Assistant Professor of Nutrition
My research focuses on racial and ethnic variations in genetic, dietary, and psychosocial determinants of chronic diseases and physiological stress (allostatic load) as a framework to explain and alleviate health disparities in racial/ethnic groups, particularly in Latinos in the US and Latin America. I have received multiple pilot funding awards, and an NIH-National Heart Lung and Blood Institute K01 Mentored Career Development Award to Promote Faculty Diversity. With these grants, I am currently developing two major lines of research:
- Evaluating the relationship between sociocultural attitudes and diet quality, and how the traditional diets of Latinos relate to the cardio-metabolic outcomes using population-based epidemiological studies of diverse Latino ethnic groups in the US and in Puerto Rico;
- Developing culturally-tailored dietary interventions and nutritional programs to improve the consumption of high-quality traditional foods as a strategy to prevent diabetes and obesity in Puerto Rico and among Latinos in the Boston metro area.
My general areas of interest include:
- Diet quality and type 2 diabetes, obesity, CVD, and related cardiometabolic outcomes
- Ethnic-specific foods, dietary habits, and nutritional intake, and how these shape racial/ethnic disparities in cardiometabolic outcomes and chronic diseases
- Sociocultural aspects of diet and health, and their application in culturally-tailored lifestyle interventions
- The global nutrition transition; establishing dietary interventions to improve diet quality and prevent diabetes in Latin America
- Effect of variants in genes on glucose and lipid metabolism pathways, on changes in weight and glucose/insulin markers in response to diet interventions; gene-diet interactions and nutrigenomics
- Community and population-based health promotion programs for minority populations
I am also particularly interested in promoting the inclusion of under-represented groups in the epidemiologic and community health studies, of minority students in public health education, and of women and minorities in science and academia.
- PhD; Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism, Friedman School of Nutrition, Tufts University
- MS; Nutritional Biochemistry and Metabolism-Specialization in Genetics, Tufts University
- MPH; Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Tufts University
- BS; Industrial Microbiology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus