Ph.D. in Public Health, Epidemiology or Biostatistics
Student Profiles

Barret Allen

Barret Allen,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Charles Limoli

Department: PhD in Radiation Oncology, SOM

Shade  Avery Kirjava

Shade Avery Kirjava,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D in Public Health, Disease Prevention Concentration
I am an audiologist and PhD student, and my research focus is on the barriers to healthcare equity that my patients experience. I am particularly interested in the unique challenges that historically marginalized communities such queer folks experience when they interact with the American hearing healthcare system.

Jason Banham

Jason Banham,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D in Health, Society, and Behavior

Jayveeritz Bautista,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Michael Kleinman

Department: PhD in Environmental and Occupational Health

Natalie Binczewski

Natalie Binczewski,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: TBA

Department: Ph.D. in Environmental and Occupational Health

Bishop Bliss

Bishop Bliss,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Michael Kleinman

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health

Brenda Bustos Vasquez

Brenda Bustos Vasquez,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D in Public Health- Disease Prevention Track
My research interests lie in the Latino/a paradox, health disparities among immigrant populations, and maternal and child health. I am interested in examining child health outcomes by comparing US-born mothers to foreign-born mothers in order to better understand potential protective factors among immigrant populations. Currently, I am working on projects that examine state-level birth data. I completed a BA in Sociology with a minor in Global Health from UCLA and an MPH with a focus in Health Education and Promotion from California Baptist University. Additionally, I previously worked as a social worker and health educator for the County of Riverside.

Shantell Cerise Nolen

Shantell Cerise Nolen,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Karen Edwards

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Maribel Cervantes-Ortega

Maribel Cervantes-Ortega,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Karen Edwards

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Biblia Cha

Biblia Cha, MPH

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Cynthia Lakon

Biblia’s research interests include mental health and mental health service use; health disparities, and the intersections of race, religion/spirituality, and health. Her current work focuses on Korean American church-goers and clergy in Southern California and the contextual and structural pathways to their intentions to seek mental health services.

Elizabeth Choy

Elizabeth Choy,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Michael Kleinman

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health

Katherine Colcord

Katherine Colcord,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Maria Corrada

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology
Katherine is a Ph.D. student in Epidemiology and a graduate student researcher with the 90+ Study. She is also a physical therapist specializing in neurological rehabilitation and geriatrics. Her current research projects involve physical performance and factors associated with falls in individuals aged 90 and older. Katherine is also interested in the association between clinical care pathways and functional outcomes in the oldest-old, especially in regard to fall-related hospitalizations. Her overarching research goal is to identify the unique needs of individuals aged 90 and older and to contribute work that will help to meet the future public health demands of our aging society.

Athena Corral Carlos

Athena Corral Carlos,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Andrew Odegaard

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Athena Corral Carlos graduated from UC Irvine with Bachelor of Science in Public Health and went on to earn her Master of Public Health from California State University, Fullerton. She is now a PhD student in the Epidemiology and Biostatistics program at UC Irvine. Her research interests are epidemiologically based, focused on primarily on the study of disease and disease prevention. Her specific interests are surrounding chronic diseases, specifically the impact that physical activity and other lifestyle-related factors have in the current era in the context of larger social factors. She has worked for the California Department of Public Health, The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Hoag Hospital, and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Jiahui Dai

Jiahui Dai,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Luohua Jiang

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
My research interests include diabetes, diabetes treatments, dementia risk, and health disparities. My current work focuses on investigating the associations between different anti-diabetic medications and dementia risk among Native Americans with diabetes, and examine if time-related biases will impact the effects of anti-diabetic medications on dementia risk using health care administrative data.

Abhery Das

Abhery Das,

Ph.D Student

My research examines how policies and structural factors correspond with mental health and suicidality among vulnerable populations. I am interested in the relation between structural racism within the criminal justice system and mental health outcomes in minority populations. Additionally, I investigate whether firearm policies and gun culture precede increases in suicidal behavior. I utilize econometric methods (i.e., fixed effects, difference-in-difference, time series) with longitudinal and panel data to measure changes over time.

Xueting (Mimi) Ding

Xueting (Mimi) Ding,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D. in Public Health
Xueting (Mimi) Ding is a Ph.D. student in the Program in Public Health. As a data and policy analyst in healthcare for two more years, she is eager to apply insights from economics and methods from statistics to investigate possibilities of benefiting the vulnerable population through the lens of empirical research. Her research interests include health disparities, infectious disease prevention, social epidemiology, and women’s health. Mimi’s current work is focusing on COVID-19 preventive behaviors. Mimi received her Bachelor in Economics from Boston University and Master in International Education Policy Analysis from Stanford University.

Olivia Drasyon

Olivia Drasyon,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Charles Limoli

Department: Ph.D in Radiation Oncology, SOM

Darnisha Draughter

Darnisha Draughter,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D Program in Public Health with a concentration in Disease Prevention
An important experience I gained in my career was interning for Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAP OC), a nonprofit dedicated to alleviating the cause and effects of poverty. Interning at CAP OC helped pinpoint my specific interest in public health. I am highly interested in learning and understanding the challenges and barriers vulnerable populations face to in turn, help mobilize, advocate and direct programs and services to assist in alleviating those challenges. With the guidance of my advisor, my current research focuses on the social epidemiology of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Prior to joining UCI, I completed my Master of Public Health at California State University, Long Beach, where I focused on the understanding of community health and public health disciplines to be able to facilitate the social well-being of people, individually and collectively, in a multi-cultural/multi-ethnic context.

Huong (Theresa)  Duong

Huong (Theresa) Duong,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Suellen Hopfer

Huong (Theresa) Duong is a Ph.D. student on the Disease Prevention track in the Program in Public Health. Her research to date has focused on various aspects of communication around the HPV vaccination and cervical cancer. Furthermore, her interests lie in cancer prevention, developing health behavior interventions, and addressing health disparities in minority populations, particularly in the Asian American community. Her current work revolves around understanding intergenerational health communication in Vietnamese families and designing culturally appropriate cancer communication interventions in the context of social media messaging platforms.

Valeria Elhay

Valeria Elhay,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Andrew Odegaard

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Wenjun Fan

Wenjun Fan,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Nathan Wong

Department: Ph.D in Public Health and Disease Prevention

Sepideh Ferdos

Sepideh Ferdos,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Karen Edwards

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Sepideh Ferdos received her BA in Public Health from University of Washington, and her MPH at University of California San Diego. She is currently a Ph.D. student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at UC Irvine. Her research interests include genetic epidemiology, metabolic syndrome, environmental exposures, and cancer research. She has previously worked on GWAS's of gene by smoking interaction on Type 2 Diabetes.

Mihoka Fukurai

Mihoka Fukurai,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D in Disease Prevention
Mihoka is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Disease Prevention and Population Health. She is interested in natural disaster prevention and mitigation efforts as well as resilience and recovery. She received her MPH from Columbia University studying sociomedical sciences and studied the triple disaster in Tohoku, Japan, with interest in recovery perception and excess mortality.

Samantha Garcia

Samantha Garcia, MPH, CHES

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Suellen Hopfer

Samantha’s research focuses on advancing the understanding of mechanisms contributing to Latino health disparities and intervening with efficacious health behavior interventions utilizing health communication strategies. Her work focuses on developing, implementing and testing community-based interventions using mixed methods research. Her dissertation work investigates individual, interpersonal and structural drivers of HPV-vaccination disparities among Mexican American young adults.

Natasha India Glendening

Natasha India Glendening,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Daniel M. Parker

My research interests lie in infectious diseases, particularly neglected tropical diseases and public health responses to infectious disease outbreaks in low-resource settings. My interests are informed from my educational background at The London School of Economics where I studied for a BSc and then an interdisciplinary MSc in African Development during which I researched the barriers to the international response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. Building from this previous work, I am now trying to research how local and international health responses coexist, interact and how they influence health behavior in outbreak situations

Sara Goodman

Sara Goodman,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Cynthia Lakon

My research interests include infectious diseases, particularly Hepatitis C and sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS. I am also interested in global health and vulnerable populations. I am currently focusing on the Hepatitis C surveillance data to better understand the disease burden in Orange County and the Hepatitis C treatment cascade and why people are not being retained in care. I was a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer in Burkina Faso, 2011-2013 which sparked my interest in Public Health, I currently volunteer at the Orange County Public Health Department working on their Hepatitis C data. 

Alexis Guerra

Alexis Guerra,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Sunny Jiang

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health
My research interests focus on coastal ocean microbiomes and water quality along urban communities. My goals are to identify how microbial pathogens carried by human waste flowing to the ocean affect the health of microbiomes, coastal ecosystems, and, ultimately, human communities.

Gabrielle Gussin

Gabrielle Gussin, MS

Ph.D Student

I have a broad interest in the epidemiology and prevention of infectious diseases, with a focus on healthcare-associated infections and drug-resistant pathogens. For my dissertation, I seek to quantify and address barriers to the prevention of SARS-CoV-2 in nursing homes.

Shutong Huo

Shutong Huo,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D in Population Health and Disease Prevention, Global Health Track
I am a Public Health Ph.D. student in the global health concentration. My research interests include mental health and its health services utilization, aging and dementia, and health inequality. I am especially interested in the time-serious evidence and trajectory of health outcomes and health services performance. I completed my MPH degree at Yale School of Public Health in the Health Policy track, with a research thesis on “Early Life Environments and Health Inequality among Chinese and American Older Adults: Comparative Evidence from Machine Learning.”

Michael Huynh

Michael Huynh, MPH

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Annie Ro

I am a PhD student in Public Health with a concentration in Disease Prevention at UCI. My research interests include coping mechanisms for distress, dietary patterns, structural discrimination, and social determinants of mental health among Asian American populations. I am also passionate about suicide prevention, support networks, and interdisciplinary approaches to health equity. Prior to entering UCI, I worked as a project manager/research analyst at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and volunteered as a crisis line counselor at the Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Center. I completed my MPH in Epidemiology/Biostatistics at UC Berkeley and received my BS in Human Biology and Society at UCLA. During my undergraduate education, I was involved in a nonprofit organization that funds health clinic services and scholarships to villagers in Vietnam. My master's capstone research paper focused on obesity and metabolic outcomes among patients in a safety-net health system.

Maryam Gamal Ibrahim

Maryam Gamal Ibrahim,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: TBA

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health

La Kiesha Jean Marie

La Kiesha Jean Marie,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Michael Hoyt

Department: Ph.D in Population Health and Disease Prevention

Brook Jeang

Brook Jeang,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Guiyun Yan

My research interests lie broadly in global health and vector-borne disease epidemiology. I aim to apply my previous experiences in materials science, bioengineering, and translational research towards my current research, which focuses on developing a better understanding of the transmission dynamics and drivers of malaria infection in malaria elimination settings.

Anqi  Jiao

Anqi Jiao,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Jun Wu

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health

Rebecca Johnson Arechavala,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Michael Kleinman

Department: PhD in Environmental Health Sciences

Emilia Julia-Fields

Emilia Julia-Fields,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Suellen Hopfer

My research interests lie in better understanding vaccination behaviors among African American and Latinx communities and improving health disparities as they relate to infectious diseases. I am interested in intervention design, mixed methods approaches, and health communication strategies as ways to address these disparities. My interests originate from my academic background in microbiology and global health, my previous research in vaccine development and food insecurity among vulnerable populations, as well as my professional career as a Public Health Microbiologist. My current work is focused on investigating COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among parents and understanding risk perceptions via mask-wearing discussions on social media.

Yerin Jung

Yerin Jung,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Scott Bartell

Department: Ph.D in Environmental Health Sciences
Yerin is a Ph.D. student in Environmental Health Sciences program with an emphasis with Exposure Science. Her research interest is in exposure reconstruction using pharmacokinetic modeling. She received a Master's degree in Environmental Science in Korea University and her prior research was focused on indoor VOCs monitoring and PAHs metabolites from photodegradation.

Megan Key

Megan Key,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: David Timberlake

Department: Ph.D in Population Health and Disease Prevention

Yoonji Kim

Yoonji Kim,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Joel Milam

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
My research interests broadly lie in the psychosocial epidemiology of cancer and the determinants of cancer disparities in care and outcomes in the cancer control continuum. I am also very interested in the structural barriers to wellbeing among childhood and young adult cancer survivors. Prior to coming to UCI, I received my BA in psychology at Korea University and MA in educational psychology at Seoul National University. My current research is focused on the long-term survivorship experience of childhood cancer survivors and addressing a gap in literature concerning risk and protective factors for substance use. I hope to address cancer survivors' long-term medical and psychosocial needs across the survivorship trajectory and the impact of a cancer diagnosis on relationships, education, and employment among Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer Survivors.

Jessie Ko

Jessie Ko,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Suellen Hopfer

Department: Ph.D in Disease Prevention
My research interests are broadly in social determinants and preventive behaviors for the underserved communities. I also have a strong interest in intervention design. My interests are informed from my academic background in health communication and my professional background in public relations. During my graduate studies in Hong Kong, I carried out a research project about college students' risk perception towards cervical cancer, and its relationship with the intention to receive the HPV vaccine. I aim to apply my knowledge and previous experience with insights from public health on health disparity research in the coming years.

Jiarui Li

Jiarui Li,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Andrew Odegaard

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Mengyi Li

Mengyi Li,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Jun Wu

Department: Ph.D in Disease Prevention
Mengyi is a Ph.D. student in Public Health with a concentration in Disease Prevention at UCI. She achieved her MPH in epidemiology & Biostatistics from USC in 2019 for her capstone, “Association between prenatal and adolescent exposure to air pollution and IQ/cognitive function in emerging adulthood”. Her research interests lie in modeling the Spatio-temporal trends of environmental exposures such as biodiversity, green space, air pollution, etc. to better understand its impact on health outcomes.

Xiaomeng Lin

Xiaomeng Lin,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: TBA

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health

Xiaochen Liu

Xiaochen Liu,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Xiaochen’s research interests include genetic epidemiology, bioinformatics applied to human disease. Her thesis focuses on genomic factors underlying alcohol-associated and viral hepatitis. Her current work is to study biological mechanisms involved in Alcoholic hepatitis and hepatitis C using transcriptomic data. She earned her BS in Mathematics and Biology from University of Oregon and MS in Bioinformatics from New York University.

Karen Llave

Karen Llave,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Michael Hoyt

Department: Ph.D in Population Health and Disease Prevention
My research interests focus on understanding multilevel predictors of successful transition of care among adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer survivors. I am particularly interested in how interpersonal relationships with family, friends, and healthcare providers shape the AYA cancer survivorship experience and further predict engagement in long term follow-up care. I obtained my BS in Health Science from California State University, Fullerton and MPH from California State University, Northridge. Prior to starting at UCI, I served as a project manager for an NIH-funded study investigating Filipino migrant health and as a project coordinator for the Minority Training Program in Cancer Control Research at UCLA.

Bingya Ma

Bingya Ma,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Yunxia Lu

Department: Ph.D in Population Health and Disease Prevention

Sarah Mae Smith

Sarah Mae Smith,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Charles Limoli

Department: Ph.D in Radiation Oncology, SOM

Kelli Malott

Kelli Malott,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Ulrike Luderer

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health

Hawa Mariko

Hawa Mariko,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Kristina Uban

I have a passion for protecting the health of mothers and babies. My current research interests include understanding the role of physiologic biomarkers of maternal allostatic load on birth outcomes and subsequent child development. In addition, I am interested in the racial patterning of perinatal allostatic load. In the long term I seek to translate findings of physiologic stress that contribute to perinatal disparities into tangible public health results.

Hemangi Mavadiya

Hemangi Mavadiya, MPH RD

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Yunxia Lu

I am a PhD Public Health student with an emphasis in Disease Prevention. My research interests include investigating disparities in cancer incidence, prevalence and survival. I am also interested in looking at diet quality and quality of life among cancer survivors by enhancing nutrition related knowledge and reducing risk factors such as obesity. I received my BSc in Nutrition/Dietetics from India and MPH in Nutrition from Loma Linda University, CA. I am a Registered Dietitian and a certified yoga instructor.

Rachel  Mcfarland Lucia

Rachel Mcfarland Lucia,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: TBA

Department: Ph.D in Pathology, SOM

Samantha Merwin

Samantha Merwin,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Masashi Kitazawa

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health

Erika Mey

Erika Mey,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Brittany Morey

Erika’s research interests include mental health and chronic diseases among the Khmer community as well as health disparities among underserved populations, particularly within the Asian American community. Her academic and cross-cultural experiences in research, volunteering abroad, and interning on a federal level solidified her passions in addressing health disparities through research, policy, health education, program interventions and community organization. She aspires to design, implement, and improve health programs and policies that leverage abilities of health research and education to improve minority health.

Mohsin Minhazul

Mohsin Minhazul,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Kristina Uban

Department: Ph.D in Population Health and Disease Prevention
My current research focuses on understanding how maternal substance exposure during pregnancy alters children’s brain and endocrine development. I am a physician by training from Bangladesh. My interest in public health research ignited during my work in the International Center for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh, where I explored several public health
issues like childhood stunting, malnutrition, and antimicrobial resistance. Before joining UC Irvine, I completed a Master’s in Nutrition from the University of Nevada, Reno, with a research thesis on postmortem hypertensive human brain to disentangle the brain mechanisms of blood pressure regulation.

Megan Mirkhanian

Megan Mirkhanian,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: TBA

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health

D'artagnan Moises Robinson

D'artagnan Moises Robinson,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Beth Thomas

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Jessica Monterrosa Mena

Jessica Monterrosa Mena,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Michael Kleinman

Department: Ph.D in Environmental Health Sciences
Jessica Monterrosa is Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Toxicology at the University of California, Irvine. Her dissertation research applies in-vitro methods to model the effects of inhaled pollutants on the innate immune system. Her work focuses on the chemical characterization of biofuel emissions and understanding how the chemical properties of air pollutants contribute to cellular damage, alter pulmonary macrophage functions, and promote detrimental downstream cardiopulmonary outcomes. She has taken part in numerous science communication projects including writing scripts for radio and podcasts such as The Loh Down on Science, blogging for The Biota Project, and most recently participating in the The American Heart Association’s FIT & Early Career Blogging Program.

Dustin Moore

Dustin Moore,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Yunxia Lu

As a registered dietitian, I have a particular interest in health and wellness as they relate to dietary behaviors and practices. For this reason, my research focuses on nutrition-related public policy, cultural practices and beliefs pertaining to food, and empowering individuals to integrate and adopt healthier behaviors. I completed my BS in Dietetics from Brigham Young University, after which my wife and I moved to California to pursue graduate work as well as opportunities to serve within our community. 

Celina Morales

Celina Morales,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Annie Ro

Department: Ph.D in Population Health and Disease Prevention
Celina Morales earned her undergraduate degree in Public Health (minor in Biology) and MPH in Applied Epidemiology at California State University Northridge. Her research interests primarily focus on the interaction between sociocultural and social ecological factors in health behaviors among ethnic minority and immigrant populations around the globe. Celina looks forward to contributing to the fields of epidemiology and demography, and hopes her research findings will contribute to the development of culturally competent interventions and policies which are urgently needed. She is currently working on projects focusing on violence, socio-cultural stressors, and chronic health conditions.

Brandon Osborn

Brandon Osborn,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Annie Ro

My current research interest focuses on the social epidemiology of diet. I have recently been studying food security and its implications for diet and disease risk among Latina/os. Prior to my arrival at UC Irvine, I worked as a program assistant at the Center for Health Equity Research (CSU Long Beach). During this time, I helped evaluate a variety of place-based programs including Building Health Communities and multiple CalGRIP projects aimed at decreasing gang involvement and human trafficking. In the community, I have volunteered as a research & evaluation coordinator for the UC Irvine Mobile Food Pantry. I also served as the health education coordinator for the Orange County Transitions in Health Program, during which I developed a health and resource education curriculum for inmates pending release from the Orange County Jail System.

Kalani Phillips

Kalani Phillips,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Cynthia Lakon

Department: Ph.D in Population Health and Disease Prevention, Health, Society, and Behavior
Kalani Phillips is a current Ph.D. student in Disease Prevention at UCI. Her research interests are focused on social networks, mental health, and vaccine hesitancy. In addition to this, she is also interested in social determinants of health, focusing on the role that both individual and structural factors play in impacting health disparities among immigrant communities. Earning both her B.A. in Public Health Policy and MPH in Sociocultural Diversity & Health from UCI in 2016 and 2021, she is now back for a third program at UCI to earn her doctorate degree. She is also the current President of the UCI Public Health Alumni Board and Chair for the UCI Student Center Board of Advisors.

Joan Phung Quan Vu

Joan Phung Quan Vu,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: TBA

Department: Ph.D in Environmental Health Sciences

Darshana Rawal

Darshana Rawal,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Brittany Morey

Department: Ph.D in Health, Society, and Behavior
My research interest lies in the social determinants of health, primarily as they relate to sexual and reproductive health within the Asian American community. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how socio-cultural perspectives and expectations impact the sexual/reproductive health and help-seeking behaviors of South Asian Americans, focusing on underserved populations such as gender and sexual minorities. My work seeks to destigmatize the topic of sexual/reproductive health within the Asian community as well as improve access to care and information. I also have the goal of contributing to research and policies that address the reproductive health disparities within the United States. Prior to joining UC Irvine, I completed my MPH in Global Health at NYU and received a BS in Biological Sciences at the University of Connecticut. I am also currently working as a consultant with UNICEF.

Vida Rebello

Vida Rebello, MPH

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Kristina Uban

Vida is a Ph.D. student studying the impact of epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory findings seen in children exposed to certain prenatal conditions, including preeclampsia and maternal substance use, to understand subsequent effects on childhood developmental risks. Her interests also include using salivary biomarkers to elucidate endocrine/environmental disruptors in mother-child dyads. The overarching aim of her research is to help contribute to the strengthening of health systems globally on maternal and child health outcomes. Vida has previously worked with the United Nations Foundation to address global health issues, such as child vaccination coverage. She has also worked with health care institutions in the US and India as a physical therapist and patient safety specialist in CQI procedures to improve the quality of health care, increase patient safety and reduce healthcare-associated infections.

Joshua Rhee

Joshua Rhee,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: David Timberlake

Department: Ph.D in Population Health and Disease Prevention

Victoria E. Rodriguez

Victoria E. Rodriguez, MSW, MPH

Ph.D Student

My research interests encompass inequities in women’s sexual and reproductive health. I am interested in the structural, racialized, and gendered processes that contribute to women’s health outcomes. Specifically, I am focused on Latina women’s quality of life and social and health-related experiences after surviving gynecologic and breast cancers.

Alexis Ruth Gaines

Alexis Ruth Gaines,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Karen Edwards

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Lewis Simon

Lewis Simon,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Karen Edwards

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology
My research interests include improving the prediction and prevention of renal and metabolic disorders through genetic epidemiological approaches and enhancing related long-term health outcomes, particularly in underserved and at-risk populations. Prior to joining UCI, I worked as a research associate in the Division of Nephrology at UCLA Health, where I was involved in coordinating clinical trials aimed at developing novel treatments for a variety of kidney diseases, including diabetic kidney disease (DKD), autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), CKD-related anemia, Fabry Disease and more. I completed my MPH in Applied Epidemiology at CSU-Northridge and received my undergraduate degrees in Cognitive Science and Psychology at UC-San Diego.

Shayna Simona

Shayna Simona,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Veronica Vieira

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health
My research interests broadly include mental health and diseases in relation to green/blue spaces, as well as exposure to manmade substances. I received my BA in Psychology at California Polytechnic University, Pomona and my MPH at the Azusa Pacific University. My capstone project analyzed PFAS and it’s effects on the immune system, specifically looking at vaccine response and disease severity. During my MPH program, I have worked at various organizations managing COVID-19 cases and implementing ongoing policies.

Saba Sohail

Saba Sohail,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Karen Edwards

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Nicole  Stiver-Chmielewski

Nicole Stiver-Chmielewski,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: TBA

Department: Ph.D in Radiation Oncology, SOM

Yi Sun

Yi Sun,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Jun Wu

Department: Ph.D in Environmental Health Sciences
Yi Sun is a PhD student in the Exposure Sciences and Environmental Epidemiology Track of the EHS program. Her research focuses mainly on the association between green space, air pollution and pregnancy outcomes, as well as environmental justice and health disparity.

Ian Tang

Ian Tang,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Veronica Vieira

My research interests primarily revolve around toxicology, environmental health, and birth defects. I am also very interested in modeling the spatio-temporal trends of environment exposures such as air pollution, proximity to wells, and water contamination. My current research looks to better understand the etiology of birth defects, which is not well understood, by modeling and mapping environmental exposures in the context of their geographic locations. My prior research experiences explored PBDEs, air pollution, and the spatial distribution of Lyme disease. 

Maia Tarnas

Maia Tarnas,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Daniel M. Parker

Department: Ph.D in Public Health, Global Health concentration
My research interests center on infectious diseases during times of conflict and war. I am particularly interested in how conflict affects infectious disease trends and how warring parties can weaponize health infrastructure and healthcare. I am also interested in the use of informal and syndromic disease surveillance systems during conflicts. Prior to beginning my PhD, I ran the Massachusetts Tuberculosis Drug Assistance Program, which provides medication access to patients with tuberculosis in Massachusetts at no charge. I am also a fellow with the Tufts Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases. I received my BA in Community Health and Middle Eastern Studies from Tufts University.

Gaëlle Tatiana Sehi

Gaëlle Tatiana Sehi,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Daniel M. Parker

Department: Ph.D in Public Health, Concentration Global Health
I obtained my Master in Public Health in Epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I have a background in biochemistry and worked extensively in a lithium battery lab ( the project focused on the discovery of new analytical techniques) and marine molecular biology lab (where I studied the genomic selection of different species of brown algae). I am interested in studying vector borne diseases in Sub Saharan Africa.

Ivy Torres

Ivy Torres,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D in Health Sciences Behavior

Connie Valencia

Connie Valencia, MPH

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Brittany Morey

Connie Valencia's research interests are focused on the role that structural, individual and environmental factors impact health disparities and health equity among low income Latino communities. Connie's dissertation work focuses on understanding the impact ambient air pollution has on obesity and factors that impact civic engagement among predominantly Latino communities. Connie earned her BS from UCLA and an MPH from Cal State Fullerton.

Karen Valladares

Karen Valladares,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Scott Bartell

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health

Janielle Vidal

Janielle Vidal,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Masashi Kitazawa

Department: Ph.D in Environmental and Occupational Health

Andrew Vu

Andrew Vu,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Nik Warren

Nik Warren,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Jun Wu

My main interests revolve around access and use of blue and green spaces by the immunocompromised population and how Covid19/Pandemic has impacted this population. I’m interested in stress perceptions, health outcomes, and primary immunodeficiency diseases, while also considering secondary diseases and immunosuppression. Social ecology and diseases fascinate me. Through this work, I also hope to reiterate the vital need for, and access to, protected blue and greenspace. I have a great love of animals and have several in my family. I hope to apply my findings in ways that improve the lives of critters. In addition to my main focus, I also work on research that looks at college students and greenspace.

Kameko Washburn

Kameko Washburn,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D in Health, Society, and Behavior

Robert Weltman

Robert Weltman,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Rufus Edwards

Robert is a Public Health PhD student in the global health concentration at UCI. Robert achieved his MS in environmental health sciences from UCI in 2017 for his thesis, "In-field Emissions from Rural Indian Households". After achieving the MS, Robert has continued working at UCI, primarily to study the pollutant emissions of solid-fuel burning cookstoves. Robert has co-authored several peer-reviewed publications, where has contributed knowledge on epidemiology, GIS mapping, analytical chemistry, hazardous air pollution, and both indoor and outdoor cooking.

Yingjing (Alec) Xia

Yingjing (Alec) Xia,

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Kristina Uban

Department: Ph.D in Population Health and Disease Prevention

Kun (Kevin) Yuan

Kun (Kevin) Yuan,

Ph.D Student

Department: Ph.D in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Past research includes working in Dartmouth toxic Metals Superfund Research Program utilizing covariate-adjusted Gaussian Graphical Model(GGM) to model the probability of co-occurrence between pairwise contaminants(such as Mercury and PCBs) and Network Analysis to visualize the results using imputation by chained equations and correlations. Also, NLP, CNN and other deep learning projects in Dartmouth Neukom Institute. In the future, I am going to explore the world with DNA methylation and RNA sequencing data, and aim to predict biomarkers or disease symptoms.

Yachen Zhu

Yachen Zhu, MS

Ph.D Student

Advisor: Scott Bartell

Yachen Zhu is a PhD student on the global health track. She has a master's degree in Statistics. Her research uses a variety of statistical methods to examine how PFAS in the environment relates to maternal and infant health.

Ph.D. in Public Health
Current Students

Last Name First Name Title
AllenBarrettPh.D Student
BautistaJayveeritzPh.D Student
BlissBishopPh.D Student
CervantesMaribelPh.D Student
ChaBibliaPh.D Student
ColcordKatherinePh.D Student
DasAbheryPh.D Student
DraysonOliviaPh.D Student
DuongHuong (Theresa)Ph.D Student
FanWenjunPh.D Student
FieldsEmiliaPh.D Student
GainesAlexisPh.D Student
GarciaSamanthaPh.D Student
GarlandHarwoodPh.D Student
GlendeningNatashaPh.D Student
GoodmanSaraPh.D Student
GuerraAlexisPh.D Student
GussinGabriellePh.D Student
HalkiaGeorgiaPh.D Student
Hok Yee ChoyElizabethPh.D Student
HuynhMichaelPh.D Student
JeangBrookPh.D Student
JeanmarieLa KeishaPh.D Student
JiaoAnqiPh.D Student
JohnsonRebeccaPh.D Student
JungYerinPh.D Student
KeyMeganPh.D Student
LiJiaruiPh.D Student
LiMengyiPh.D Student
LiuXiaochenPh.D Student
LlaveKarenPh.D Student
MallotKelliPh.D Student
MarikoHawaPh.D Student
MavadiyaHemangiPh.D Student
McFarlandRachelPh.D Student
MerwinSamanthaPh.D Student
MeyErikaPh.D Student
MinhazulMohsinPh.D Student
Monterrosa-MenaJessicaPh.D Student
MooreDustinPh.D Student
NolenShantellPh.D Student
NwosisiNgoziPh.D Student
OsbornBrandonPh.D Student
RebelloVidaPh.D Student
RheeJoshuaPh.D Student
RobinsonD'ArtagnanPh.D Student
RodriguezVictoriaPh.D Student
SimonLewisPh.D Student
SmithSarahPh.D Student
StiversNicolePh.D Student
SunYiPh.D Student
TangIanPh.D Student
TorresIvyPh.D Student
ValenciaConniePh.D Student
ValladaresKarenPh.D Student
VidalJaniellePh.D Student
VuAndrewPh.D Student
WarrenNikPh.D Student
WasburnKamekoPh.D Student
WeltmanRobertPh.D Student
WhitleyMargaretPh.D Student
YuanKunPh.D Student
ZhuYachenPh.D Student

Copyright © 2022 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.