciences with a focus in Dietetics. Danielle chose UAB because of its “educationally diverse program that provides the opportunity to complete both the clinical internship and the master’s degree simultaneously at a teaching facility well known for their dietetic program.”

  • Keith Pearson

    Keith Pearson grew up in West Virginia and completed an undergraduate degree in dietetics at Marshall University. Following graduation, he moved to Birmingham to complete his dietetic internship and graduate studies at UAB. “Coming to UAB for graduate school and the internship was one of the best decisions I have made. Because of the training I received, I am confident in my skills as a dietitian and believe my time at UAB has set the foundation for a great career in the field of nutrition.”

  • Mary Claire Shurina

    Mary Claire Shurina is originally from Alpharetta, Georgia, and earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia. Mary Claire chose UAB for its “stellar reputation, particularly in the field of health professions.” Mary Claire’s first dietetic internship rotation was at the Mobile County Health Department alternating between WIC and the Adult Clinic. “It’s an amazing feeling being able to wake up each morning and share my passion for nutrition with clients.”

  • May Pendergrass

    May, whose hometown is Huntsville, came to UAB after receiving her undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. “UAB’s dietetic internship gives students the opportunity to rotate through a wide variety of experiences, from clinical and wellness to food management, that help the students become well rounded. Experiencing such a wide variety of opportunities in the field of nutrition and dietetics helped me narrow down what I would be interested in doing as a dietitian. Through the internship, I really saw myself grow professionally and become more confident in my skills and abilities. The internship also helped me network with other dietitians in Birmingham.”

  • Patrick McGavin

    Patrick is from Spanish Fort, Alabama, and earned his undergraduate degree at Samford University. His favorite experience while working on his MS in Nutrition Sciences, Dietetic Internship/Clinical track was "being able to experience so many different aspects of what a registered dietitian does. There are many rotations that are only a week or two, and this gave me the ability to work with different dietitians in different settings and see how their styles of work differ. This also gave me the ability to connect and build relationships with them, which might be one of the most important factors as an up and coming dietitian."