Student Spotlight

Daniella Chusyd Birmingham ZooDaniella Chusyd, Birmingham ZooDaniella Chusyd

Daniella was awarded the Ireland Research Travel Award. She also took 1st Place honors at the UAB Graduate Student Research Days for her paper titled “Body Composition and Associated Metabolic Profile of Zoo-Maintained Female African Elephants.”

“My research focuses on the relationship between body composition and various health parameters in African elephants. The Department of Nutrition Sciences at UAB and its faculty have provided me with the best opportunity to succeed by providing me with a strong foundation in body composition, nutritional biochemistry, and physiology. With the knowledge I have gained at UAB, I am confident I will continue to develop my niche in elephant research, incorporating diet and energetics.”


GarrVValene GarrValene Garr

My research interests include the role of the inflammatory response through adipocyte-derived hormones, adiposity through fat deposition, and nutritional stress during gestation and the perinatal period on fetal health and allostatic regulation of metabolism in early life.

I would like to connect concepts of chemical and hormonal regulation and from my undergraduate research, nutritional components of metabolism and body composition assessment methods from post-baccalaureate training to explore maternal body composition and nutrition determinants of poor fetal outcomes in African-American women.


Elizabeth Kroeger

Elizabeth KroegerElizabeth Kroeger“My research interests include the development, implementation, and evaluation of nutrition interventions within rural areas through community-based participatory research projects that centers on children’s food repertoire and nutrition status. I find that using qualitative methods are specifically impactful in this field because it allows us to see the entire complexity and subjectivity of a community in order to gain a better understanding of community social dynamics, such as community capacity and community competence, all of which, plays a large role in developing successful programs that make long-lasting contributions. Since being at UAB, I have been provided opportunities that coincide with my research interests and for that I am eternally grateful.”


Josh Muhammad DNSJosh MuhammadJosh Muhammad

“Since November, I have served as the student coordinator for the Nestle-UAB-Woodlawn Foundation (NUW) Early Childhood Nutrition Program. My primary responsibility is educating childcare directors, teachers and administrators about proper nutrition and feeding practices during a 5-part course held at Childcare Resources of Birmingham. My goal is to improve health outcomes for children by working in collaboration with pre-K classrooms.”


Camille Schneider

Camille SchneiderCamille SchneiderCamille was awarded the Ireland Research Travel Scholarship. She plans on traveling to the University of Oklahoma to train in the lab of David Fields, Ph.D. She was also recently chosen as the School of Health Professions' Student Spotlight. She also scored in the top 10 abstracts by the TOS Clinical Management of Obesity Section for her abstract entitled “Associations of Neonatal Adiponectin and Leptin with Growth and Body Composition in African American Infants” as part of ObesityWeek 2015 in Los Angeles.

“My research interests include early life feeding and nutrition and how they associate with metabolic health and body composition. My dissertation work will focus on the hormonal composition of breast milk and how this is associated with maternal and infant body composition. I was awarded the Ireland Research Travel Scholarship to travel to the University of Oklahoma to train in the lab of David Fields, PhD. There I will learn the best practices for the collection, handling and storage of breast milk samples, as well as the appropriate procedures necessary to perform the desired hormonal assays in the breast milk. Additionally, I will learn the procedures used to successfully perform and analyze DXA scans in infants. This will allow me to conduct these tests here at UAB and be able to develop the protocols so that other investigators can use these methods in the future will be able to benefit from this service."


Samara Sterling

Samara Sterling WebsiteSamara Sterling“For my research, I am taking a closer look at the diet of overweight and obese African-American women living in the rural South. While it has been noted that the Southern diet typically contains a large amount of fried foods, meats, and sweetened beverages, there is some evidence that healthy food items exist in the Southern diet. What is unknown, however, is the quality of the food items that are generally considered as healthy (i.e., if intake is usually accompanied by a large amount of sugar or salt), and if they are generally eaten with other healthy foods. For example, if an individual in this sample consumes a healthy food item like nuts, what is the amount of consumption and the quality of the nuts? Additionally, is the person also more likely to have a higher consumption of other healthy foods, as would be expected in other cultural contexts? If not, culture and palatability may play a greater role in the decision to eat healthy foods than the desire to eat healthfully. Knowledge of this could help to guide future intervention efforts in the rural South."


Jonathan Nate WarrenJonathan "Nate" WarrenJonathan “Nate” Warren

Nate recently received an NIH-funded T32 and is currently working with Barbara Gower, Ph.D. The UAB Center for Exercise Medicine provides an NIH-funded T32 training program to selected pre-doctoral students for the development of novel rehabilitation strategies to improve quality of life in chronic disease states. In keeping with that theme, Nate will utilize his training in mitochondrial bioenergetics and oxidative stress analysis in preventing and treating cardiometabolic disease.