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Allison Aiello, PhD

Professor, Epidemiology, UNC Chapel Hill

Co-PI, Carolina Center for Population Aging and Health

aaiello@email.unc.edu

Dr. Aiello’s research seeks to integrate social and biological data across the life course, including
epigenetic approaches, to identify the key triggers of population variation in susceptibility to dementia, poor mental health, cardiometabolic, and immune/infectious disease outcomes. Her overall research goal is to elucidate whether stress-related biological imprinting, through immune and epigenetic mechanisms, explain how health inequities from these conditions arise and produce disease risk across the life span.

Elizabeth Frankenberg, PhD

Elizabeth Frankenberg, PhD
Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor, Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill
Director, Carolina Population Center

Co-PI, Carolina Center for Population Aging and Health
e.frankenberg@unc.edu

My work focuses on how individuals and families respond to unexpected changes and how government programs and policies can help them adapt. Much of my research is about Indonesia before and after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. I draw on household and community survey data that my colleagues and I have collected over the past 15 years, in combination with high resolution satellite imagery, to investigate how the disaster and subsequent recovery affect health and well-being at the population level.

Linda Adair, PhD
Professor, Nutrition
linda_adair@unc.edu

Linda Adair’s research focuses on maternal and child health and nutrition in low- and middle-income countries globally. She studies the determinants and long-term consequences of infant and early childhood feeding and growth patterns, the developmental origins of adult health and well being, determinants of healthy aging, and the role of HIV in maternal and child nutritional status, pregnancy and birth outcomes. She uses longitudinal analysis methods incorporating a life-course focus in numerous ongoing population-based cohort studies.

Christy Avery, PhD
Associate Professor, Epidemiology
Christy_avery@unc.edu

Christy Avery’s research revolves around the promotion of cardiovascular health across the lifespan. To do so, Dr. Avery is interested in understanding the common genetic footprint shared by many chronic diseases as well as the influence of gene-environment interaction and genomic biomarkers, particularly metabolomics.

Kenneth A. Bollen, PhD
Henry Rudolph Immerwahr Distinguished Professor, Psychology & Neuroscience and Department of Sociology

bollen@email.unc.edu

Ken Bollen develops new quantitative methods to apply to the population and social/behavioral sciences. These include new models to analyze longitudinal data, creative approaches to analyze difficult to measure concepts, and developing estimators that have greater robustness to the approximate nature of our models. Population studies, health, and trauma are the contexts within which he develops these methods while also addressing practical substantive questions.

Yong Cai, PhD
Associate Professor Professor, Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill
caiyong@unc.edu

Cai’s research focuses on China’s one-child policy and its implications for fertility and social policies. Specifically, his work shows that: China’s fertility has dropped to a level well-below the replacement; the demographic impact of the one-child policy was modest, much less than the government’s claim of 400 million averted births; socioeconomic development played critical role in driving China’s fertility decline; and the socioeconomic impacts of low fertility and population aging are substantial. The consensus on these issues, to which Cai contributed, provided the empirical and scientific foundation that persuaded Chinese government to end the three-decades long policy.

Paul Delamater, PhD
Assistant Professor, Geography, UNC Chapel Hill
pld@email.unc.edu

Paul L. Delamater is interested in the geographic aspects of health outcomes and behaviors, as well as health care access and utilization. He uses methods that employ geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis to better understand population health issues. His recent research has focused on understanding childhood vaccination, herd immunity, and vaccine-preventable diseases in the US.

Michael Emch, PhD
W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor, Geography and Epidemiology, UNC Chapel Hill
emch@unc.edu

Michael Emch’s expertise is in spatial epidemiology, disease ecology, and geographic information science applications of public health mostly on infectious diseases. He studies spatial patterns of diseases by investigating the role of social, natural, and built environments in disease occurrence in different places and populations, leading efforts to incorporate spatial sciences into different areas of inquiry in the health sciences.

Donna Gilleskie, PhD
Chair, Economics, UNC Chapel Hill
donna_gilleskie@unc.edu

As a health economist, I study the economic behavior of individuals as it relates to their health. The approach reflected in my work involves understanding decisionmaking over time, so it is likely to involve forward-looking optimization theory and dynamic empirical models. I’ve studied smoking behavior, employment behaviors, and medical and non-medical health input behaviors.

Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD
Professor, Nutrition, UNC Chapel Hill
Associate Dean for Research, Gillings School of Global Public Health
pglarsen@unc.edu

Penny Gordon-Larsen’s NIH-funded research portfolio focuses on individual-, household-, and
community-level susceptibility to obesity and its cardiometabolic consequences, and her work ranges from molecular and genetic to environmental and societal-level factors. Much of her research focuses on identifying modifiable factors to reduce disparities in obesity and
its consequences by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. She is also particularly interested in the pathways linking environment and behavior to cardiometabolic and cardiovascular disease risk.

Annie Green Howard, PhD
Associate Professor, Biostatistics
aghoward@email.unc.edu

Annie Green Howard is interested in the development and application of statistical modeling approaches, with a substantive focus on obesity and cardiometabolic disease. She specializes in using longitudinal models and latent variables to study the integration of biology, behavior and environment in relation to health outcomes

Guang Guo, PhD
Dr. George and Alice Welsh Distinguished Professor, Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill
guang_guo@unc.edu

Guang Guo has focused on the intersection of sociology and genomics, incorporating advances in genomics and epigenomics in the studies of social science issues such as social stratification and health inequality. His work takes advantage of dazzling developments in molecular genomics over the past quarter century have undermined an assumption still common in mainstream social sciences — that individuals are about the same at birth (a “blank slate”) and that the observed differences across individuals are due entirely to environmental influences.

Carolyn Tucker Halpern, PhD
Chair, Maternal and Child Health, UNC Chapel Hill
carolyn_halpern@unc.edu

Carolyn T Halpern is a developmental psychologist; her research aims to improve understanding of healthy sexual development and the implications of adolescent experiences for developmental and demographic processes into adulthood. Much of her work focuses on the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), for which she served as Deputy Director from
2006-2020, and she is co-PI of a recently launched NICHD/NIMHD-funded study, “Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity, Socioeconomic Status, and Health across the Life Course,” that will collect new developmental data from sexual and gender minorities in the Add Health cohort.

Sudhanshu (Ashu) Handa, PhD
Kenan Eminent Professor, Public Policy, UNC Chapel Hill
shanda@email.unc.edu

Dr. Handa is an economist working on poverty, health and human development in sub-Saharan Africa. He is co-PI of The Transfer Project, a regional initiative with UNICEF and FAO to understand the broad effects of government sponsored cash transfer programs in sub-Saharan Africa. He is currently studying the long-term effects of cash transfers in Zambia and Malawi.

Taylor Hargrove, PhD
Assistant Professor, Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill
thargrov@email.unc.edu

Taylor W. Hargrove’s research seeks to uncover and explain the development of health disparities across the life course, focusing on the consequences of race, skin color, gender, and socioeconomic status. Her work addresses both between-group inequalities in health as well as sources of heterogeneity within groups that differentiate pathways to health. She is currently engaged in
research that explores linkages among socio-geographic contexts, individual-level characteristics, and biological measures of health in early adulthood.

Kathleen Mullan Harris, PhD
James Haar Distinguished Professor, Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill
kathie_harris@unc.edu

Kathleen Mullan Harris studies social inequality and health seeking to understand how disadvantaged environments and social experiences influence physical well-being across the life course. Her research focuses on the biosocial processes that increase health risks early in life before disease is manifest to inform policies that reduce health disparities and improve population health.

Robert Hummer, PhD
Howard W. Odum Distinguished Professor, Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill
rhummer@email.unc.edu

Robert A. Hummer’s research program is focused on the accurate description and more complete understanding of population health patterns and trends in the United States. He is currently Co-Director, with Kathleen Mullan Harris, of the long-running National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), a nationally-representative longitudinal study of over 20,000 American adults who are now around 40 years old and have been followed since they were adolescents. Dr. Hummer is particularly interested in understanding how and why the physical, mental, and cognitive health of individuals in the Add Health study differs across racial/ethnic, gender, and socioeconomic subgroups of the population.

Jennifer L. Lund, PhD
Associate Professor, Epidemiology, UNC Chapel Hill
jennifer.lund@unc.edu

Dr. Lund’s research focuses at the intersection of aging, multimorbidity and oncology. She has developed expertise in health services and comparative effectiveness research. Her research aims to generate robust evidence regarding the uses, benefits and harms of medical interventions for older cancer patients.

Chantel Martin, PhD
Assistant Professor, Epidemiology, UNC Chapel Hill
martchan@email.unc.edu

Dr. Chantel Martin’s research seeks to uncover social and biological mechanisms of health disparities across the life course. By identifying the long-term effects of early life stressors, such as neighborhood deprivation, crime, residential segregation, and air pollution, her multidisciplinary research aims to improve health among racial/ethnic minorities and eliminate health disparities.

Joanna “Asia” Maselko, PhD
Associate Professor, Epidemiology, UNC Chapel Hill
jmaselko@email.unc.edu

Dr. Maselko’s research aims to identify causal mechanisms through which the social environment impacts the development of neuropsychiatric disorders. Much of this research focuses on the inter-generational transmission of risk, and how the family and socioeconomic environments shape socio-emotional and cognitive developmental trajectories. Recent work is exploring granpdarent-grandchild interactions and their potential impact on both child and grandparent health and well-being.

Jeremy Moulton, PhD
Associate Professor, Public Policy, UNC Chapel Hill
moulton@email.unc.edu

Jeremy G. Moulton works to better understand how public policy affects people in intended and unintended ways. He has investigated a broad selection of different policies, for instance the effect of children aging out eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit on women’s decisions to work, the role of Medicare Part-D on self-employment decisions, and the impact of property tax exemptions for the elderly and disabled veterans on home prices.

Ted Mouw, PhD
Professor, Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill
tedmouw@email.unc.edu

Ted Mouw is a sociologist who studies labor markets, immigration, and social networks. His current research involves the mobility of low-wage workers, the economic incorporation of immigrants, and methods to collect samples from rare or hidden populations using social networks.

Klara Peter, PhD
Associate Professor, Economics, UNC Chapel Hill
kpeter@unc.edu

Klara Peter’s research focuses on behavioral responses of individuals and firms to public policies in a weak institutional environment. In the context of several transitional economies, she examined the effect of market reforms on the quality of life, worker flows, returns to human capital, and firm efficiency.

Barry M. Popkin, PhD
W.R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor, Nutrition, UNC Chapel Hill
popkin@unc.edu

Barry Popkin helps countries design the most effective national regulations and fiscal policies to promote healthy eating, obesity prevention, and sustainability while reducing undernutrition and leads programs undertaking evaluations of these new policies. His work covers dozens of countries with a current focus on the US, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, South Africa and cohorts in a number of counties, especially the China Healthy Nutrition Survey in China. He focuses also on the nutrition transition across the life cycle. All his work focuses on reducing disparities in health.

Liana Richardson, PhD
Assistant Professor, Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill
liana_richardson@unc.edu

Liana Richardson’s research focuses on the link between social inequalities and health, with particular interest in examining the social causes and consequences of racial/ethnic and gender disparities in health both within and across generations.

Whitney Robinson, PhD
Associate Professor, Epidemiology, UNC Chapel Hill
whitney_robinson@unc.edu

Whitney R. Robinson is figuring out why Black women in the U.S. experience worse health and healthcare than other Americans when it comes to gynecological issues, cancer, and obesity. Her research focuses on everyday challenges (such as poverty during childhood, limited health care options, parts of the country where people live, and structural racism) and how they contribute to people’s risk of dealing with chronic health care issues. She believes that Black women are like “the canary in the coal mine”: the kind of changes that would improve the health of Black women would dramatically improve the health of all Americans.

Amanda Thompson, PhD
Associate Chair and Associate Professor, Anthropology, UNC Chapel Hill
althomps@email.unc.edu

Amanda Thompson is a human biologist specializing in human growth and nutrition. She focuses on the biological pathways linking early life social, behavioral and physical environments to health outcomes across a range of national and international settings, including North Carolina, China, and Ecuador. She is particularly interested in how early life nutrition and environmental exposures shape the development of obesity and chronic disease.

Y. Claire Yang, PhD
Professor, Sociology, UNC Chapel Hill
yangy@unc.edu

Yang conducts transdisciplinary research focusing on social disparities in health and aging that crosscuts life course sociology, biodemography, social epidemiology, and statistical methods. She has established an innovative and proliferative program of scholarship on this topic. Her overarching goal is to discover complex patterns and mechanisms of population health disparities and their changes over the life course.