Marla Lujan

Marla Lujan, Ph.D., Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of Human Nutrition

Education: Ph.D. (Physiology), M.Sc. (Physiology), B.Sc. (Life Sciences), Queen’s University
Research Interests: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), Folliculogenesis, Menstrual Cycle, Nutrition and Metabolism, Ultrasonography

maryam kazemi

Maryam Kazemi, Postdoctoral Associate; Ph.D. (Nutrition) University of Saskatchewan (Canada), M.Sc. (Nutritional Sciences) Mashhad University of Medical Sciences (Iran), B.Sc. (Nutritional Sciences) Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (Iran); lab member since 2018.

Additional Credentials: Registered Dietitian

Current Projects: During her Ph.D., Maryam evaluated the effects of a multi-layered longitudinal randomized controlled trial (RCT), comprised of dietary, exercise, and behavioral modification components on cardio-metabolic, body composition, reproductive, and health-related quality of life outcomes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). During her postdoctoral research, Maryam honed her expertise in Women's Health by designing and conducting novel projects using multi-site models to delineate the relative contributions of lifestyle (diet, exercise) and endocrine pathways to reproductive and musculoskeletal derangements in women across a spectrum of anovulation. Maryam's research has also taken a novel turn to elucidate disparities in cardio-metabolic and reproductive health across races and ethnicities in women with PCOS. Maryam's research is focused on establishing a trans-disciplinary program to elucidating lifestyle (diet, exercise), cardio-metabolic, and musculoskeletal aberrations of diverse cohorts of women with endocrine and ovulatory disorders to develop targeted interventions that address the relative contributions of these abnormalities to mechanisms of reproductive dysfunction.

Additional information can be found at researchgate.net/profile/Maryam_Kazemi24


heidi vandenbrink

Heidi Vanden Brink, Postdoctoral Associate; Ph.D. (Nutrition) Cornell University, M.Sc. (Health Sciences, Reproductive Physiology & Endocrinology) University of Saskatchewan, B.Sc. (Physiology) University of Saskatchewan; lab member since 2012.

Additional Credentials: Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (Specialization: Obstetrical & Gynecological Ultrasound)

Current Projects:  During her PhD, Heidi evaluated the use of 2D and 3D ultrasonography to diagnose anovulatory conditions in adolescent and adult women with and without obesity. Heidi also elucidated the impact of how glucoregulatory status and hyperandrogenism are defined in reporting degree of insulin resistance in women. As a postdoctoral associate, Heidi’s main focus is to characterize the reproductive, metabolic, and nutritional changes which occur during the first two years post-menarche in adolescents through a multi-site, NIH-funded prospective cohort study at Cornell University and Children’s Mercy Hospital (Kansas City, MO). Her primary objective is to determine whether biomarkers, such as the ovary on ultrasound, can be used to detect early reproductive disturbance in this population. Heidi is also conducting a parallel investigation to identify environmental exposures which may be influencing the trajectory of reproductive maturation in the years following menarche.


In the News:


Joy Zhang, Clinical Research Assistant, B.S. (Human Biology, Health & Society), Cornell University. 2021-present
Previous Projects: During her undergraduate studies, Joy conducted a research project with the Lujan Lab analyzing differences in endometrial development and reproductive hormones in women with obesity versus a lean reference cohort before and after weight loss. She also supported the Lujan Lab’s ongoing study analyzing the trajectory of ovarian morphology during the adolescent reproductive transition.

Bailey Drewes, Consultant; M.S. (Human Nutrition), Cornell University, B.S. (Nutrition Science; Biochemistry), College of Saint Benedict; lab member since Spring 2018.

Faith carter
Faith Carter, Doctoral Student, Human Nutrition (expected 2023); BS (Chemistry), University of North Carolina Wilmington; lab member since Fall 2019. 
Current Project: Faith is assessing the impact of weight loss on follicle dynamics in women with PCOS. Her objective is to determine the effectiveness of weight loss to normalize folliculogenesis.

alexis oldfield
Alexis Oldfield, Doctoral Student, Biological and Biomedical Sciences (expected 2022); BS (Chemistry), The College of New Jersey; lab member since Fall 2018.
Current Project: Alexis is evaluating the ovarian antral follicle dynamics in obese women. She will also be evaluating the irregular ovarian antral follicle dynamics in lean women. Her main goal is to  determine which aspects of folliculogenesis are altered across the adiposity spectrum. 

jeff pea
Jeff Pea, Doctoral Student, biological and Biomedical Sciences (expected 2023); BS (Cell & Developmental Biology), University of British Columbia; lab member since Fall 2019.
Current Project: Jeff is focused on developing novel approaches to use ovarian morphology in the evaluation of women with anovulatory infertility. His objectives include identifying methods to more accurately diagnose women with PCOS, including age-specific diagnostic criteria, to use sonographic ovarian markers as a biomarker for long-term cardiometabolic outcomes. He is also interested in the role of technology in evaluating ovarian ultrasounds, including 3D imaging and artificial intelligence.

Aprile Bertomo: Human Biology, Health, & Society (2022); lab member since Fall 2019. Current Project: Adherence to a Mediterranean-style diet during the adolescent reproductive transition.

Gabriella Spinola; General Biology (2022); lab member since Fall 2019. Current Project: Dietary intake during the adolescent reproductive transition in females.

Nabiha Zaman: Nutritional Sciences (2023); lab member since Fall 2019. Ultrasound image archival and analysis.

Jahnay Bryan: Chemistry (2023); lab member since Fall 2020. Current project: Ovarian ultrasonography in the diagnosis of PCOS

Anushka Malik: Biological Sciences (2022); lab member since Fall 2020. Adolescent Ultrasound image analysis.

Alexandra Reich: Human Biology, Health, and Society (2023); lab member since Fall 2020. Ultrasound image analysis and follicle tracking in women with PCOS.

Noah Lee: Nutritional Sciences (2023); lab member since Fall 2020. Ultrasound image analysis

Rachel Reeves: Human Biology (2023); lab member since Fall 2020. Ultrasound image analysis.

Brooke Kelly: Nutritional Sciences (2022); lab member since Fall 2020. Current project: Human clinical trial data collection and management for reproductive and metabolic parameters.

Julia Xiong: Human Biology Health and Society (2023); lab member since Fall 2020. Current project: Lifestyle behaviors, race, ethnicity, and health status in women with PCOS.

Cynthia Wan: Human Biology Health and Society (2023); lab member since Fall 2020. Current project: Lifestyle behaviors, race, ethnicity, and health status in women with PCOS.

Julia Michalak: Biological Sciences (2023); lab member since Fall 2020. Current project: Lifestyle behaviors, race, ethnicity, and health status in women with PCOS.

Isabella Xavier: Biological Sciences (2023); lab member since Fall 2020. Current project: Characterizing nutritional status in women with PCOS.

Kiran Ganga: Human Biology Health and Society (2024); lab member since Fall 2020. Current project: Characterizing nutritional status in women with PCOS.

Hannah Son: Human Biology, Health, and Society (2022); lab member since Spring 2021. Current project: Human clinical trial data collection and management for reproductive parameters.

Jessica Ma: College of Arts and Sciences (2024); lab member since Winter 2021. Current project: Dietary intake during the adolescent reproductive transition in females.

Elizabeth Viebranz: College of Arts and Sciences (2024); lab member since Winter 2021. Current project: Dietary intake during the adolescent reproductive transition in females.

Stephanie Wright: College of Arts and Sciences (2023); lab member since Winter 2021. Current project: Dietary intake during the adolescent reproductive transition in females.

Kiarra Coger: College of Arts and Sciences (2023); lab member since Winter 2021. Current project: Ultrasound image analysis across the reproductive lifespan.

Effat Rahman: CALS (2025); lab member since Winter 2021. Current project: Ultrasound image analysis across the reproductive lifespan.

Maggie Shideler: CALS (2025); lab member since Winter 2021. Current project: Ultrasound image analysis across the reproductive lifespan.

Jean Lee: College of Arts and Sciences (2025); lab member since Winter 2021. Current project: Ultrasound image analysis across the reproductive lifespan.

Annie Lin, Ph.D., Human Nutrition (2017); Doctoral Dissertation Title: Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviors, Knowledge, and Beliefs Association with PCOS; active years: 2012-2017.

Brittany Jarrett, Ph.D., Human Nutrition (2017); Doctoral Dissertation Title: Ultrasound Characterization of Antral Folliculogenesis in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome; active years: 2012-2017. *Also previous postdoctoral fellow (2018-2019) and honors undergraduate student (2009-2012).

Heidi Vanden Brink, Ph.D., Human Nutrition (2019); Doctoral Dissertation Title: Ultrasonographic Imaging of Ovarian Morphology for the Diagnosis and Evaluation of Anovulatory Conditions Across the Adiposity Spectrum in Women and Adolescents; active years: 2014-2019.

Laura Galley, M.S., Human Nutrition (2021); active years: 2018-2021.

Ashley Tam, B.A., Biological Sciences (2019); Honors Thesis Title: A comparison of ovarian morphology and reproductive and metabolic features between South Asian and White women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Lydia Anderson, B.S., Biological Sciences (2018); Honors Thesis Title: Association between glucoregulatory measures and reproductive function in women with and without PCOS; active years: 2016-2018

Adrienne Pisch, B.S., Biological Sciences (2018); Honors Thesis Title: Comparison and reliability of 2D and 3D ultrasound imaging methods to evaluate ovarian morphology; active years: 2016-2018

Hayden Chung, B.S., Nutritional Sciences (2016); Honors Thesis Title: The Impact of a Weight Loss Intervention on Health-Related Quality of Life in Overweight Women with Irregular Menses; active years: 2014-2016

Reid Mergler, B.S., Human Biology Health and Society (2015); Honors Thesis Title: Assessment of Reproductive and Metabolic Correlates of Cognitive Differences in Women with PCOS; active years: 2012-2015

Nikhita Chahal, B.S., Human Biology, Health and Society (2014); Honors Thesis Title: Ovarian Size and Stromal Characteristics across the Phenotypic Spectrum of PCOS: Are they Predictive and/or Useful in the Sonographic Assessment of PCOS?; active years: 2012-2014

Dana Larsen, B.S., Nutritional Sciences (2016); Honors Thesis Title: Validation of the Modified Women's Health Initiative Physical Activity Questionnaire in Women of Reproductive Age; active years: 2014-2016

Nina Clark, B.S., Human Biology, Health and Society (2013); Honors Thesis Title: Adiponectin, Leptin, Visfatin, and Retinol Binding Protein 4 Gene Expression Profiles in Women with PCOS; active years: 2010-2013

Amanda Pawlak, B.S., Biological Sciences (2011); Honors Thesis Title: Longitudinal Characterization of Follicle Populations in Women with PCOS: A Pilot Study; active years: 2009-2011

Mickayla Smith, B.S., Chemistry and Chemical Biology (2021); active years 2018-2020.

Anna Rodriguez, B.S., Biological Sciences (2021); active years 2019-2021.

Joy Zhang, B.S., Human Biology, Health, & Society (2021); active years 2019-2021.

Joy Kim, B.S., Nutritional Sciences (2021); active years 2019-2021. 

Jessica Lim, B.S., Biology and Society (2020);active years 2018-2020

Maryyam Durrani, B.S., Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (2020); active years 2018-2020

Shayla Kilgannon, B.S., Nutritional Sciences (2019); active years 2018-2019

Avigdor Nosrati, B.S., Biology and Society (2018); active years 2016-2018

Ashley Hsu, B.S, Human Biology, Health, and Society (2018); active years 2016-2018

Elena Bergomi, B.S., Nutritional Sciences (2017); active years 2015-2017

Pamela Capellan, B.S., Biology and Society (2017); active years 2014-2017

Jeannine Whelan, B.S., Human Biology Health and Society (2017); active years 2015-2017

Laura Barton, B.S., Nutritional Sciences (2018);active years 2015-2017

Tatyana Roberts, B.S., Biological Sciences (2016); active years 2013-2016

Lois Ann Davis, B.S., Biological Sciences (2015); active years 2013-2015

Sian Best, B.S., Nutritional Sciences (2014); active years 2012-2014

Sheena Patel, B.S., Policy Analysis and Management (2014); active years 2012-2014

Steven Soler, B.S., Biology and Society (2014); active years 2012-2014

Jacob Christ, B.S., Human Biology, Health and Society (2013); active years 2011-2013

Amarilys Fernández-Maldonado, B.S., Biological Sciences (2013); active years 2010-2013

Haroon Ismail, B.S., Human Biology, Health and Society (2013); active years 2012-2013

Vanessa Velez, B.S., Human Biology, Health and Society (2013); active years 2010-2013

Jon Reines, B.S., Human Biology, Health, and Society (2011); active years 2010-2012

Naomi Adeyu, B.S., Human Biology, Health, and Society (2011); active years 2010-2011

Kristen Bennett, B.S., Human Biology, Health, and Society (2011); active years 2010-2011

Eric Brooks, B.S., Human Biology, Health and Society (2010), active years 2009-2010

Anna Kepley, B.S., Biological Sciences and BS, Nutritional Sciences (2010); active years 2008-2010

Amanda Podolski, B.A., Biological Sciences (2009); active years 2008-2009

Meghan Ream, B.A. (Biology, Pre-Medicine, Nutrition and Dietetics), Bluffton University (2022); active years 2019-2020

Anjana Kumar, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Health Studies (2018); active year 2018

Natalie Vantman, B.S. (Nutrition and Dietetics), Universidad Mayor; active years 2015-2017

Page Gustofson, Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Health Studies (2017); active year 2017

Marla Lujan and Brittany Jarret at ultrasound monitor