Dr. Julia Finkelstein is the Follett Sesquicentennial Faculty Fellow and Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University. She is also an adjunct Associate Professor at St. John’s Research Institute in Bangalore, India. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University, Master of Public Health degree from Brown University, and Master of Science and Doctor of Science degrees in Epidemiology and Nutrition from Harvard University.
Dr. Finkelstein is an epidemiologist with expertise in the design and conduct of randomized clinical trials, cohort studies, and surveillance programs in resource-limited settings. The goal of the Finkelstein Laboratory is to elucidate the role of iron, vitamin B12, and folate in the etiology of anemia and adverse pregnancy outcomes, and inform the development of interventions to improve the health of mothers and young children.
Dr. Finkelstein was awarded the ILSI North America Future Leader Award in 2017. She has served as an external expert for the World Health Organization Nutrition Guidelines Group, Chair of the B-vitamins and One-Carbon Metabolism symposium at the Experimental Biology conference, expert consultant for the World Health Organization, and NIH reviewer for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
The goal of my research program is to elucidate the role of iron, vitamin B12, and folate in the etiology of anemia and adverse pregnancy outcomes, and inform the development of interventions to improve the health of mothers and young children. Current major research projects include randomized trials, cohort surveillance programs, cohort studies, and randomized trials in southern India:
- A Randomized Trial of Quadruple Fortified Salt for Anemia and Birth Defects Prevention in Southern India (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Vitamin B12and Perinatal Health: Elucidating Mechanisms and Biomarkers for Prevention of Birth Defects (ILSI Future Leader Award Grant)
- Differential Diagnosis of Anemia and Micronutrient Deficiencies (National Institutes of Health)
- Periconceptional Surveillance for Prevention of Anemia and Birth Defects in India (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Biomarkers of Iron Status in Women of Reproductive Age for Prevention of Anemia and Birth Defects in India (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Arsenic and Folate-Mediated One-Carbon Metabolism: Novel Mechanisms in the Etiology of Neural Tube Defects (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Elucidating the Role of One-Carbon Metabolism Biomarkers for Birth Defects Prevention (CHE NIH Grant Development Program)
Selected Peer-Reviewed Research Publications
1. Finkelstein JL, Fothergill A*, Hackl LS, Haas JD, and Mehta S. Iron biofortification interventions to improve iron status and functional outcomes. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 2019 Jan 30:1-11. PMID: 30698117. Impact Factor: 5.3.
2. Finkelstein JL, Herman HS*, Guetterman H*, Peña-Rosas JP, and Mehta S. Daily iron supplementation for prevention or treatment of iron deficiency anaemia in infants, children and adolescents. Protocol. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2018, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD013227.DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013227. Impact Factor: 6.1.
3. Layden AJ*, Täse K*, and Finkelstein JL. Neglected tropical diseases and vitamin B12: A review of the current evidence. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 2018 Aug 28. PMID: 30165408. Impact Factor: 2.8.
4. Finkelstein JL, Haas JD, Mehta S. Iron-biofortified staple food crops for improving iron status: A review of the current evidence. Current Opinion in Biotechnology2017, 44: 138–145. PMID: 28131049. Impact Factor: 8.4.
5. Finkelstein JL, Kurpad AV, Thomas T, Srinivasan K, Duggan C. Vitamin B12 Status in Pregnant Women and their Infants in South India. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2017 Apr 12. PMID: 28402324. Impact Factor: 2.9.
6. Venkatramanan S*, Armata IE*, Strupp BJ, Finkelstein JL. Vitamin B-12 and Cognition in Children. Advances in Nutrition. 2016; 7:1–10. PMID: 27633104. Impact Factor: 5.4.
7. Layden AJ*, O’Brien KO, Pressman EK, Cooper EM, Kent TR, Finkelstein JL. Vitamin B12 and Placental Transcobalamin Expression in Pregnant Adolescents. Placenta.2016; 45:1–7. PMID: 27577703. Impact Factor: 3.0.
8. De-Regil LM, Finkelstein JL, Saeterdal I, Gaitán D, Peña-Rosas JP. Fortification of wheat and maize flour with folic acid for population health outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews2016, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD012150. Impact Factor: 6.1.
9. Herman HS*, Mehta S, Cárdenas WB, Stewart-Ibarra AM, Finkelstein JL. Micronutrients and Leptospirosis: A Review of the Current Evidence. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2016; 10(7). PMID: 27387046. Impact Factor: 3.9.
10. Finkelstein JL, Layden AJ*, Stover PJ. Vitamin B-12 and Perinatal Health. Advances in Nutrition. 2015; 6:1–12. Impact Factor: 5.4.
11. Finkelstein JL, Mehta S, Udipi SA, Ghugre PS, Luna SV, Wenger MJ, Murray-Kolb LE, Przybyszewski EM, Haas JD. A Randomized Trial of Iron-Biofortified Pearl Millet in School Children in India.Journal of Nutrition. 2015 Jul; 145(7): 1576–81. Impact Factor: 3.7.
12. Finkelstein JL, Gala P*, Rochford R, Glesby MJ, Mehta S. HIV/AIDS and Lipodystrophy: Implications for clinical management in resource-limited settings. Journal of the International AIDS Society.2015, 18:19033. Impact Factor: 5.1.
13. Martiniova L, Field MS, Finkelstein JL, Perry CA, Stover PJ. Maternal dietary uridine causes, and deoxyuridine prevents, neural tube closure defects in a mouse model of folate-responsive neural tube defects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015 Apr; 101(4): 860–9. Impact Factor: 6.7.
14. Finkelstein JL, Pressman EK, Cooper EM, Kent TR, Bar HY, O’Brien KO. Vitamin D Status Impacts Serum Metabolomic Profiles in Pregnant Adolescents. Reproductive Sciences. 2014 Nov 2. Impact Factor: 2.4.
15. De Moura FF, Palmer AC, Finkelstein JL, Haas JD, Murray-Kolb LE, Wenger MJ, Birol E, Boy E, Peña-Rosas JP. Are Biofortified Staple Food Crops Improving Vitamin A and Iron Status in Women and Children? New Evidence from Efficacy Trials. Advances in Nutrition. Sep 2014 5 568–570. Impact Factor: 5.4.
16. Duggan C, Srinivasan K, Thomas T, Samuel T, Rajendran R, Muthayya S, Finkelstein JL, Lukose A, Fawzi W, Allen LH, Bosch RJ, Kurpad AV. Vitamin B-12 Supplementation during Pregnancy and Early Lactation Increases Maternal, Breast Milk, and Infant Measures of Vitamin B-12 Status. Journal of Nutrition. 2014 Mar 5. Impact Factor: 3.7.
17. Finkelstein JL, O’Brien KO, Abrams SA, Zavaleta N. Infant Iron Status Impacts Iron Absorption in Peruvian Breast-fed Infants at Two and Five Months of Age. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2013 Dec; 98(6):1475–84. Impact Factor: 6.7.
18. Finkelstein JL, Mehta S, Fawzi WW. HIV and iron-deficiency anaemia. Public Health Nutrition. 2012 Mar 20:1. Impact Factor: 2.4.
19. Finkelstein JL, Mehta S, Duggan CP, Spiegelman D, Aboud S, Kupka R, Msamanga GI, Fawzi WW. Predictors of anaemia and iron deficiency in HIV-infected pregnant women in Tanzania: a potential role for vitamin D and parasitic infections. Public Health Nutrition. 2012 May; 15(5):928–37. Impact Factor: 2.4.
20. Finkelstein JL, Mehta S, Duggan C, Manji KP, Mugusi FM, Aboud S, Spiegelman D, Msamanga GI, Fawzi WW. Maternal Vitamin D Status and Child Morbidity, Anemia, and Growth in Human Immunodeficiency Virus-exposed Children in Tanzania. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal. 2012 Feb; 31(2):171–175. Impact Factor: 2.7.
21. Finkelstein JL, Manji KP, Duggan C, Hertzmark E, Mehta S, Msamanga GI, Spiegelman D, Fawzi WW. Predictors of incident tuberculosis in HIV-exposed children in Tanzania. East African Medical Journal. 2012 Jun; 89(6): 183–192.
22. Kupka R, Mugusi F, Aboud S, Msamanga GI, Finkelstein JL, Spiegelman D, Fawzi WW. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of selenium supplements among HIV-infected pregnant women in Tanzania: Effects on maternal and child outcomes. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.2008 Jun; 87(6): 1802–8. Impact Factor: 6.7.
23. Finkelstein JL, Schleinitz MD, Carabin H, McGarvey ST. Decision-model estimation of the age-specific disability weight for schistosomiasis japonica. PloS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2008 Mar 5; 2(3): e158. Accompanied by an Editorial Commentary: King CH. Schistosomiasis Japonica: The DALYs Recaptured. PloS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2008 Mar 5; 2(3): e203. Impact Factor: 3.9.
*Mentees in my research laboratory
Research Manuscripts Under Review
1. Finkelstein JL, Fothergill A*, Qi YP, Stover PJ, and Crider KS. Vitamin B12 supplementation during pregnancy for maternal and child health outcomes. Protocol. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
2. Finkelstein JL, Mehta S, Luna SV, Rahn M, Villapando V, Mundo V, Shamah-Levy T, Beebe SE, Haas JD. A Randomized Trial of Iron-Biofortified Beans in School Children in Mexico.
3. Finkelstein JL, Guillet R, Pressman EK, Fothergill A*, Kent TR, Guetterman HM*, O’Brien KO. Vitamin B12Status in Pregnant Adolescents and their Infants.
4. Finkelstein JL, Kurpad AV, Bose B*, Thomas T, Srinivasan K, Duggan C. Maternal Anemia of Inflammation and Adverse Pregnancy and Neonatal Outcomes in Southern India.
5. Centeno Tablante E*, Pachón H, Guetterman H*, and Finkelstein JL. Fortification of wheat and maize flour with folic acid for population health outcomes. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
6. Palmer AM, Misselbeck K, Marchetti L, Finkelstein JL, Stabler SP, Brosnan ME, Brosnan JT, Primami C, Field MS, Stover PJ. Maternal Vitamin B12 Deficiency Causes Exencephaly in a Mouse Model of Folate-Responsive Neural Tube Defects.
Chapters, Technical Papers, and Proceedings
1. Finkelstein JL and Mehta S. Micronutrients in HIV-infected Pregnant Women and their Children. In Nutrition and HIV: Epidemiological Evidence to Public Health Practice, edited by Mehta S and Finkelstein JL, 207–242. Boca Raton: CRC Press, May 2018.
2. Layden AJ* and Finkelstein JL. B-vitamins and HIV/AIDS. In Nutrition and HIV: Epidemiological Evidence to Public Health Practice, edited by Mehta S and Finkelstein JL. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, May 2018.
3. Khondakar NR and Finkelstein JL. Iron and HIV/AIDS. In Nutrition and HIV: Epidemiological Evidence to Public Health Practice, edited by Mehta S and Finkelstein JL. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, May 2018.
4. Finkelstein JL, Aribindi H*, Herman HS*, and Mehta S. Micronutrients and HIV in Pediatric Populations. In Nutrition and HIV: Epidemiological Evidence to Public Health Practice, edited by Mehta S and Finkelstein JL, 275–305. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, May 2018.
5. Finkelstein JL, Mugusi FM, Mehta S, Fawzi WW. HIV/AIDS and Nutrition in the HAART Era: Programmatic implications for HIV/AIDS care and treatment in resource-limited settings. In From the Ground Up: Building Comprehensive HIV/AIDS Care Programs in Resource-Limited Settings, edited by Marlink RG, Teitelman SJ. Washington, DC: Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, 2009.
Nutrition and HIV: Epidemiological Evidence to Public Health Practice.Mehta S, Finkelstein JL, Eds. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, May 2018.
Scientific Advisory Boards, Panels, and Consensus Committees
External Expert, World Health Organization Nutrition Guideline Group Meeting
Advisory Board Member, WorldMap Steering Committee, Harvard University
World Health Organization
Granting Agencies Reviewer
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Teaching Scholar Certificate, Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence
Teaching with Technology Certificate, Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence
Women in Global Health Research Initiative, Weill Cornell Medical College
Professional Society Memberships
American Society of Nutrition
Canadian Nutrition Society
Society for Epidemiologic Research
International Epidemiological Association
Infectious Diseases Society of America
HIV Medicine Association
Global Health Council
American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
American Public Health Association
Chair, Cornell Geospatial Forum
Adjunct Faculty Appointments
Adjunct Associate Professor, St. John’s Research Institute, St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bangalore, India
Graduate Field Appointments, Cornell University
Biomedical and Biological Sciences: Molecular and Cellular Medicine, Population Medicine and Epidemiology, Immunology and Infectious Disease, and Translational Medicine
Latin American Studies
National Institutes of Health Training Grant Memberships, Cornell University
NICHD Maternal-Infant Nutrition Training Grant
NIDDK Nutrition Training Grant
NIH Comparative Medicine Training Program
Program Center and Institute Affiliations
World Health Organization and Cornell University, Division of Nutritional Sciences: Collaborating Centre on Implementation Research in Nutrition and Global Policy
Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, South Asia Program
Latin America Studies Program
Institute for African Development
Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research
Institute for Nutrition, Global Health, and Technology
Cornell Dairy Center for Excellence
Cornell Population Center
Center for Infection and Pathobiology
William Yeats put it best: Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.
Teaching is most effective when I am able to make a personal connection with students—and bring my experiences from the field into the classroom. My training in nutrition, epidemiology, biostatistics, and public health has shaped my perspectives in teaching and mentoring. As an epidemiologist, scientist, and public health researcher, I envision my role is to mentor and inspire the next generation of leaders in the field of nutrition and global health: to find a nutritional problem that fascinates them, to challenge them to think critically about its burden and etiology, and to apply knowledge and skills to develop solutions to improve population health.
I enjoy teaching nutrition, epidemiology, and research methods to undergraduate and graduate students, and health care professionals in domestic and international settings. In my teaching approach, I emphasize establishing a strong foundation in biological sciences and quantitative research methods, critical thinking and analytic skills, provide opportunities to further develop skills through problem-based learning, and translate the knowledge gained to advance human health. I encourage the development of individual leadership and interdisciplinary teamwork, and the application of research methods and discovery to improve public health.
In the Division of Nutritional Sciences, I teach NS3600 Epidemiology, the foundational methods course in our Global and Public Health Sciencesmajor, and the B-vitamins section of NS6310 Micronutrients: Function, Homeostasis and Assessment. I also serve as an instructor in our annual World Health Organization/Cochrane/Cornell Summer Institute for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making, and guest lecture in courses on epidemiology and maternal and child nutrition. I am a faculty advisor for students in the graduate fields of nutrition and epidemiology at Cornell, advise undergraduate students in Global and Public Health Sciencesand Human Biology Health and Society, and mentor undergraduate, masters, doctoral, and postdoctoral scholars as part of my maternal and child nutrition research program.
Courses Currently Taught
NS6310 Micronutrients: Function, Homeostasis and Assessment, B-vitamins section
BIOG4990 Independent Undergraduate Research in Biology
NS4010 Empirical Research
NS6010 Special Topics for Graduate Students
NS6140 Topics in Maternal and Child Nutrition: HIV/AIDS: A Global Challenge to Maternal and Child Health, Controversies in Infant Feeding
NS3980 Research in Human Nutrition and Health: Nutrition, Epidemiology, and Perinatal Health
NS3060 Nutrition and Global Health: Maternal and Child Health, Epidemiology, and International Nutrition
NS1200 Nutrition and Health - Issues, Outlooks, and Opportunities: International and Public Health Nutrition
BIOG1200 Biology Scholars Program Freshman Seminar: Maternal and Child Nutrition
World Health Organization/Cochrane/Cornell Summer Institute for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making
Doctor of Science, Harvard University, 2011
Master of Science, Harvard University, 2010
Master of Public Health, Brown University, 2005
Bachelor of Science, McGill University, 2002
Nominations and Elections Committee, Faculty Senate
Senator, Faculty Senate, Division of Nutritional Sciences Representative
Luce Scholars Program Endorsement Committee
Chair, Cornell Geospatial Forum
Mann Library Committee, College of Human Ecology Representative
Admissions Committee, International Nutrition
Field of Nutrition Seminar Committee
Search Committee, Assistant/Full Professor in Global Health and Nutrition
Search Committee, Assistant Professor in Nutritional Biochemistry, Metabolism, and Genomics
Division of Nutritional Sciences Faculty Associate, Center for Teaching Excellence
World Health Organization/PAHO Collaborating Centre on Implementation Research in Nutrition and Global Policy, Division of Nutritional Sciences