If you are interested in joining the lab, please let us know by submitting a contact form on our Contact Us page or by emailing our research coordinator at email@example.com.
Maria Carlota Dao, Ph.D.
Lab Director and Assistant Professor
Dr. Maria Carlota Dao is an Assistant Professor of Human Nutrition in the Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems at the University of New Hampshire. As an interdisciplinary scientist focused on obesity research, she investigates the interplay of cardiometabolic risks, dietary and psychosocial factors, and the gut microbiota. Through this work she seeks to address obesity in health disparity populations. Prior to becoming a faculty member at UNH, Dr. Dao worked as a scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. Her training includes a postdoctoral fellowship at the Sorbonne University and INSERM (Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition) in France, and a PhD in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
Brandy is a thesis-based Master’s Student in the Nutritional Sciences and a Teaching Assistant. She graduated in May 2021 from Boston University with a BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, a BS in Nutritional Sciences, and a minor in Public Health. She will be focusing her work on biochemical assays and microbiome analysis to support the lab's ongoing projects. She is eager to expand her knowledge on the microbiome and train in the statistical methods to analyze the fecal microbiome composition and its functional capacity. Before joining the Dao lab, Brandy worked on an organic vegetable farm, and in the future, she hopes to run her own farm and become a Registered Dietitian.
Brooke Kelleher, B.S.
Research Assistant and Master's Student
Brooke is a Research Assistant in the Dao Lab, and Master’s Student in Nutritional Sciences. She brings experience in Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE) changes and community engagement from her previous work with UNH Extension and FoodCorps. Brooke is supporting the lab’s Community-Based Participatory Research approach by focusing on stakeholder engagement, community outreach, and participant recruitment for the Dao Lab’s research efforts. During her time with the lab, Brooke will be assessing the various barriers and opportunities for fiber consumption in NH Hispanics, and is eager to work in partnership with community-based organizations towards multi-level interventions.
Megan Milligan, B.S.
Megan is a research coordinator in the Dao Lab, where she aids Dr. Dao with ongoing research projects and new study protocols. Prior to joining the Dao Lab, Megan most recently worked as a research coordinator in the Translational Research Program at Boston University, where she coordinated multiple studies investigating substance use, anxiety sensitivity, and distress tolerance. Her research interests include the etiology, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety, mood, and substance use disorders as well as their relation to health behaviors (physical activity, sleep, dietary intake) and health conditions such as obesity.
To learn more about ongoing and future research study opportunities, please submit a contact form on our Contact Us page. You may also reach the lab at 603-862-4260 or email Megan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yobanna Taylor, M.S.
Study Phone Interviewer
Yobanna is a trained medical interpreter who works in the NH community helping those who are not proficient in the English Language. She has a BS in Civil Engineering and a MS in Environmental Engineering. Her bilingual skills and the NH Hispanic population’s needs for interpreting services has given her a new professional career that she has embraced to the fullest. Before being a medical interpreter, Yobanna worked for the NH Judicial Branch where she worked directly with the public; her knowledge of two languages proved to be an especially important skill in her role as a court assistant. This job was her inspiration to become a full-time community interpreter.
Hannah Heselton, B.A.
Research Assistant and Post-Baccalaureate Student
Hannah is a post-baccalaureate student at UNH who graduated from Tufts University in 2019 with a BA in Community Health and Environmental Sciences. She comes to the Dao Lab with experience working in cross-cultural environments and education, most recently working at a boarding school in Somaliland. At the Dao Lab, she is focusing on participant recruitment and compensation and hopes to gain more knowledge and experience in community-based research before applying to medical school next year.
Julia Melius, B.S.
Accelerated Master's Student
Julia is a graduate student in the accelerated master’s program for nutritional sciences. She graduated in May of 2021 with her bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. Julia is working with the Dao lab on co-authoring a literature search, where she is researching US Hispanics’ gut microbiome and its potential role in cardiometabolic disease. In addition to her position as a research assistant, Julia works as a nutrition care assistant at the Klarman Eating Disorders Center of McLean Hospital. After graduating with her master’s in May 2022, Julia plans to complete a dietetic internship, bringing her one step closer to becoming a Registered Dietitian.
Emily Wozer, B.S., B.A.
Accelerated Master's Student
Emily is an accelerated master’s student in her graduate year studying Nutritional Sciences, and graduated May 2021 with undergraduate degrees in Dietetics and Dance. She is excited to be working with the Dao Lab co-authoring a literature review on the microbiota-gut-brain axis and its relation to obesity and cardiometabolic outcomes. In addition to research with the Dao Lab, Emily is working as an administrative assistant at Coastal Family Nutrition and dancing professionally while completing her master’s degree. She plans to apply for Dietetic Internships this spring to continue her journey in becoming a Registered Dietitian.
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Advocate for doing what is best for others, sometimes to the point of annoyance. Medical school bound student current studying undergraduate in senior year at University of New Hampshire with specifics into Medical/Veterinary sciences. Having my own practice and bettering the community I am a part of, large or small, is a large aspiration of mine.
LNA at Portsmouth Regional Hospital ICU and hopeful advocate for patients. Medicine is more than just an interest to dedicate my life to, it's a dream. Interests are that of wanting to run a marathon by the end of 2022, hike every presidential mountain in New Hampshire and pet every dog I can.