Teresia O'Connor Lab

O’Connor Lab Members

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Teresia O’Connor, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP - Primary Investigator

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I received my B.S. in molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and my M.D. from the University of Wisconsin Medical School. I joined Baylor College of Medicine for the first time as a pediatric intern in 1999 and completed a pediatric residency. After a brief stent as a Texas Children's pediatrician, I returned to Baylor and completed a fellowship in Academic General Pediatrics and obtained a MPH from the UT School of Public Health. I joined the faculty at the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center in 2007 and am currently an associate professor of pediatrics. I have the privilege of working with a great group of colleagues in the CNRC focusing on obesity prevention and behavioral research, while spending 20 percent of my time in Academic General Pediatrics where I continue to see patients and teach in the Texas Children's Hospital Resident Continuity Clinic. Outside of work, I love cooking, traveling, gardening, hiking, exercising, all while spending time with family. I am passionate about promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors for families and understanding how that can be achieved for all families within a culturally-centered lens.

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Alicia Beltran, M.S., IFNCP - Project Manager

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Alicia Beltran
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I completed my undergraduate studies in Nutrition and Food Science at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. After that, I pursued my Master’s of Science degree at the Gerald J and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy at Tufts University. There, I specialized in food policy and applied nutrition with a focus in nutrition intervention programs and nutrition communication. In 2006, after working in research at the National School of Public Health in Mexico and being head of the Mexican five-day campaign, I joined the Children’s Nutrition Research Center as a research coordinator. Since then, I have coordinated multiple studies focusing on behavioral research for childhood obesity prevention under the guidance of Dr. Tom Baranowski and currently with Dr. Teresia O’Connor. I’m currently a certified Functional Nutrition practitioner from the Integrative and Functional Nutrition Academy. On my free time I enjoy barre and spin classes and play tennis.

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Oriana Perez, M.S., MCHES - Research Coordinator

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I have been working in Dr. O’Connor’s lab since 2017. I am originally from Aguascalientes, Mexico and grew up in the Ciudad Juarez-El Paso, Texas border. I have a B.A. in anthropology and a M.S. degree in public health promotion from the University of Texas at El Paso. I have worked in different areas of public health including mental health and smoking prevention research, as well as cultural adaptation of health promotion programs. I have also worked as a health educator helping patients manage their chronic conditions. I love working in Dr. O’Connor’s lab because the members are a great team of people who work hard and get along great with each other. In my personal life I love spending time with my husband, daughter and cat. I love learning about world history and gardening in my free time.

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Adriana Flores, B.S. - Research Coordinator

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Adriana Flores
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I joined the O’Connor Lab in the summer of 2018. I am a native Texan and was raised in the Rio Grande Valley, near South Padre Island and the border of Mexico. I have a B.S. in exercise science and worked in public health promoting healthy lifestyles programs for children, as well as leading summer camp programs. My main role is the lead facilitator for multiple projects across the CNRC like Papas Saludables, Ninos Saludables and Fit5Kids. My favorite part of working at the O’Connor lab is working with such an enthusiastic and proficient team. Outside of the lab, I enjoy working out, spending time outdoors, traveling and spending time with my family.

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Tatyana Garza, B.S. - Research Coordinator

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I am a University of Houston graduate with a B.S. in psychology. I joined the Children's Nutrition Research Center in October of 2020. My role includes recruiting/screening research participants, conducting enrollment appointments remotely and face-to-face for data collection, and coding/labeling video data. My favorite thing about this lab is being a part of a healthy work environment and in a supportive team. Outside of the lab, I enjoy reading novels, exercising, and trying new restaurants in Houston.

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Sandra M. Lopez - Research Coordinator

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Sandra M. Lopez
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I have been doing research at the Children's Nutrition Research Center since 1999. I was born in the suburbs of Houston and over the past 30 plus years have raised a family of five here. It is a privilege to work with Dr. O'Connor's Lab on various projects, the work is challenging and innovative. The best part is that the projects target the specific demographic that I have gained vast experience with throughout my career. My expertise is recruitment and public relations which is how I fit into Fit 5 Kids team and the FLASH study team. I do my best to practice health and well-being, when not working on our projects I enjoy kickboxing, swimming, traveling, and reading. 

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Anil Vadathya, M.S. - Rice University Electrical Engineer

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Anil Vadathya
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I am the oddball in Dr. O'Connor's lab. I work as a research engineer at Computational Imaging Lab at Rice University. I collaborate with Dr. O'Connor's team on the FLASH project where I help with the development and validation of objective methods for measuring screen-time among children. In particular, I develop computer vision techniques for screen-time measurement using state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms for FLASH-TV and FLASH-mobile. Prior to joining Rice, I obtained my M.S. in electrical engineering from IIT Madras, Chennai, India. And outside the lab, I enjoy spending time with friends, cooking along with my wife, and playing table tennis!

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Amy Goetz, Ph.D. - Past Postdoctoral Associate

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I received my B.S. in psychology from Florida State University and my Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I completed my pre-doctoral clinical psychology internship at Texas Children’s Hospital/Baylor College of Medicine, followed by post-doctoral fellowships at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center. During my time at the CNRC, I worked with Dr. Moreno and Dr. O’Connor on projects related to infant and early childhood sleep as a novel predictor of risk for later childhood obesity. Currently, I am an assistant professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine. I have a passion for helping children, adolescents, and their families improve their day-to-day functioning and overall quality of life, and have a special interest in improving access to behavioral health services. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, painting, and going on long walks with my dog Rosie.

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Olivia Hindera - Intern Student

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Olivia Hindera
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I am a medical student at Baylor College of Medicine helping with the FLASH study! I joined the team in February, 2020 and have absolutely loved being surrounded by supportive, cool, and funny people; the team is definitely my favorite part about the CNRC. Outside of this project, I enjoy baking, reading, and completing jigsaw puzzles!

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Alumni Lab Members

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Past Staff

  • Saira Sarwar (Graduate student at University of Nebraska)
  • Edgar Galdamez Calderon (DO student at Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine)
  • Isabel Colon (Medical student at Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine)
     

Student Interns

  • Anu Singh- Undergraduate Student (Rice University)
  • Rosemary Pfaff- MD/MPH Student (BCM/UT-SPH)
  • Tasia Isbell- MD/MPH Student (UT/UT-SPH)
  • Alexa Mason- MD Student (BCM)
  • Tracey Dibbs - Undergraduate Student (Rice University)