2022 Graduate Student Research Competition

scientist placing specimen into petri dish



Second Annual Obesity Initiative Research Symposium


Oral Presentation: 1st Place $1000, 2nd Place $600, 3rd Place $400

Poster Presentation: 1st Place $500, 2nd Place $350, 3rd Place $150; multiple categories

Topic Categories

All submissions must be obesity related. Abstracts are accepted in one of four categories:

  • Basic Science Research
  • Clinical Research
  • Social and Behavioral Research
  • Community and/or Policy Research

Student Presentation Winners

Oral Presentation Winners:

Chisolm Okoli, PhD student in the Department of Foods and NutritionChisom Blessing Okoli  First Place. PhD Student, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Presentation Title: Black Parents’ Perceptions about and Barriers to Limiting Sugar-Sweetened Beverages among Young Children

Chisom Blessing Okoli is a PhD Student in the Department of Nutritional Sciences., Her research focuses on childhood obesity prevention under the mentorship of Dr. Caree Cotwright. Chisom applies a mixed method approach (quantitative and qualitative) to develop innovative interventions that promote healthy beverages, fruit, and vegetable consumption among Black families.

Mary Catherine PraterMary Catherine Prater  Second Place. PhD/DI Candidate, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Presentation Title: Cottonseed oil shows favorable blood lipid improvements in hypercholesterolemic adults compared to olive oil

Mary Catherine Prater is a third year PhD candidate and dietetic intern in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. She is a member of the Human Nutrition Lab and studies with Dr. Jamie Cooper. Her research interests include how fatty acid composition of the diet can influence cardiovascular and metabolic health

Christabel Ampong Domfe Third Place. MS Student, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Presentation Title: Area of Residence (rural vs urban) and Obesity Prevalence Among Mother-Father Dyads in Ghana

Christabel Domfe is an MS student in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. She works in Dr. Alex Anderson’s Maternal and Child Nutrition Research Laboratory as a Graduate Research Assistant. Her research interests center on promoting food security, and maternal and child health.

Basic Science Poster Winners

Yura Son First Place. Weight loss with cottonseed oil improves liver and plasma lipid levels in a mouse model of fatty liver disease.

Grace Madu Second Place. Impact of a Western Diet on Adult Hippocampal Primary Cilia: Implications for Obesity

Jue Yang Third Place. Designing and Mapping a Youth Physical Activity Disparity (PAD) Index in US

Clinical, Behavior, or Community Poster Winners

Liana Lise Guarneiri  First Place.  Appetite Responses to Pecan-Enriched Diets

Elizabeth Cogan Second Place. Pecan-enriched diet improves cholesterol profiles and vascular function in overweight older adults: preliminary analysis

Jocelyn Anker Third Place. Unequal Weight of Weight Bias: How a Woman’s Weight and Race May Jointly Impact Proscriptive Weight Stereotypes