- Research Program Mentor
PhD candidate at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State)
Evolution, biology, medicine, anthropology, growth & development, public health, epidemiology
BioHi, I'm Makenna and I am a PhD candidate at the Pennsylvania State University in the Anthropology department! My research spans across biology and health. Previously, I did work examining childhood skeletal growth patterns and how we can use bones to forensically identify remains (think the TV show Bones!). I briefly worked on brain and skull development in genetic diseases, where I combined laboratory work with mouse models with coding and engineering to understand how the brain and skull develops over time. Now, I am focused on public health and epidemiology, where I use evolutionary medicine approaches to understand how diet contributes to gastrointestinal disorders. I am pursuing a PhD and an MPH. When I'm not busy at school, I love to cook, bake, and eat! The science and anthropology of food excites me just as much as making it. I also am an avid writer, and love to be creative with blogging, marketing, and photography on social platforms. Mentoring has always been incredibly important to me, because I know I never would be in my program without mentors myself. I love helping people reach opportunities that they may not even know about!
How Rad Is The Fad? Investigating Popular Diets
This project will look at Fad Diets and evaluate their health benefits, history, and longterm effects. We will approach this topic from an anthropological perspective, looking at food ways around the world and our evolutionary history, to see if humans are really even meant to eat this way! We will supplement this with statistical and nutrition work. With a meta-analysis, we will review scientific literature to see if clinical trials find this to be a beneficial diet for your health, and look at the nutrition of the diet plan. This can be done on anything from Keto to the Mediterranean Diet (both have fascinating evolutionary histories and health trends).