Obrien students 2010 in the lab

Kimberly O'Brien Laboratory

The O'Brien Laboratory is located in room 261 and 262 of the Human Metabolic Research Unit (HMRU) in Martha Van Rensselaer Hall on the Cornell Ithaca campus.

Our main research interests in the laboratory focus on mineral dynamics with an emphasis on pediatric and pregnant populations. To undertake our research projects many of our studies utilize stable mineral isotopes as tracers. These tracers are measured using mass spectrometric instrumentation for high-sensitivity isotopic analyses. Dr. Kimberly O'Brien performs these analyses on a state of the art Thermoquest Triton TI magnetic sector thermal ionization mass spectrometer. The laboratory also houses a Finnigan quadrupole THQ thermal ionization mass spectrometer. Analytical services are also provided through collaboration with other academic institutions in the country. For more details, visit our Research and Information sections.

O'Brien lab

Lab Kudos:

  • Christine Akoh and her teammates placed second in the IFT Discovering Solutions for Developing Countries Product Development Competition.
  • Alumnus Corrie Whisner placed second in the Community and Public Health Nutrition Poster Competition at Experimental Biology 2014.
  • Alumnus Sunmin Lee accepted a faculty position at Western Michigan University.
  • Cora Best was put on the laboratory's NIH Training Grant.
  • Carrie Thomas is a postdoctoral fellow on an NIH Reproductive Sciences and Genomics Training Grant funded through the Department of Biomedical Sciences. 
  • Alumnus Jonathan Galati was awarded a College of Human Ecology Summer Research Award to work on his honors project: the relationship between heme transporter proton coupled folate transporter (PCFT) and transferrin receptor protein (TfR) in multiples.
  • Alumnus Nonye Acholonu and Current Undergraduate Fredrick Blaisdell were featured in a McNair Program video, which can be seen here
  • Current Undergraduate Fredrick Blaisdell was also selected as a Udall Scholar.
  • Corrie Whisner presented a poster at NY Academy of Sciences and has accepted a position at Arizona State University as an Assistant Professor in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion.  
  • Christine Akoh received the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) grant (2012) and won the Women in Flavor & Fragrance Commerce (WFFC) Flavor Scholarship (2014).
  • Alumnus Rachel Lumish received the CPRS 2012 award.
  • Alumnus Jocelyn Durlacher was awarded a College of Human Ecology Summer Research Award to work on cord chirality and placental physiology this summer. 
  • Alumnus Chang Cao was awarded the 2013 ASN Gerber Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. This $5000.00 awarded was presented to Chang to recognize the excellence of her proposed project entitled, Fetal iron sources and regulation of placental iron transport
  • Olivia Lee won 3rd place in the "Elsie Van Buren Rice Awards in Oral Communication". 


Lab Alums' Future Plans:

  • Olivia Lee is currently attending SUNY Upstate Medical University.
  • Thomas Bemis: Thomas will be working for Dr. Kevin Hall at the NIH in the National Institute for Diabetic Digestive and Kidney Diseases on a study looking at the selective reduction of dietary carbohydrate vs. fat reduction in obese patients.
  • Selina Li: Selina will be attending medical school at the University of British Columbia in Canada
  • Sana Maheshwari: Sana will be studying deformity correction in India under a Fulbright Student Research Grant and will then attend medical school.
  • Bridget Essley: Bridget was doing her post-doc at the University of Colorado, Denver on a pediatric nutrition training grant, and was recently accepted as an Assistant Professor at University of Colorado, Denver. 
  • Demetrios Papazaharias: Demetrios will be conducting orthopedics research at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City and will then attend medical school.
  • Nonye Acholonu is currently attending medical school at Temple University
  • Corrie Whisner accepted a position at Arizona State University as an Assistant Professor in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion.
  • Rachel Lumish is pursuing a Pharmacy PhD program
  • Jocelyn Durlacher is currently atteneding medical school at Vanderbilt University
  • Chang Cao is doing her post-doc at the Boston Children's Hospital 


For Current Members in the O'Brien Laboratory:


Lab Meetings: Mondays at 9 am in Savage 232


Upcoming Due Dates

Experimental Biology

Experimental Biology 2015: March 28-April 1, 2015 in Boston, MA

The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research 

33rd Annual Abstracts Submissions Deadline: Tuesday, July 7, 2015

2015 Annual Meeting: October 9-12th, 2015 in Seattle, Washington, USA

International Federation of Placenta Associations

IFPA Meeting 2015:

September 8-11 in Brisbane, Australia

American Society of Hematology

Annual Meeting: December 5-8, 2015 in Orlando, FL

International BioIron Society

IBIS 2015 Meeting: September 6-10, 2015 in Hangzhou, China

Developmental Origins of Health and Disease

DOHaD 2015 Meeting: November 8-11, 2015 in Cape Town, South Africa