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Clinical Nutrition Research

Our clinical nutrition researchers include faculty members and active clinicians seeking to expand the body of knowledge in nutritional sciences and dietetics practice. They engage in a wide range of multidisciplinary studies, collaborating with colleagues in neurological sciences, cardiology, geriatrics, health systems management, nursing, neonatology and pulmonary/critical care.

Faculty research

Sharon P. Foley, PhD, RDN is an assistant professor in clinical nutrition. Her research interests include assessing psychometric properties of measures, investigating nutrition assessment methods, applying the transtheoretical model of stage of change and motivational interviewing, and participating in outcomes research.

Sandra L. Gomez-Perez, PhD, RDN, LDN, has been involved in translational research for almost two decades in a variety of capacities focused on: 1) understanding the mechanisms contributing to obesity, 2) prevention strategies for obesity, and 3) dietary and behavioral interventions for the treatment of obesity in different populations including high-risk and underserved populations, and racial minorities. Her research program currently combines nutrition epidemiology, research, innovative body composition imaging technologies, and gut microbiota to design and direct clinical and behavioral interventions in obesity-related cancers, primarily colorectal and breast cancers.

Sarah Peterson, PhD, RDN, LDN is an assistant professor in clinical nutrition. Prior to obtaining her PhD, Sarah was a nutrition support dietitian working primarily in the Medical Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This experience has influenced her two primary research interests. Her research examines outcomes associated with nutrition support exposure among ICU patients. Additionally, she is interested in identifying techniques and tools that can be utilized in clinical practice to quantify body composition as wells as applying these resources to describe outcomes associated with body composition changes.

Christine C. Tangney, PhD, FACN, CNS is a professor in clinical nutrition at Rush and associate dean for research in the College of Health Sciences. She has special expertise in the assessment of dietary behaviors of individuals and population samples in relation to cardiovascular and cognitive health. Her recent focus has been on the development of short dietary screeners that monitor changes in dietary behaviors and key biomarkers among several populations: young, pre-hypertensive African-American women; middle-aged and older women with cardiovascular risk; and breast cancer survivors. A critical component of her research is quantifying meaningful dietary changes (and, conversely, dietary stability) within the limits of these tools.