The team

M. Yanina Pepino

Dr. Pepino is an Associate Professor of Ingestive Behavior at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, and the Division of Nutritional Sciences and a Health Innovator Professor in Carle Illinois College of Medicine.  She received her B.S. degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, from the Faculty of Chemical Sciences, National University of Córdoba, Argentina, in 1995 and a Ph. D.  in Chemistry from the same university in 2001.  After completing her graduate degree, she was a post-doctoral research fellow at Monell Center in Philadelphia. Before joining the University of Illinois, she was a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Human Nutrition, Washington University School of Medicine. In recent years, her research has focused on individual differences in taste perception, food preferences, and ingestive behavior. Among the individual differences, she has a particular interest in studying those related with obesity and addiction.  In 2011, Dr. Pepino was recipient of the 20th Annual Moskowitz Jacobs Award for Research in Psychophysics of Human Taste and Smell, a prestigious award given by the international Association for Chemoreception Sciences.  Dr. Pepino current research interests include understanding 1) the effect of bariatric surgery-induced weight loss on flavor perception and eating and drinking behavior; 2) human fat sensory perception; and 3) the effect of non-caloric sweeteners on taste preference and glucose homeostasis and 4) taste and smell function in clinical populations.

Pepino Google Scholar

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Neda Seyedsadjadi

Dr. Neda Seyedsadjadi is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Nutrition sciences, and obtained a PhD degree in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia in 2018. Before joining the University of Illinois, she was a postdoctoral research officer at the Centre for Lifestyle Medicine at Australasian Research Institute, Sydney, Australia. Neda’s current research interest is understanding pharmacokinetics and pharmacological effects of alcohol and metabolic and biochemical changes after bariatric surgery.

 


Clara Salame

Clara Salame is a PhD student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. She is a US registered Dietitian with a Master’s in Clinical and Public Health Nutrition from the University College London, UK. Prior to that, she received her B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics, Coordinated Program from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Clara’s research interests are in ingestive behavior, particularly the effect of low calorie sweeteners on sweet taste receptors and glucose metabolism.

 


 

Raul Alfaro Leiva
Raul Alfaro Leiva is a PhD student in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. He received his B.Sc. in Food Science and Technology from Zamorano University in Honduras on December 2017.

 

 

 


 

 

Jessica Nicanor Carreon

Jessica Nicanor Carreon is a PhD student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. She completed a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico. Prior to that, she received her B.A. in Nutrition and Wellness from Tecnologico de Monterrey also in Mexico. She graduated with honors in both programs. Jessica’s research interests are clinical nutrition, obesity, bariatric surgery and ingestive behavior. Her current research focuses on changes in flavor perception after bariatric surgery, and how this can influence eating behavior.

 


Sara Petty is a Master student in Food Science and Human Nutrition. She received her B.S. in Dietetics from Bradley University in May of 2018. After earning her M.S., she intends to go on to complete a Dietetic Internship to be able to become a Registered Dietitian. Her interest in nutrition and food science began while watching cooking shows (including America's Test Kitchen) throughout her childhood. She hopes to serve others through the field of nutrition by helping to ensure that the information the public receives about nutrition and their health comes from credible sources. She could see herself working in clinical research, on the development of clinical nutrition supplements, or in an outpatient diabetes facility in the future!
Sara Petty

Sara Petty is a Dietetic Internship who completed her Master in Food Science and Human Nutrition in the Pepino Lab. She received her B.S. in Dietetics from Bradley University in May of 2018 and her M.S. in May 2020. Her interest in nutrition and food science began while watching cooking shows (including America’s Test Kitchen) throughout her childhood. She hopes to serve others through the field of nutrition by helping to ensure that the information the public receives about nutrition and their health comes from credible sources. She could see herself working in clinical research, on the development of clinical nutrition supplements, or in an outpatient diabetes facility in the future!


We could do next to nothing without the excellent technical support and contributions of Molly, Rafael, Danisa and our committed undergraduates

Molly Black
Rafael Troconis Santos
Danisa Nieto

 

Undergraduates

Ying Yang

Jennifer Zeng

Gwendoline Balto

Husna Hussaini

Ayah Albareedi
Michael Herrada