Juan Carlos Salgado
Barry M. Popkin, Ph.D., W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, at UNC-CH
Barry has a PhD in Economics and established the Division of Nutrition Epidemiology at UNC and later established and ran the UNC Interdisciplinary Obesity Center, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He has developed the concept of the Nutrition Transition, the study of the dynamic shifts in our environment and the way they affect dietary intake and physical activity patterns and trends and obesity and other nutrition-related noncommunicable diseases. His research program focuses globally on understanding the shifts in stages of the transition and programs and policies to improve the population health linked with this transition (see www.nutrans.org). He has played a central role in placing the concerns of global obesity, its determinants, and consequences on the global stage and is now actively involved in work on the program and policy design and evaluation side at the national level, including collaborative research in Mexico (with the National Institute of Public Health) in evaluating the impact of the Mexican SSB and nonessential food taxes and similar work in Chile with the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Chile, evaluating an SSB tax and marketing/Front-of-package labeling controls. He currently works with eight other countries in developing tax and regulatory policies to create healthier diets and prevent obesity and other nutrition-related noncommunicable diseases. He has received a dozen major awards for his global contributions, including the 2016 World Obesity Society’s Population Science and Public Health Award (for a top global researcher in public health with significant service contributions); the 2015 U.K. Rank Science Prize; and The Obesity Society’s Mickey Stunkard Lifetime Achievement Award. He has published over 520 refereed journal articles, is one of the most cited nutrition scholars in the world (over 60,000 citations).
The craziest things I’ve ever eaten range from fish eyeballs to dozens of kinds of fried spiders and insects to poison-removed Japanese blowfish.
My family’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving when my entire Popkin family gets together for a 4-5-day period.
My favorite drink is great red wine.
Shu Wen Ng
Shu Wen Ng is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Trained as a health economist, she is interested in studying the role of dietary change and shifts in physical activity patterns in weight gain among those experiencing rapid economic and social change. Her work involves investigated the design and use of food pricing policies and food assistance programs to encourage healthier food offerings, purchases and dietary consumption while narrowing disparities and inequities. On the Global Food Research Program, Shu Wen leads studies that use commercial food purchase, food sales data and Nutrition Facts Panel data, as well as publicly available household income-expenditure, price and census data. Shu Wen has extensive modeling experience with multi-level and instrumental variable models, survival analysis/ hazard modeling, propensity scoring, time-series and dynamic panel estimation analyses. She teaches National Nutrition Policy.
When I’m in a time crunch, I love to make avocado soup! Puree 3-4 ripe avocados with ~1 cup skim milk (adjust based on preference), dash of cayenne & black pepper, hint of salt, and juice of ½ a lime. Top with cooked shrimp and/or cilantro for garnish, and voila! Best if made a few hours ahead, chilled and served cold (great on a hot summer day!)
The craziest thing I’ve ever eaten is fried tarantula (in Cambodia)
After a good workout, nothing beats a glass of cold chocolate almond milk.
Lindsey Smith Taillie
Lindsey Smith Taillie is a Research Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Lindsey received her PhD in Nutrition, with a minor in epidemiology, from UNC, and a master of public health degree from Yale University. Lindsey’s research is focused on the intersection between dietary behaviors and obesity, in the context of changes in the social, economic, and food retail landscape, using nationally representative nutrition and health surveys, time use surveys, and datasets of household purchases. Lindsey’s work seeks to understand and eliminate local and global health disparities, by examining differential diet and health outcomes among low-income and race/ethnic minority populations in the US, as well as shifts in diet and anthropometry among countries with an increasing burden of obesity-related disease, such as China and Mexico. Currently her work with the Global Food Research Program @ UNC focuses on evaluating the effects of industry- and government-led food policy initiatives on food purchasing and nutrition, in the US and internationally.
When I’m feeling down, my “go to” comfort food is a bowl of iceberg lettuce, no dressing. Just kidding. A buttery, perfectly browned grilled cheese sandwich, all the way.
When I’m in a time crunch, I love to make salad. Chopping veggies is a great stress reliever, and I like to use frozen veggies, quinoa, or beans when I’m short on time. Add a splash of olive oil and balsamic and you’re good to go!
My favorite food for fall is: I love orange foods in the fall: stuffed sweet potatoes, butternut squash soup, pumpkin “pie” smoothies, apple cider…I can’t get enough!
My favorite condiment or topping is Marie Sharp’s hot sauce, by the gallon.
Emily Yoon manages the Global Food Research Program @ UNC team of Research Assistants and helps coordinate the many team activities and tasks. Prior to working with the Global Food Research Program @ UNC, Emily worked as a Registered Dietitian in Pediatric Diabetes. After years translating current literature for her patients, Emily wanted to help do the research. She returned to school to pursue a Master’s in Public Health at UNC-CH. During that time she met the Global Food Research Program @ UNC team and began working as a grad student on the team. She quickly embraced the research environment and ever since has worked on the team of Research Assistants.
When I’m feeling down, my ‘go to’ comfort food is home-made mac and cheese.
My favorite combination of food and drink is a good glass of red wine with high quality cheese, bread and chocolate.
Favorite Quote about food by Wendell Berry: “Eating with the fullest pleasure – pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance – is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living in a mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.”
My favorite food comes in summertime, but I crave it year-round: fresh summer tomatoes (with a hefty dose of fresh basil)
Jessica is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Public Health. She is a Research Assistant for the Global Food Research Program @ UNC. Her interests center primarily on studying the US food system as it relates to health, from food production to nutrient databases to consumers’ dietary behavior.
Favorite quote related to food: “As the days grow short, some faces grow long. But not mine. Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy. It’s time to start making soup again.” ~ Leslie Newman
My favorite food for fall is butternut squash.
My favorite food-related smell is peppers roasting in the oven.
Bridget is a Registered Dietitian with her Master’s Degree in Public Health from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at UNC-CH. She joined the Global Food Research Program @ UNC team as a Research Assistant after several years working in Community Health Centers as a Public Health Nutritionist. She enjoys learning about all things food-related, and with the Global Food Research Program @ UNC is constantly discovering new things about foods and drinks available in the US.
My least liked food is Brussels sprouts.
My favorite food for fall is a baked Sweet Potato with cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar.
The first thing I learned to cook was Chili! When I was 3 or 4 years old, my father taught me the secret ingredient to his delicious chili – after I was in on the secret, I loved to join him at the Chili Cook-Off competitions and help cook and sell to the judges.
Julie is a Registered Dietitian with a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition/Dietetics. Before joining the Global Food Research Program @ UNC team as a Research Assistant, Julie worked in the food industry as a Nutrition Labeling Consultant. Her interests include research related to dietary intake and public health, such as trends in health behaviors and physical activity.
The craziest thing I’ve ever eaten is kangaroo in Australia.
My least liked food is a toss-up between olives and pickles.
After a good workout, nothing beats Greek yogurt and fruit.
My favorite food-related smell is freshly baked banana bread.
Emily is a Registered Dietitian with a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and a Master’s degree in Public Health from UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. Emily worked as an editorial and marketing designer at several publications before pursuing a career in nutrition and joining the Global Food Research Program @ UNC team as a Research Assistant. Her interests include research related to obesity prevention and treatment, improving and alleviating health disparities, and how the food retail environment and marketing can influence personal and population nutrition.
The craziest thing I’ve ever eaten is cricket flour muffins (made by myself and fed to some very good sports at UNC).
My favorite things to bake are scones — adaptable and forgiving to bake, delicious to eat.
Foods I must have in my home are coffee, dark chocolate, and yogurt, in that order.
My favorite food-related smell is onions cooking in butter — the beginning of many home-cooked dinners in my house, growing up.
Leonela Munoz Connolly
Leonela joined the Global Food Research Program @ UNC team as a Research Assistant after earning her Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Meredith College. She decided to pursue a career in nutrition after working for a while on software development and data analytics in the banking industry. Her decision to focus on nutrition developed organically from her interest in the effects of food and nutrients on physical activity, long term health and chronic disease across cultures. She loves learning about the myriad health effects of food and sustainable methods to produce and distribute nutritious food.
My family’s holiday favorites are Pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and Lechón asado en la Noche Buena (slow roasted, citrus marinated whole pork cooked for 12 hours in a roasting box and enjoyed with many sides on Christmas eve, delicious!)
Foods I must have in my home are Dark chocolate, peanut butter (just peanuts please), garlic, olive oil
Frances Dancy Burton
Frances is the Business Officer of the group, holding a business degree from North Carolina Central University. She has been working for the Popkin group for 29 of the 39 years that she has been working for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Needless to say, she knows pretty much all the ends and outs of the university and has seen a lot of the changes that has happened over the years. She has also experienced the “nutrition transition” within the Popkin group.
Being newly married, she now does more food preparing than she used to as her husband enjoys home cooked meals.
My most favorite vegetables are a mixture of fresh turnip and mustard greens (southern style). I also like collards and cabbages. I have learned to enjoy broccoli and asparagus in the past several years!
Anna is a doctoral student in Health Behavior, pre-doctoral trainee at the Carolina Population Center, and the John Motley Morehead Fellow in the Royster Society of Fellows. She is interested in the design and evaluation of health-related programs and policies, with a particular topical focus on obesity prevention. At UNC GFRP, Anna primarily works on nutrition policy evaluation, including studying the impact of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program on dietary behaviors. With training in both health behavior theory and statistics/econometrics, Anna seeks to bridge the population and behavioral sciences to identify scalable ways to improve health behaviors and outcomes.
My family’s holiday favorite is our Christmas Eve tradition is to eat hors d’oeuvres for dinner – cheese and crackers, sliced fruit, carrots and hummus, shrimp and cocktail sauce, tiny hot dogs…It’s a fun way to avoid cooking intensive meals two nights in a row – we save the time-consuming cooking for Christmas day.
My favorite food for summer is a big summer salad – I love mixing greens with fruits. Bring on the strawberries and mango!
Melissa Lorena Jensen
Melissa is a doctoral student in Nutrition Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She obtained her Master of Science in Public Health (Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior) at the University of South Carolina, and her Bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition at the University of Costa Rica (UCR). Prior to joining UNC, Melissa was an instructor and researcher at UCR. She is currently interested in obesity prevention policies in the context of Latin America, and how improvements in nutrition surveillance systems can help justify, design and evaluate these policies. At the Global Food Research Program, Melissa is collaborating with the evaluation of Chile’s regulatory policies, including front-of-package labelling and food marketing restrictions.
After a good workout, nothing beats a cheese and vegetable omelet, with a side of fruit, a couple of pancakes, and a cup of coffee… delicious after a super long run or race!
My family’s favorite my home-made Spring Rolls, which I learned to make from my Vietnamese housemate during grad-school in SC
Fernanda is a Psychologist with her Master’s Degree in Health Psychology from the Catholic University of Chile. Before joining the Global Food Research Program at UNC as Research Assistant she worked in the Ministry of Health of Chile contributing to the drafting and implementation of a new food law for regulating the labeling, marketing and sale of food with high levels of energy, sugar, sodium and saturated fat. She is also part of the research group INFORMAS-Chile an International Network for Food and Obesity research, at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology of the University of Chile. She is interested in the study of the food environment, particularly food marketing and mass communication affecting the preferences and eating behavior of the population.
My favorite song about food is “Aceitunas” Silvio Rodriguez.
My favorite food-related smell is fresh peaches
Lilia is a doctoral student in Nutrition Epidemiology at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Sciences from the IberoAmerican University (UIA) in Mexico and a Master’s Degree in Health Sciences in Nutrition from the Mexican School of Public Health.
She has experience in the analyses of dietary data and more recently in purchases data as part of the impact evaluation of the sugar-sweetened beverages and junk food taxes in Mexico.
Her main research interests focus on the determinants of obesity and undernutrition in Mexico and the design and evaluation of interventions, programs and policies aimed to the prevention of malnutrition in all its forms.
My favorite condiment/topping is salsa! Red salsa, green salsa, spicy salsa, sweet (chamoy) salsa, powder chili, etc. It makes everything taste better.
My least liked food/beverage is guayaba (guava)…I hate the smell of it, I can tell there is one at a classroom or kitchen even if it is inside a bag or in the fridge. Once you have it at home, the smell will stay for the longest time. Don’t even get me started with all the shampoos that smell like that. Wácala!!
Favorite quote related to food: The saying “Las penas con pan son menos” (Translates to: all griefs with bread are less). Food is always the answer 🙂
Natalia is a Nutritionist with experience working with dietary data. She is currently finishing her Master’s degree in Nutrition and Food from the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile.
She is a Research Assistant for the Global Food Research Program @ UNC. Her central interest is to study the impact of food related government regulations in Chile to prevent obesity and reduce related health problems.
My favorite food for summer is porotos granados with chilean salad (tomato with onion and coriander), a typical Chilean plate.
Foods I must have in my home are avocados, always avocados!!
Favorite quote related to food: “For is there any practice less selfish, any labor less alienated, any time less wasted, than preparing something delicious and nourishing for people you love?”― Michael Pollan, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.
Juan Carlos Salgado
Former Team Members/Alumni
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