Director Thomas

Director: Diana Thomas, Ph.D. is an associate professor of mathematics and Director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Her research involves applications of mathematics to guide and inform patients regulating their body weight. Dr. Thomas’ models combine data collected from clinical trials involving human body weight regulation stretching back over a century to arrive at mathematically driven conclusions. Some of the questions she is investigating are “Why do individuals not lose more weight during exercise?”, “How can we objectively monitor diet in humans?”, and “What explains differences in weight change between individuals?” Dr. Thomas works closely with an interdisciplinary team of experts in nutrition, exercise, physiology, and medicine.

Doctor Amanda Birnbaum

Amanda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., MPH is an associate professor of public health and the Graduate Program Coordinator of the Master of Public Health in Community Health Education at Montclair State University. Her research interests focus on understanding and improving eating and physical activity behaviors, particularly among adolescents. Working from a social ecological perspective, Dr. Birnbaum combines quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate social environmental factors, such as neighborhood and school environments, as they relate to diet and physical activity. She also collaborates on developing and evaluating both local and national initiatives aimed at promoting healthier eating and physical activity among families and communities.

Doctor Fisher

Michele Fisher, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator in Exercise Science and Physical Education at Montclair State University. Her research interests include the role of exercise in the management of cardiovascular risk factors and the application of age-appropriate physical activity in children and adolescents. She is the primary author of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) 2006 Guidelines for Undergraduate Exercise Physiology in a Physical Education Teacher Education Program and has published 17 refereed articles or abstracts, along with numerous professional presentations. Michele is an active member of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Dance (AAHPERD) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), having served on several committees related to Exercise Physiology and Research Programming over the years. She is also certified as a Clinical Exercise Specialist from the ACSM and has served as a lecturer and examiner for ACSM certification workshops for Health Fitness Specialist and Clinical Exercise Specialist.

Andrada Ivanescu headshot

Andrada Ivanescu, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of mathematical sciences and member of the Center of Quantitative Obesity Research at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Her expertise focuses in the area of Biostatistics. She co-authored journal articles for Obesity Surgery, Health and Quality of Life Outcomes, and co-investigated NADPH oxidase activity and muscle microvascular endothelial function in obesity for a National Institutes of Health awarded grant. As a graduate research assistant in Biostatistics at Florida State University, Department of Statistics,  she participated in the Diverse Populations Collaborative Group initiative to study the variability of the nadir of body mass index using meta-analysis strategies across cohorts of diverse populations.

Doctor Konas

David Konas, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of chemistry at Montclair State University. His research involves applying chemistry and chemical methods to answering questions related to health and medicine. Dr. Konas was a research associate and fellow at the Cleveland Clinic and maintains a collaboration with scientists there. Dr. Konas is currently working on the synthesis of modified biological compounds and the analysis of actual prepared food nutrient content found in various foodservice environments.

Meena Mahadevan Headshot

Meena Mahadevan, Ph.D., MHE is an assistant professor of nutrition and the Program Coordinator of the new Applied Nutrition concentration in the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Montclair State University. Her research interests focus on using the socio-ecological model to understand the factors influencing the health and nutrition status of individuals faced with comorbid chronic conditions including HIV, diabetes and hypertension. Her work involves using both quantitative and qualitative methods to delineate the mechanisms and pathways by which the various personal, social, cultural and environmental factors unique to a population group intersect to impact their nutritional health outcomes. She also collaborates with several community-based agencies in Paterson and Newark on developing and evaluating interventions aimed at promoting better health-seeking practices and reducing health disparities among some of the most vulnerable sections of our our society, namely HIV-positive African American women, and impoverished South Asian immigrant women with low literacy levels.

Christopher McKinley headshot

Christopher McKinley Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Communication and Media at Montclair State University. His research program explores how mediated and interpersonal resources influence health information seeking and health behavior change. Dr. McKinley is particularly interested in assessing the contribution of popular media and psychosocial factors on health decision-making. His research has addressed important public health issues, including, but not limited to, binge drinking, childhood obesity, healthy dietary habits, and mental illness.

Doctor Petroff

Elena Petroff, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Biology and Molecular Biology at Montclair State University. Her research involves investigation of the mechanisms that trigger the growth of glial tumors, the most commonly observed brain tumor. She is currently supported by a National Institutes of Health grant to investigate the molecular mechanisms involved in ion channel interaction in glial cells and determine the effects of ion channel interaction on cell growth, proliferation, and migration. Dr. Petroff is a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Physiological Society. She currently serves on the Awards Committee of the American Physiological Society.