Anna E Thalacker-Mercer, PhD

Assistant Professor

Division of Nutritional Sciences

Cornell University

Dr. Thalacker-Mercer received her doctorate degree through the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University where she developed a strong background in geriatric nutrition and the mechanisms underlying aging skeletal muscle. She continued her research training as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Center for Aging Translational Research Program and the Center for Exercise Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Her research program at Cornell is currently focused on understanding the mechanisms underlying skeletal muscle deterioration and the development of metabolic disease with a particular focus on the dynamics between inflammation and metabolism.

 

 

 

Courses Taught: 

NS6320 Regulation of Macronutrient Metabolism

NS3200 Human Biochemistry

NS3410 Human Anatomy and Physiology

BIOG2200--Biology Scholars Program, Faculty Mentor

NS7030--Graduate student presentation, Faculty Mentor

NS4010, BIO2990, BIO4990--Undergraduate research, Faculty Research Mentor

NS8990--Graduate Research, Faculty Mentor

 
 
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PhD Students

  Brandon Gheller, MSc, RD    PhD Candidate   Brandon obtained his BS in Applied Human Nutrition from Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he also went on to complete an MS degree in Applied Human Nutrition with a combined dietetic internship. His undergraduate and master’s theses focused on the effect of environmental and physiological factors on short-term appetite, food intake, and glycemic regulation in the obese pediatric population. His current research projects focus on identifying novel regulators of satellite cell proliferation and differentiation.

Brandon Gheller, MSc, RD

PhD Candidate

Brandon obtained his BS in Applied Human Nutrition from Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU) in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he also went on to complete an MS degree in Applied Human Nutrition with a combined dietetic internship. His undergraduate and master’s theses focused on the effect of environmental and physiological factors on short-term appetite, food intake, and glycemic regulation in the obese pediatric population. His current research projects focus on identifying novel regulators of satellite cell proliferation and differentiation.

  Jamie Blum, BSc    PhD Student   Jamie received her B.S. degree in human biology, health and society from Cornell University in 2016. She joined Anna Thalacker-Mercer’s laboratory as an undergraduate in January 2015, continued to work in Anna’s lab after college and began the Ph.D. program in molecular nutrition in January 2017. Broadly, Jamie is interested in the relationship between nutrient metabolism and metabolic and age-related disease. In the Thalacker-Mercer lab, she studies the influence of TNFα on cell proliferation, glucose and glutamine metabolism, and role of certain metabolic enzymes in controlling cell proliferation and skeletal muscle regeneration. Currently, she is studying the role of PKM2, a glycolytic enzyme, in modulating the proliferative capacity of myoblasts. Jamie’s research is supported by a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation. In the future, she is hoping to continue research as a post-doctoral fellow.

Jamie Blum, BSc

PhD Student

Jamie received her B.S. degree in human biology, health and society from Cornell University in 2016. She joined Anna Thalacker-Mercer’s laboratory as an undergraduate in January 2015, continued to work in Anna’s lab after college and began the Ph.D. program in molecular nutrition in January 2017. Broadly, Jamie is interested in the relationship between nutrient metabolism and metabolic and age-related disease. In the Thalacker-Mercer lab, she studies the influence of TNFα on cell proliferation, glucose and glutamine metabolism, and role of certain metabolic enzymes in controlling cell proliferation and skeletal muscle regeneration. Currently, she is studying the role of PKM2, a glycolytic enzyme, in modulating the proliferative capacity of myoblasts. Jamie’s research is supported by a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation. In the future, she is hoping to continue research as a post-doctoral fellow.

Masters Students

 

  Lauren Varvatos, BSc   Lauren completed her B.S. in Nutritional Sciences from Michigan State University in 2017. During her undergraduate degree, she worked with Dr. Katherine Alaimo, studying outcomes of an urban garden resource program on participants' physical and mental health. She was a part of nutrition research interventions through MSU Extension and MSU College of Nursing, and performed public health community-based research in Ghana. Lauren is currently writing a systematic review on inflammation and muscle regenerative capacity after tissue injury, working on analytical techniques to prepare for research using C2C12 cells, and applying to medical school.

Lauren Varvatos, BSc

Lauren completed her B.S. in Nutritional Sciences from Michigan State University in 2017. During her undergraduate degree, she worked with Dr. Katherine Alaimo, studying outcomes of an urban garden resource program on participants' physical and mental health. She was a part of nutrition research interventions through MSU Extension and MSU College of Nursing, and performed public health community-based research in Ghana. Lauren is currently writing a systematic review on inflammation and muscle regenerative capacity after tissue injury, working on analytical techniques to prepare for research using C2C12 cells, and applying to medical school.

Undergraduate Students

 

Janet Back, HBHS 2019

Tyler Beale, NS 2019

Caroline Brauner, NS 2019

Stephanie Casagrande, NS 2020

Aoife Casey, HBHS 2019

Jamie Chen, NS 2020

Xiaotong Chen, NS 2020

Christina Cheung, HD 2018

Lindsey Colon, Animal Science 2019

Joel Cruz, NS 2020

Kalin Ellison, HBHS 2019

Patrick Ioffreda, 2020

Chiamaka Ijebuonwu, HBHS 2020

Alex Jung

Shray Khanna, 2020

Ethan Kremer, HBHS 2019

Anthony Christian Ko, 2020

Isabel Lu, NS 2020

Philip Nicklin, Biological Sciences 2019

Zenab Ojibe, NS 2020

Steven Persaud, Biology 2021

Marko Popovic, HBHS 2020

 

 

 

 

Lucas Rockne, NS 2019

Katie Satterthwaite, HBHS 2019

Jacob Stein, HBHS 2020

McKenna Stoudemire, HBHS 2020

Lillian Talal,  NS 2020

Laura Yang, HD 2019

Seok Eun (Jennie) Yi, HBHS 2020

 

Lab Alumni

  Emily Riddle, MSc, RD    PhD Candidate   Emily completed her undergraduate degree in nutritional sciences from Penn State University in 2008. While there, she completed her honor thesis with Dr. Mary Jane De Souza in the Women’s Health and Exercise Lab at Penn State. Recognizing her dual interests in scientific research and applied dietetics work, she enrolled in the Coordinated Master’s Program in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Utah. While there she completed both the RD internship and a basic science master’s thesis. Her master’s thesis focused on adipose tissue dysfunction and epigenetic modifications in intrauterine growth restricted rats. Here at Cornell, Emily continues to pursue her interests in cellular metabolism and chronic disease. Her dissertation work focuses on characterizing heterogeneity in the expansion capacity and metabolic phenotype of human skeletal muscle progenitor cells. Adequate expansion of the progenitor cell population is essential for muscle repair and regeneration. Moving forward, Emily plans to combine her dual interests in both scientific research and dietetics throughout her career. Her current career goal is to become a faculty member within a dietetics program where she can use her training in scientific research and clinical practice guideline development to train high-quality dietitians.

Emily Riddle, MSc, RD

PhD Candidate

Emily completed her undergraduate degree in nutritional sciences from Penn State University in 2008. While there, she completed her honor thesis with Dr. Mary Jane De Souza in the Women’s Health and Exercise Lab at Penn State. Recognizing her dual interests in scientific research and applied dietetics work, she enrolled in the Coordinated Master’s Program in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Utah. While there she completed both the RD internship and a basic science master’s thesis. Her master’s thesis focused on adipose tissue dysfunction and epigenetic modifications in intrauterine growth restricted rats. Here at Cornell, Emily continues to pursue her interests in cellular metabolism and chronic disease. Her dissertation work focuses on characterizing heterogeneity in the expansion capacity and metabolic phenotype of human skeletal muscle progenitor cells. Adequate expansion of the progenitor cell population is essential for muscle repair and regeneration. Moving forward, Emily plans to combine her dual interests in both scientific research and dietetics throughout her career. Her current career goal is to become a faculty member within a dietetics program where she can use her training in scientific research and clinical practice guideline development to train high-quality dietitians.

Andrez Paz, 2017-2018

Antonio Del Vecchio, 2016-2018

Tatiana Ferraro, 2017-2018

Matthew Muller, 2017-2018

Michelle Perez, 2017-2018

Diwakar Gupta, MS, Field of Nutrition, Human Nutrition concentration, 2014-2017

Joseph Kidane, 2016-2017

Cari Stankaitis, 2016

Christopher Wint, 2017

Andrew Xu, 2016

Edward Jaffe, 2015-2016

Jamie Blum, 2015-2016

Melinda Lem, 2014-2016

Amber Parker 2014-2016

Harold Shin, 2014-2016

Kevin Lin, 2014-2015

Maaz Ahsan, 2014-2016

Hillary Holmes, 2014

Samir Touhamy II, 2013-2015

Rodger Craig, 2013-2014

Raquel Denis, 2013

Shiyi Jin, 2013

Anna Kortright, 2013

Allison Wood, 2013

Tyler Angulo, 2013

Conlan Kreher, 2013

Daniel Suh, 2013

 

Clinincal Lab Members

  Erica Bender, CNM, NP-OB/GYN    Nurse Scientist   Erica Bender is a nurse scientist in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and co-teaches Applied Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II within DNS’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Health Studies. She is the manager of the DNS Human Metabolic Research Unit, where her clinical procedures on human participants have led to her research in maternal-child nutrition and hormonal disorders in women as they relate to nutrition.  Ms. Bender is a certified nurse-midwife in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology. During her early career, she concentrated heavily on obstetrics. She has delivered approximately 900 babies and provided prenatal/postnatal care to thousands of women. In her later career, she focused on gynecology and primary care for women. She has worked in diverse environments such as private practice, indigent care, health departments, and hospital systems, as well as academia.  Ms. Bender received her MS in nursing from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, where she received two distinguished awards, Excellence in Clinical Practice and Excellence in Academic Achievement. She is a member of the American College of Nurse Midwives, a certified childbirth educator, and a National Healthcare educator.

Erica Bender, CNM, NP-OB/GYN

Nurse Scientist

Erica Bender is a nurse scientist in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and co-teaches Applied Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II within DNS’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Health Studies. She is the manager of the DNS Human Metabolic Research Unit, where her clinical procedures on human participants have led to her research in maternal-child nutrition and hormonal disorders in women as they relate to nutrition.

Ms. Bender is a certified nurse-midwife in the specialty of obstetrics and gynecology. During her early career, she concentrated heavily on obstetrics. She has delivered approximately 900 babies and provided prenatal/postnatal care to thousands of women. In her later career, she focused on gynecology and primary care for women. She has worked in diverse environments such as private practice, indigent care, health departments, and hospital systems, as well as academia.

Ms. Bender received her MS in nursing from SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, where she received two distinguished awards, Excellence in Clinical Practice and Excellence in Academic Achievement. She is a member of the American College of Nurse Midwives, a certified childbirth educator, and a National Healthcare educator.

  Molly Gheller, MS, RD    Project Coordinator   Molly obtained her BSc in Human Nutrition from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. During her last year of the program she completed her integrated dietetic internship and became a Registered Dietitian in 2011. She then went on the complete her MSc in Applied Human Nutrition from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her master thesis project focused on glycemic regulation of dairy and non-dairy snacks in children. Molly has worked as a dietitian in various settings such as long-term care, private practice, and as a nutrition educator for the WIC program.

Molly Gheller, MS, RD

Project Coordinator

Molly obtained her BSc in Human Nutrition from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. During her last year of the program she completed her integrated dietetic internship and became a Registered Dietitian in 2011. She then went on the complete her MSc in Applied Human Nutrition from Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her master thesis project focused on glycemic regulation of dairy and non-dairy snacks in children. Molly has worked as a dietitian in various settings such as long-term care, private practice, and as a nutrition educator for the WIC program.