Current Yerby Fellows

Mariana Arcaya

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Mariana Arcaya is a social epidemiologist and urban planner whose research examines how geographic and social contexts affect health. She received her ScD from the Harvard School of Public Health where her dissertation explored spillover effects of foreclosure on neighbors’ health. She also holds a Master of City Planning from MIT. Mariana focuses her work on actionable urban planning challenges to inform policy- and community-level interventions that promote health and reduce health disparities. As a Yerby Fellow, Mariana will study two key areas of opportunity for planning to improve population health: 1) chronic disease risk reduction through housing, community, and economic development, and 2) resilience and recovery after natural disasters.

Juan Carmona

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Juan’s interdisciplinary research combines cellular, molecular, and genomic approaches to characterize how epigenetic changes reflect the impact of environmental exposures on human health outcomes. Within his work an important epigenetic modification under study is DNA methylationwhich serves to modulate chromatin structure and gene expression. As a Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Environmental Health, mentored by Prof. Andrea Baccarelli, Juan is pioneering the use of cell-culture methods and of multiplexed, next-generation sequencing technologies within large epidemiological studies. This novel high-throughput approach offers a powerful, cost-effective method for mapping molecular mechanisms and biomarkers that reflect epigenome-wide reprogramming and health trajectories after environmental exposures. In addition to colleagues at the HSPH Center for Health Bioinformatics, he is actively collaborating with faculty at the Harvard-MIT Broad Institute, the Partners Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine, and the Channing Laboratory at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Hope Cummings

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Hope Cummings is a post-doctorate research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Hope’s primary research interest focuses on the role that media and technology play in shaping human behavior and development. Her past research has focused mainly on examining the effects that exposure to problematic media has on an individual’s cognitive, social, and physical well-being. As a fellow, she hopes to start her own empirical research program that examines the role that media play in damaging and improving public health, with a particular emphasis on cancer, and develop a theory of why the mass media has such powerful short-term and long-term effects on health behaviors. She also hopes to create media interventions that promote healthy attitudes and behaviors. Hope is currently being mentored under the supervision of Dr. K. Vish Viswanath.

David Hurtado

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David A. Hurtado, ScD. Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health Center for Work, Health and Well-being. My research examines how the work environment shapes the health and well-being of workers’, families and organizations. In particular, I evaluate how  organizational policies and practices related to work-time arrangements (e.g. job flexibility, breaks) affect risk factors for chronic disease. In addition, I research the links between job informality and labor policies with health outcomes in Colombia, my home country. I hold a Doctorate in Social and Behavioral Sciences and a Master’s in Society, Human Development and Health, both degrees from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Chandra Jackson

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Chandra L. Jackson’s research focuses on the epidemiology, prevention and control of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Her past work highlighted the potential for health information technology to improve diabetes care as well as racial/ethnic differences in 1) overweight/obesity trends within levels of educational attainment and 2) obesity-related mortality. As a Yerby Postdoctoral Fellow, she is working with Drs. Frank Hu and Ichiro Kawachi to investigate the role of suboptimal diet and lifestyle as modifiable contributors to the disproportionate obesity and diabetes risk experienced by traditionally under-resourced populations. By centering her research objectives on identifying modifiable, social determinants of both obesity and its publically- and policy-relevant health and social consequences  across the life span, she plans to contribute to the translation of epidemiologic findings into interventions and policies that address structural, macro-level as well as individual-level barriers to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. This approach will contribute to an overall obesity prevention strategy in addition to the elimination of preventable obesity-related disparities. To begin accomplishing these objectives, she is analyzing data from the Nurses’ Health Study I and II as well as the National Health Interview Survey, and plans to utilize data from the Jackson Heart Study, Black Women’s Health Study and Southern Communities Cohort Study.

Regina Joice

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Regina is a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health whose research focuses on microbial ecology and metagenomics. She is currently using metagenomic sequencing methods to characterize the microbial communities present on surfaces within an urban transportation system.  Her postdoctoral mentors are Dr. Curtis Huttenhower and Dr. Marc Lipsitch. Previously, she completed her Ph.D dissertation on host-pathogen interactions of the sexual stage of the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

Pedro Mejia

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Pedro is a Yerby Postdoctoral Research fellow, in the Genetics and Complex Diseases Department at the Harvard School of Public Health. Working under the supervision of James Mitchell, he studies the interaction between the host nutritional status and the immunopathology of cerebral malaria. Malaria is one of the most prevalent diseases worldwide. There are approximately 300-500 million cases of malaria, which result in around 1 million deaths a year. The nutritional status of the patient has long been suspected to play a major role in disease outcome in malaria, but the effects of specific nutrient deficiencies remain controversial and poorly characterized. Using an experimental model of severe malaria Pedro aims to define host nutritional and genetic factors modulating disease outcome.

Erica Warner

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Erica’s research focuses on understanding risk factors associated with aggressive subtypes of breast cancer, cancer metastasis, and elucidating racial and ethnic disparities in cancer.  She is particularly interested in early life exposures, body size/obesity, and molecular biomarkers.  As a Yerby Postdoctoral Fellow she will work on projects related to delays in follow-up of abnormal mammograms, mediators of racial disparities in breast cancer survival, predictors of mammographic breast density, and the relationship between vitamin D and body size and risk of breast cancer subtypes.  Her primary research mentor is Dr. Rulla Tamimi.