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.

Hope Cummings

Hope Cummings

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.

Gillian Franklin


Gillian Franklin, MD, MPH, PhD is a Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow, in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. Gillian is a trained dermatopathologist and public health professional whose research examines environmental exposures that may affect the skin and other organ systems via skin exposure. The focus of her Ph.D. dissertation work was on isocyanates in medical devices and consumer products, and the potential for residual isocyanates from these devices and products to be absorbed through the skin of neonates, leading to sensitization, thus possibly putting them at risk for developing childhood asthma in the future. As a Yerby Fellow, Gillian will study two significant aspects of arsenic-induced skin lesions: 1) an epidemiologic study assessing cumulative arsenic exposure in premalignant skin lesions in a Bangladeshi population who were chronically exposed to inorganic arsenic from natural deposits in their drinking water supplies, and 2) applications of toxicogenomic analysis of arsenic-induced skin lesions, assessing gene expression and DNA methylation. Her postdoctoral mentor is Dr. David Christiani.

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.

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.

Fred Tabung


Fred Tabung is a Yerby Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the department of Nutrition under the primary mentorship of Dr. Edward Giovannucci. Fred’s main research interest is the interaction between dietary and genetic factors, and the role of inflammation; in cancer prevention and control, especially cancers of the prostate, colorectum and breast. His previous research focused on the role of the inflammatory potential of diet (assessed using a novel dietary inflammatory index) in the prevention of breast and colorectal cancers. Working under the co-mentorship of Dr. Lorelei Mucci in the department of Epidemiology, Fred is examining the role of diet, other lifestyle and genetic factors on lethal prostate cancer and on inflammation in the prostate. Fred holds an M.S.P.H. and Ph.D. degrees in Epidemiology from the University of South Carolina.