Melissa Nelson Laska, PhD

Dr. Melissa Nelson Laska is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health. Dr. Laska is a nutritionist and behavioral epidemiologist whose primary research interests are in the environmental, social and behavioral determinants of obesity among adolescents and young adults. In addition, she conducts research on access to healthy foods in underserved communities. Dr. Laska has authored nearly 75 publications to date, and her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Minnesota Medical Foundation, and others. She also serves as a national Research Adviser for Healthy Eating Research, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She received a B.S. with Honors in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in Nutrition with a concentration in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has also trained at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Laska has been a member of The Obesity Society since 2002 and is now a TOS Fellow. She served as Chair of the Young Investigator Forum from 2007-2009 and Chair of the Early-Career Investigator Committee from 2009-2011. Under her leadership, TOS and the Early-Career Investigator Committee successfully launched the society-wide Early-Career Investigator Grant Review Program, through which established investigators volunteer their time to review the Specific Aims sections of grant proposals that have been prepared by pre-doctoral students, post-doctoral fellows and junior scientists.  Dr. Laska also served as the TOS Midwest Regional Newsletter Coordinator from 2006-2008 and an abstract reviewer and symposia chair for the Annual Scientific Meeting since 2006


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