The Institute of Human Nutrition and PhD in Nutrition and Metabolic Biology (NMB) alumni pursue diverse careers in academia, industry, and research.
NMB Program Alumni Profiles
Kelly Ruggles, MS ('08), PhD ('12)
Cornell University, Bachelors in Biological Engineering
Dr. Ruggles is Assistant Professor and Director of Academic Programs at NYU Langone's Department of Medicine. After completing her MS, she pursued her PhD in Nutritional and Metabolic Biology at the IHN. Her research focuses on understanding human health and biology through the application of data visualization, integration and modeling. In addition, a portion of her work involves using informatics methods to understand the human microbiome through metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, microbial proteomics, and 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing.
Katherine Wert, MS ('09), PhD (’13)
Covenant College, Bachelors in Biology and Chemistry
Dr. Wert is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Opthalmology with the Stanford University School of Medicine. Prior to this, she was a fellow at the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she worked in Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch's laboratory on pluripotent stem cells and genome engineering to model human diseases. Her thesis Long-term Gene Therapy in a Pre-clinical Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa, was done with mentor Stephen Tsang, MD, PhD. She received the 2012 Bernard Erlanger Award for Excellence in Research at the Wu Lecture and Retreat. In 2016, Dr. Wert was awarded the Junior Faculty Award at the Annual FASEB meeting.
Angie Chi Nok Chong, PhD (’14)
St. Johns University
Dr. Chong’s thesis The Role of Hypothalamic Insulin and Leptin Signaling in Regulating Energy Balance and Stress was done under the mentorship of Lori Zeltser, PhD. She is a postdoctoral research fellow in Dr. Shuibing Chen's lab at Weill Cornell Medical College and is currently working on a project that models beta cell dysfunction in diabetes using humanized mouse models.
Dianne Dapito, PhD (’15)
Rutgers University, Bachelors in Biological Sciences
Dr. Dapito is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health in Eth, Zurich, working on cachexia, an irreversible wasting syndrome often seen in cancer patients. She was the recipient of the 2015 Bernard Erlanger Award for Excellence in Research for her research that culminated in her PhD thesis Contributions of Activated Hepatic Stellate Cells to Hepatocarcinogenesis. Her research was completed under the guidance of Robert Schwabe, MD.
Ryo Higuchi-Sanabria, PhD (‘15)
CUNY- Hunter College, Bachelors in Biotechnology
Dr. Higuchi-Sanabria's thesis A Mother's Sacrifice: The Contribution of Asymmetric Cell Division to Lifespan Regulation in S. cerevisiae was completed under the mentorship of Liza Pon, PhD. Dr. Higuchi-Sanabria is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, working on identification of a novel cytoskeleton-specific stress response and its potential regulators. In 2016, he was awarded a National Research Service Award by the NIH, CUMC's Titus M. Coan Prize for Excellence in Research, and the IHN's Bernard F. Erlanger Award for Excellence in Research.
Moneek Madra, MS ('06), PhD (’15)
University of Windsor, Bachelors in Biochemistry
Dr. Madra is an Assistant Professor of nutrition in Pediatrics and the Institute of Human Nutrition. She teaches Physiology and Nutrition Through the Lifecycle and Introduction to Epidemiology for Nutritionists. Her thesis Interactions of Early Life Stressors and Bdnf Val66Met in a Novel Mouse Model of Anorexia Nervosa , was completed under the mentorship of Lori Zeltser, PhD. Her current research focuses on anorexia nervosa, specializing on neuroendocrine and early postnatal stress outcomes associated with adolescent abnormal feeding behavior. Her work encompasses several integrative areas including neuroscience, physiology, and psychiatry.
Lisa Cole Burnett, PhD (‘16)
Florida Institute of Technology, Bachelors in Chemical Engineering
Dr. Burnett is Senior Scientist at Levo Therapeutics, Inc. and Visiting Research Scientist, Rudolph Leibel Laboratory at Columbia University. Her thesis The Role of SNORD116 in Prader-Willi Syndrome , was sponsored by mentor Rudolph Leibel, MD. In 2017, she received CUMC's Titus M. Coan Award for Research Excellence and was one of the IHN's recipients of the Bernard F. Erlanger Award for Excellence in Research.
Giselle Dominguez Gutierrez, MS ('10), PhD (‘16)
Instituto Tecnológico de Durango, Bachelors in Bioengineering
Dr. Dominguez Gutierrez is a postdoctoral fellow at Regeneron. She completed her thesis: Maintenance of Beta Cell Identity and Function, under the guidance of mentor Lori Sussel, PhD. She is one of the IHN's recipients of the 2017 Bernard Erlanger Award for Excellence in Research.