Lecturer & Nurse Scientist
278W Martha Van Rensselaer Hall
Ithaca, New York

Division of Nutritional Sciences


Erica Bender is a nurse scientist in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and co-teaches Applied Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II within DNS’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Health Studies. She is the manager of the DNS Human Metabolic Research Unit, where her clinical procedures on human participants have led to her research in maternal-child nutrition and hormonal disorders in women as they relate to nutrition.

Ms. Bender is a certified nurse-midwife in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology. During her early career, she concentrated heavily on obstetrics. She has delivered approximately 900 babies and provided prenatal/postnatal care to thousands of women. In her later career, she focused on gynecology and primary care for women. She has worked in diverse environments such as private practice, indigent care, health departments, and hospital systems, as well as academia.

Ms. Bender received her MS in nursing from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, where she received two distinguished awards, Excellence in Clinical Practice and Excellence in Academic Achievement. She is a member of the American College of Nurse Midwives, a certified childbirth educator, and a National Healthcare educator.

In managing the HMRU, I am an integral part of the research that is conducted there.  I conduct numerous clinical procedures, but also assist the PIs and research teams in all aspects of their research.  These include: study planning and preparation, logistical issues, creation of documents (informed consent, SOPs, etc.), assistance with IRB applications, working with Medical Oversight, scheduling of visits and procedures, conduction of actual clinical research procedures (venipuncture, capillary blood collection, OGTT, ultrasounds, fat biopsies, muscle biopsies, etc.), follow-up of research participants, reporting of an unexpected events, and working with the IRB, MO, UCHCR, EH&S, etc, for the smooth facilitation of the research.  I have been involved in all of the following studies, and have served as co-investigator on a few of them.

Bostic, IRB# 1512005994, Fish & Seafood Survey: Midlife Rural New York Adults

Cassano, IRB# 1506005620, Sampling Glucose and Erythritol Levels in Blood

Caudill, IRB# 1403004534, Impact of diet and gut microbiota on trimethylamine-N-oxide production and fate in humans

DellaValle, IRB# 1301003538, Iron Absorption from a Lentil-Based Meal in South-East Asian Females

Haas, IRB# 1603006204, Defining the Functional and Metabolic Role of Iron in Aerobic Training and Physical Performance

Hammons, IRB# 1110002519, Moms and Infants Study of Memory, Iron and Cognitive Development (MIMIC)

Lujan, IRB# 1303003665, Baseline Assessment of Dietary Intake and Physical Activity in Women with PCOS

Lujan, IRB# 1202002774 , A Comparison of Follicle Counts Using 2 and 3 Dimensional Ultrasonography

Lujan, IRB# 0908000633, Ultrasound Characterization of Follicle Dynamics in Women with Amenorrhea

Lujan, IRB# 1108002383 , Nutritional and Metabolic Correlates of Ovarian Morphology in Women with PCOS

Lujan, IRB# 1207003154, Ultrasound Characterization of Ovarian Follicle Dynamics During Weight Loss

Lujan, IRB#1207003154 Amendment, 6 Month WLS Follow-Up

Mehta (David Erickson), IRB# 1210003390, Measuring blood Vitamin B12 levels using smartphone technology

Mehta (Erickson), IRB# 1210003390, Mobile health platforms for measurements of colorimetric tests and mechanical biomarkers

Noel (Cassano), IRB# 1305003909, Freshman Taste Study

O’Brien, IRB# 1206003117, Metabolic Adaptation to Plant-based Diets in Asian Populations

O’Brien, IRB# 1501005277, Calcium Absorption from Calcium Supplements and its Association with Vitamin D Status

O’Brien, IRB# 1508005774, Genetic Polymorphisms for Iron Metabolism: Adaptive Evolution and Current Impact

Reid, IRB# 1311004240,  Commercial Play Yard Pilot Study (Pilot to Zimbabwe Study)

Stover, IRB# 1409004923, The effect of mutation on the ALDH1L2 gene

Strupp, Canfield, Caudill, IRB# 0908000350, Effect of Maternal Choline Intake on Maternal/Fetal Biomarkers of Choline Status

Thalacker-Mercer, IRB# 1407004819, Skeletal muscle mitochondrial aging

Thalacker- Mercer, IRB# 1508005758, Characterizing age-related metabolic dysfunction in female skeletal muscle

Wenger, IRB# 1212003522, Cognitive Performance Testing: Validation and Comparison of Cognitive Tests

Active Studies for 2017:

Caudill   IRB#1702006936, Maternal Choline Supplementation and its Impact on Docosahexaenoic Acid Availability in Human Pregnancy

Levitsky IRB# 1701006866, Investigating the Effect of Decreasing Portion Size on Energy Intake

Levitsky, Barre, Sewall IRB#,  Weigh 2 Go

Levitsky, Sewall, IRB#, Time Restricted Feeding Study

Lujan IRB#1303003665   Baseline Assessment of Dietary Intake and Physical Activity in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Lujan IRB#0908000633   Ultrasound Characterization of Follicle Dynamics in Women with Amenorrhea

Lujan IRB#1108002383   Nutritional and Metabolic Correlates of Ovarian Morphology in Women with PCOS

Strupp, Canfield, Caudill IRB#0908000350 Effect of Maternal Choline Intake on Maternal/Fetal Biomarkers of Choline Status

Thalacker-Mercer IRB#1407004819, Skeletal muscle mitochondrial aging

Thalacker- Mercer IRB#1508005758, Characterizing age-related metabolic dysfunction in female skeletal muscle

Thalacker- Mercer IRB#1704007090, Graded-dose of histidine study

Thalacker-Mercer IRB#1706007263, Effect of a blueberry enriched diet on skeletal muscle progenitor cells



Vanden Brink H, Jarrett B, Lin A, Soler S, Best S, Bender E, Peppin A, Hoeger K, Lujan M. Sonographic markers of ovarian morphology, but not hirsutism indices, predict serum total testosterone in women with regular menstrual cycles. Fertil Steril. Accepted December 31, 2015

 Clara E. Cho, Siraphat Taesuwan, Olga V. Malysheva, Erica Bender, Jian Yan, Marie A. Caudill, Choline and one-carbon metabolite response to egg, beef and fish among healthy young men: A short-term randomized clinical study, Clinical Nutrition Experimental, 2016, 10, 1

Jarrett BY, Vanden Brink H, Bender EL, Lujan ME. Longitudinal Characterization of Ovarian Antral Follicle Populations and Growth Kinetics in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Oral Presentation at the 15th Annual Meeting of the Androgen Excess and PCOS Society, San Antonio, TX, October 26 - 28, 2017.



"Arginine and proline metabolism is associated with older adult skeletal muscle mass and altered by inflammation in primary human muscle cells", recently submitted to the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.

National Provider Identification (NPI) #: 1407997240

2017-present   Permit Holder, DNS HMRU DEXA, Radiation Safety, Cornell

2015-present   Member, National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP)

2014-present   Compliance Officer: Cornell-Division of Nutritional Sciences Tissue Bank

2014-present   Member, International Association of Clinical Research Nurses (IACRN)

2014-present   Member, Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA)

2013-present   Nurse Practitioner- Ob/Gyn, State of New York, Lic# F360536-1

2013-present   Midwife, State of New York, Lic# F001541-1

2013-present   Registered Professional Nurse, State of New York, Lic # 668187

2013-present   DEA Registered Prescriber, DEA Registration #: MB3017452

2013-present   Laboratory Director, DNS HMRU Limited Service Laboratory

2001-present   Certified Nurse-Midwife, American Midwifery Certification Board

2001-present   Member, American College of Nurse Midwives

2000-present   Certified Childbirth Educator

2001-present   National Healthcare Educator

1999-present   CPR for the Professional Rescuer, American Heart Association


I actively participate in recruitment strategies aimed at the public community for research studies conducted in the HMRU.

Yearly, I give a voluntary speech for a Wells College course, Introduction to the Health Professions, on nursing, healthcare, nurse-practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and the maternal-infant health care crisis in the US.

I feel extremely fortunate to not only teach pre-health professional students in the post-bac program, but also to advise and mentor them.  I am passionate about health-care and providing humanistic evidence-based care to patients.  I try to let this passion come through to my students as I teach and mentor/advise them with real world clinical stories and scenarios.  I truly care about my students and strive to be readily available for them as needed.

This past year, Spring 2017, I was the lead instructor for NS5411 while two co-instructors were on leave.  In the Fall of 2018 I co-taught NS5411. I also served as interim-director of the Post Bac program during this time.

Historically, I have taught multiple classes for associate nurses, registered nurses, and advanced degree nurses (nurse-practitioners and certified nurse-midwives).

Currently, I co-teach NS5410 and NS5411, Applied Human Anatomy & Physiology I & II in the post-bac program.

I also give 1-2 lectures in NS3320, Anatomy & Physiology and NS5200, Health & Humanities

NS3320 completes 3 labs per year in the HMRU, where part of this lab requires my presence and teaching on topics such as body composition and the DEXA machine.

State University of New York- Downstate Medical Center, New York, May 2001

            Master of Science in Nursing



East Stroudsburg University, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania,  May 1999

            Bachelor of Science in Nursing


·         Responsibilities include management of the Human Metabolic Research Unit within the Division of Nutritional Sciences, for research conducted on human participants.

o   Conduction of approved medical procedures, such as phlebotomy, fat biopsies, muscle biopsies, capillary blood collection, transvaginal ultrasounds, etc. and facilitation of research.

o   Assistance to the Principal Investigators with IRB proposals, creation of Standard Operating Procedures, consent forms, organization of studies, recruitment of participants, collection of data, and monitoring and follow-up with participants as required by medical oversight.

o   Develops and maintains inventory of HMRU equipment, instrumentation and supplies necessary for conducting clinical procedures; develops fees for clinical procedure services; works with DNS central administrative staff to develop the HMRU annual operating budget; manages invoicing process for clinical procedure services; and monitors revenues accrued to ensure appropriate and accurate revenue recovery.

Permit holder- DEXA- Cornell Radiation Safety

Limited Service Laboratory CLIA Waiver, Lab Director, NYSDOH

Tissue License Permit Holder, Cadaver Lab, NYSDOH

Supervisor of 5 employees in the HMRU that provide per-diem assistance.

Post Bac Program:

·         Responsibilities also include participation and lecture within the Post-Baccalaureate Program, Certificate in Health Studies, both didactic and laboratory.

o   Serves as co-instructor for NS5410 and NS5411 (Applied Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II)- Served as Lead Instructor for NS5411 spring 2017-4 credits, and Interim Post Bac Director.

o   Participates in the continual development and improvement of the course syllabus

o   Participates in description and assessment measures, and of lectures and labs associated with the Post Baccalaureate certificate program

o   Provides didactic, laboratory, and clinical skills based instruction to students in this program

o   Holds office hours, advise/mentor students, and write letters of recommendation