Eating and Weight Behaviors

Tanofsky-Kraff Lab

Graduate Students

Sarah Russell

Sarah RussellSarah Russell is a 1st year civilian student working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. She earned her B.S. in Biology from Gardner-Webb University in 2010. Prior to attending USUHS, Sarah worked as a research associate at Children’s Minnesota in the Center for the Treatment of Eating Disorders and also volunteered as a research assistant at the University of Minnesota in the Minnesota Center for Eating Disorders Research. During her time with these groups, she gained experience in assessment, data collection and analysis, manuscript preparation, and research design and protocol development. Sarah is currently interested in exploring the biological and environmental factors contributing to the risk and maintenance of disordered eating among adolescents.

Contact: sarah.russell@usuhs.edu

Kevin Barry

Kevin BarrKevin Barryy matriculated into the Clinical Psychology PhD program in 2017 as an Army student. He earned his B.S. in Psychology from VCU in 2009 and his M.S. in School Psychology from Tulane in 2012. Kevin’s research examines the impact of stress on the neuroendocrine system and on disordered eating, while also looking at ethnic disparities in these health outcomes, especially among youth and military populations. He also intends to examine smartphones’ ability to improve our assessment and intervention of disordered eating behaviors. Before matriculating, Kevin served as an Army Infantry officer for 3 years, beginning his career on Fort Benning. He then served in Germany for 2 years as a Stryker Infantry Platoon Leader for 2D CAV on Rose Barracks. He spent 8 months deployed, first to the Baltics on a training operation with coalition forces, then to Turkey on a security operation. After completing his Platoon Leader time, he worked as an Intelligence officer, serving as Squadron AS2.

Contact: kevin.barry@usuhs.edu

Will Leu

Will Leu is an Air Force student in the 2016 cohort and is working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. He received his B.A. in Sociology and Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2016 and earned his commission through the University of California, Los Angeles Air Force ROTC program. Prior to attending USUHS, Will was a mental health peer at the UCSB Counseling and Psychological Services center and a research assistant at the Koegel Autism Center. His research interests include emotional eating and sex differences in disinhibted eating behaviors.

Contact: william.leu@usuhs.edu

Meghan Byrne

MeghMeghan Byrnean Byrne entered the Medical and Clinical Psychology program in the 2016 cohort. She received her B.A. in Psychology with a second major in Marketing from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014. After graduating, Meghan worked as a research coordinator at the Weight Management and Eating Disorders program at Washington University School of Medicine. Her research interests include the role of anxiety in neural and physiological aspects of obesity and disordered eating in youth.

Alexandria Morettini

Alexandria MorettiniAlexandria Morettini is a 1st year Navy student working towards a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.  She earned her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, San Marcos in 2005.  Prior to commissioning in the Navy, Alex served in the Air Force as a Mental Health Technician and Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) from 2006-2014, working in Mental Health and ADAPT Clinics and at the Brig. She also deployed with the Army to Afghanistan where she spent time at Combat Stress Control and the Freedom Restoration Center, and travelled to FOBs without dedicated mental health services. Alex is currently interested in exploring the stigma attached to various labels and issues faced by military members, particularly suicidal ideation.

Contact: alexandria.morettini@usuhs.edu

Lisa Shank

Lisa Shank

Lisa Shank is a 5th-year graduate student in the Medical Psychology program (2013 cohort). In 2008, she received her B.S. in Management Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After briefly working as a business analyst, Lisa decided to pursue a career in research, working as a clinical research coordinator and data manager at Massachusetts General Hospital. In 2013, she completed her M.S. in Psychology at Drexel University. At USUHS, Lisa’s master’s thesis examined attentional bias to food cues in youth with loss of control eating, and her dissertation is investigating the relationship between acute stress, salivary markers of inflammation, and physical health in youth with and without loss of control eating. She is primarily interested in the physiological correlates of loss of control and binge eating. 

Omni Cassidy

Omni CassidyOmni Cassidy matriculated into the Medical and Clinical Psychology dual-track program in 2012. In 2010, she received her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. As an undergraduate, Omni volunteered with the Weight Management and Eating Disorders Program. She also worked as an intern at the Jackson Heart Study in Jackson, MS, investigating African Americans with Type II diabetes. Before beginning her graduate studies, Omni worked as a research assistant at the NIH and USUHS on a study examining the effect of interpersonal psychotherapy on the prevention of excess weight gain in adolescent girls and also coordinated a pilot study to adapt interpersonal psychotherapy to be culturally appropriate in preventing excess weight gain in racial/ethnic minority groups. She is interested in factors that may promote disordered eating and excessive weight gain in African American youth and how such research may be used to inform policy.

Contact: omni.cassidy@usuhs.edu

Fellows

Katy Higgins Neyland

Katy Higgins NeylandDr. Katy Higgins Neyland is a postdoctoral fellow at the Uniformed Services University with Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, PhD, and in the Section on Growth and Obesity at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development with Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Quantitative Psychology in 2016 from the University of North Carolina. She completed her clinical psychology internship in the Women’s Mental Health track at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. Higgins Neyland’s research interests broadly include mechanisms of binge eating among racial and ethnic minorities. Specifically, she is interested in culturally-specific factors that impact treatment and recovery from eating disorders among Latinos. Dr. Higgins Neyland’s current work with Dr. Tanofsky-Kraff focuses on the prevention of excess weight gain in adolescent military dependents.

Contact: mary.neyland.ctr@usuhs.edu

Natasha L. Burke

Dr. Natasha L. Burke Dr. Natasha L. Burke is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology. Dr. Burke works jointly at the Uniformed Services University with Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, PhD, and in the Section on Growth and Obesity at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development with Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD. She earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology in 2015 from the University of South Florida and completed her clinical internship at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Dr. Burke’s research interests broadly include the prevention of obesity and disordered eating in children. Her specific interests revolve around the complex interplay among weight status, demographic characteristics, psychological comorbidities, and associated risk factors. Dr. Burke’s current work with Dr. Tanofsky-Kraff focuses on the prevention of excess weight gain in adolescents from military families. Her long-term goals include developing a grant-supported line of research to develop and test culturally-sensitive interventions focused on the prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity.

Contact: natasha.burke.ctr@usuhs.edu

Research & Program Staff

Research & Program Staff

Liza Sitz

Liza Sitz received her B.A. in Psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2013. As an undergraduate, Liza worked in the Behavioral Neuroscience Lab, where she investigated the effects of chronic corticosterones on long-term memory consolidation in rats. Post-graduation, Liza worked at The National Institutes of Health in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department investigating the long term clinical correlates of traumatic brain injury.  Liza currently works at USUHS as the Project Manager for Dr. Tanofsky-Kraff, primarily overseeing a study on the prevention of obesity in children of military service members and their families.

Contact: Liza.sitz.ctr@usuhs.edu

Mary Quattlebaum

Mary Quattlebaum is a Research Assistant for the Preventing Obesity in Military Communities – Adolescents (POMC-A) Study, which focuses on preventing excess weight gain in adolescent military dependents. She received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2017. As an undergraduate student, Mary worked in an eating disorder and body image lab where she studied factors related to recovery from eating disorders and attitudes toward food across maternal generations. She plans to attend graduate school for a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to pursue a career as a clinician or researcher, specializing in patients dealing with disordered eating.

Contact: mary.quattlebaum.ctr@usuhs.edu(link sends e-mail)

Abigail Pine

Abigail Pine is a Research Assistant for the Preventing Obesity in Military Communities – Adolescents (POMC-A) Study. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2017. As an undergraduate, Abigail worked in a research lab that focused on early intervention for preschool children with depression. As such, her interests include early intervention and prevention research related to depression, eating disorders, and obesity. Abigail plans to start graduate school for a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in Fall 2019.

Contact: abigail.pine.ctr@usuhs.edu

Tanofsky-Krarff Lab