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College of Human Sciences

Optimizing Human Performance

Current Doctoral Students


Paul Baker

Nutrition and Food Science

Paul’s Vita

  • Physiological & metabolic adaptations to nutritional and/or exercise interventions in humans
  • High altitude

Paul is a doctoral student in the nutrition and food sciences Ph.D. program working under Dr. Berryman. Paul graduated with his B.S. in Exercise Science and M.S. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Kentucky. During his Master’s, Paul obtained plenty of teaching and research experience working under excellent faculty.  The experience encouraged him to purse a Ph.D. and make an impactful difference going forward. Paul’s long-term career goal is to work as an assistant professor, teaching and performing research.

In my spare time I enjoy hiking, rock climbing, traveling, weight lifting, paddle boarding, and long walks on the beach.

Ann Centner

Nutrition and Food Science

Anne’s Vita

  • Molecular aging of the vascular system (the main cause of cardiovascular disease)
  • How nutrition can be used to prevent/cure disease states

Ann received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s from the University of Georgia in Consumer Foods and Food Technology, respectively. Her Master’s degree was completed online while working full-time as a Family & Consumer Sciences Cooperative Extension Agent in Southwest Georgia. Her capstone was on “The Rise of Gluten-Free.” She aspires towards a career in academia, teaching students and researching, making an impact on people and the world around her.

During her undergraduate career in Athens she was a taste tester in an almond shelf-life acceptability study and ran cross country and track. In her free time, she enjoys distance running, going to the gym, and cooking.

Holly Clarke

Exercise Physiology

Holly’s Vita

  • Hydration
  • Thermoregulation
  • Relationship between hydration / metabolism

Holly is a doctoral student within the Human Sciences department, studying within the field of Exercise Physiology. Prior to attending FSU, Holly received both her Undergraduate and Master’s degree in Kinesiology from Auburn University at Montgomery as an international student. Some of her research interests include hydration and thermoregulation, with a specific interest in the relationship between hydration and metabolism in varying populations.  Holly aspires to stay within the field of academia, looking to both teach and conduct research within a university setting.

Holly was born and raised in Norwich, a city located in England. She came to America as a student athlete, playing soccer for her previous institution during her Undergraduate and consequently coaching whilst completing her Master’s degree. She loves to watch all sporting events and is still an avid fan of her alma mater. In her spare time, Holly enjoys catching up with friends, family, traveling and reading academic journals.

Abigail Cullen

Exercise Physiology

Abigail’s Vita

  • Effects of radiation on the cardiovascular system (specifically vascular smooth muscle cells)
  • Role of antioxidants in preventative measurements to attenuate damage caused by ROS
  • Role of adiponectin in vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation/migration in the development of atherosclerosis

Growing up near the Kennedy Space Center created a love for space exploration. I hope to join the team at NASA studying the effects of zero gravity and radiation exposure on the cardiovascular system in order to help make the trip to Mars a reality. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Florida State University in 2016. During my undergrad career I gained research experience working at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, the College of Human Sciences, and the College of Medicine. In graduate school, I have worked on a NASA study measuring the effect of zero gravity on the carotid and jugular veins, and I am now looking into the role of adiponectin in vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and differentiation in association with atherosclerosis.

I am an avid reader and love to hike.

Elizabeth Foley

Nutrition and Food Science

Elizabeth’s Vita

Elizabeth Foley
  • Gut Microbiome
  • Aging
  • Functional Foods
  • Cognition and concussions

Elizabeth Foley is a third-year doctoral student at Florida State University. She graduated with an undergraduate degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Miami in 2014. She then went on to earn her master’s degree in Exercise Physiology Nutrition for Health and Human Performance in 2015. Elizabeth hopes to use her knowledge to educate the public about proper nutrition, make important research discoveries, and ultimately change the way food is viewed in the United States; she also hopes to teach at the university level. In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys reading, writing, and training Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Her research interests include the gut microbiome, cognition, aging, obesity, functional foods, and nutraceuticals. Favorite nutrition fact: Prunes reverse osteoporosis.

Elizabeth has a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has been to 43 states.

Shiloah Fuller

Exercise Physiology

Shiloah’s Vita

  • Metabolism
  • Body composition
  • Human performance in military and endurance Athletes
  • Environmental and stress physiology
  • Sympathetic nervous system response to exercise and stress
  • Sports nutrition and supplementation

Shiloah is a doctoral student in the exercise physiology Ph.D. program working under Dr. Ormsbee at the Institute of Sport Sciences at Florida State University. Shiloah received her baccalaureate in kinesiology, as well as her masters in exercise physiology and nutrition, and completed her dietetics program at San Diego State University.  After graduate school, Shiloah went on to work for the U.S. Navy as a research physiologist and nutritionist in a biobehavioral sciences lab, focusing on human performance and War Fighter readiness. She also worked as a research coordinator on a large-scale study examining blast exposure and it physiological and psychological detriments in U.S. Navy SEALS. Her interests are body composition and performance, specifically in endurance sports and environmental extremes.

Shiloah enjoys spending time doing yoga, running, surfing, riding hunter jumper, cycling and weight training, and cooking.

Kelli George

Nutrition and Food Science

Kelli’s Vita

  • Functional foods
  • Chronic diseases

Kelli is a doctoral student in nutrition and food sciences.  She grew up outside of Richmond, Virginia and graduated with a B.S. in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2014.  After graduating she completed her dietetic internship at Virginia Commonwealth University Health Systems to become a Registered Dietitian.  Kelli is pursuing a career as a professor and looks forward to teaching new generations of students and researching the role of functional foods in preventing and reversing chronic diseases.

Kelli enjoys spending time outdoors, trips to visit friends and family back home, and playing with her cute little puppy Romeo.

Jacob Goldsmith

Exercise Physiology

Jacob’s Vita

My research interests include the molecular mechanisms underlying arterial contractility and myogenic tone in various disease states (e.g. Traumatic brain injury, hypertension, etc.).

Specifically, I am interested in:

  • Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) contribution to arterial contractility
  • Stretch- and pressure-activated ion channels (TRP)
  • Rapid, non-genomic action of sex steroids (Estradiol, progesterone)
  • Membrane-bound sex steroid receptors and associated signaling cascades
  • Potential therapeutic targets in Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Exercise as therapy in vascular diseases

Jacob is a third-year doctoral student in Exercise Physiology. He graduated from the University of Missouri Science & Technology (MS&T) with his B.S. in Psychology, and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) with his M.S. in Exercise Physiology. During his Master’s, Jacob conducted human performance research in the Skeletal Muscle Physiology Lab, and also taught several sections of undergraduate Exercise Testing Labs. Jacob has transitioned from human research into basic science and mechanistic animal research. He plans to attain postdoctoral research position after completing his Ph.D. in order to gain further specified training and autonomy. Jacob plans to pursue a career as an assistant professor at a research-intensive university.

Jacob enjoys watching films, listening to folk and hip hop, traveling, hiking, climbing mountains, and doing science.

Sahil Gupta

Nutrition and Food Science

Ahmed Ismaeel

Exercise Physiology

Ahmed’s Vita

  • Cytokine interactions in atherosclerosis
  • Oxidative stress signaling mechanisms and the effects of different antioxidant treatments
  • Regulation and dysregulation of skeletal muscle fibrosis and skeletal muscle atrophy

I am currently a doctoral student in the Clinical Skeletal Muscle Physiology and Biochemistry Laboratory working under Dr. Koutakis. I received my bachelor’s degree in biology from Texas A&M in 2015. During my undergraduate years, I had a wide range of research experience, from working with mice in a pathology lab in a medical school to working with fruit flies in a genetics lab. I went on to receive my master’s in nutrition science from Baylor University. My long-term career goal is to serve as a research scientist pursuing clinical and translational research.

I am an Egyptian American, my hobbies include lifting weights, cooking/eating, and watching Premier League Soccer.

Xingyi Jiang

Nutrition and Food Science

  • Food safety and quality
  • Protein immunochemistry
  • Food biotechnology

Xingyi is a doctoral student in Nutrition and Food Science under the supervision of Dr. Rao. She graduated from Nanjing Agricultural University in 2015 and earned her Master’s degree in food science in 2017 from Florida State University. In her master’s project, Xingyi developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the detection of trace amount of porcine hemoglobin in meats. This assay will be able to fight food fraud and improve food quality. Xingyi’s career goal is to become a faculty at a research university.

She likes watching movies and traveling. She also likes the animals and has a fish.

Alex Klemp

Exercise Physiology

Alex’s Vita

  • Resistance training program design
  • Autoregulation of resistance exercise variables
  • Nutritional strategies to augment muscular growth and strength

Alex Klemp earned his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science from Florida State University and completed his Master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion at Florida Atlantic University. Alex is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Exercise Physiology under the mentorship of Dr. Jeong-Su Kim. His primary research interests include resistance training program design, autoregulation of exercise variables, and nutritional strategies to augment muscular growth and strength.

Jake Martenson

Exercise Physiology

Jake’s Vita

  • Physiological responses to strength training and aerobic exercise
  • Strength training and aerobic exercise’s impact on cardiovascular health
  • Exercise interventions for special populations
  • Physiological implications of physical, mental, and environmental stressors

Matthew “Jake” Martenson is a 2nd-year doctoral student in Exercise Physiology.  After earning his BS in Biology at Mercer University, he went on to complete his MPH at Mercer University and his MS in Applied Physiology and Kinesiology at the University of Florida.  Jake ultimately desires to obtain a faculty position at a research university or work for the Navy as a Research Physiologist.  With a background in public health, he possesses a broad interest in exercise physiology and it’s relevance to human health and performance.

Jake has a lifelong love of wildlife- especially reptiles and marine animals.  He volunteered at a reptile sanctuary for 4 years in Tampa, FL and worked hands-on with alligators, crocodiles, snakes, and large species of lizards.  Two years ago he traveled to a remote location in Mexico to swim with wild crocodiles.  He also loves snorkeling and scuba diving.

Cesar Meza

Exercise Physiology

Cesar’s Vita

  • Metabolic and cardiovascular pathophysiology of obesity and insulin resistance
  • Exercise as a therapeutic approach to mitigate cardiometabolic disease

Cesar is a doctoral student in the Exercise Physiology program working under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Hickner. Cesar earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Kinesiology at The University of Texas at El Paso, where he conducted clinical and biochemistry techniques to investigate the effects of exercise and diet interventions on peripheral insulin sensitivity and skeletal muscle metabolism. After completion of his Ph.D., Cesar plans to pursue post-doctoral training and a research career in academia to study the role of exercise on energy metabolism and insulin resistance.

Joseph Munoz

Nutrition and Food Science

Joseph’s Vita

  • Studying the role of whole foods, as well as specific components of food, in their ability to prevent, or cure diseased states and promote health.

Enjoys lifting weights, cooking, playing basketball, and spending time with his dog outside of school.

Hyerim Park

Exercise Physiology

Hyerim’s Vita

  • Microvascular control mechanisms
  • Vascular function with aging, microgravity and type II diabetes
  • Cardiovascular adaptations to exercise training

Hyerim is a third year doctoral student in Exercise Physiology. Hyerim received her B.S. and M.S. degree in Exercise and Sport Science from Ewha Womans University in South Korea. During her master’s program, she worked in an exercise physiology laboratory and carried out research into exercise-induced physiological responses based on cellular and molecular mechanisms. She is currently interested in studying the effect of exercise and aging on microvascular control mechanisms and the vascular adaptation with microgravity as well as type II diabetes. Her ultimate goal for pursuing a Ph.D. is to develop into a professional and independent researcher specializing in this area of study. After completing the doctoral program, she hopes to continue conducting creative and novel research in the field of science.

In her spare time, Hyerim has passions for traveling and watching movies. When she stays in her home town, she enjoys spending time with her family.

Tristan Ragland

Exercise Physiology

  • Hormonal, metabolic, and body composition changes during dieting, exercise, and nutritional/supplemental interventions (particularly in regards to weight-loss, weight-maintenance and weight-regain)

Originally from Utah. Received my B.S. from Weber State University (Ogden, UT Grad. 2012) in Human Performance Management with an emphasis in Wellness.  My M.S. from Marywood University (Scranton, PA Grad. 2015) in Sports Nutrition and Exercise Science. Currently pursuing my PhD in Exercise Physiology here at Florida State University and I am expecting to graduate in the Spring of 2020.  I have worked in the fitness industry as a personal trainer for several years and really enjoy the application of my learning.  I enjoy trying to apply new research I read.

I’m an avid snowboarder – nothing better to do on a cold snowy day.  Enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter.  I have a desire to really get into wakeboarding – seems like the next best thing to snowboarding I can do in Florida.

Mike Rossetti

Exercise Physiology

Mike’s Vita

  • The androgen-mediated regulation of skeletal muscle mass
  • Mitochondrial function and regulation in skeletal muscle
  • Autophagy

Mike is a doctoral student pursuing a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology studying under the guidance of Dr. Bradley Gordon.  Mike’s area of research focuses on the regulation of skeletal muscle mass and function in both diseased and non-diseased conditions.  Prior to attending Florida State University, Mike spent the first year of his Ph.D. studies with Dr. Gordon at the University of Central Florida.  He received a M.S. in Exercise Science from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (2014), and a B.S. in Exercise Science from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania (2011).  Mike previously worked as an instructor at East Stroudsburg University, teaching both exercise physiology and strength and conditioning courses in the Exercise Science department.

During his undergraduate studies, Mike was a 4-year varsity athlete for the Bloomsburg University baseball team.  After obtaining his undergraduate degree, Mike spent two years coaching college baseball in Pennsylvania.  He has also spent time in the strength and conditioning field as a volunteer intern at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Olympic sports) and University of Tennessee (football).

Patrick Saracino

Exercise Physiology

Patrick’s Vita

  • Nutritional and training interventions on human performance, metabolism, and body composition
  • Warfighter nutrition and performance

Patrick Saracino is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Exercise Physiology under the supervision of Dr. Michael Ormsbee at the Institute of Sports Sciences and Medicine. Prior to attending FSU, he received his undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2016. Patrick is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® through the NSCA. His primary research interests include nutritional and training interventions on human performance, metabolism, and body composition in military, athletic, and aging populations.

Chris Schattinger

Exercise Physiology

Chris’ Vita

  • Effects of Strength Training and Protein Supplementation on Special Populations
  • Effects of Pre-Sleep Protein Consumption on Special Populations
  • Effects of Diet, Exercise and Supplementation on Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy and Weight Loss
  • Effects of Diet, Exercise and Supplementation on the Reduction of LDL Cholesterol

Chris received his B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of South Carolina in May 2015. While there, he completed undergraduate research under the guidance of Dr. Ray Thompson investigating the effect of cadence on respiratory measures during incremental cycle ergometry to max. Chris earned his M.S. from Florida State University in August 2017. Under the guidance of Dr. Lynn Panton, he investigated the effects of pre-sleep protein consumption on morning measures of appetite and metabolism in sedentary pre- and postmenopausal women. Chris continues to work under Dr. Panton and hopes to complete his dissertation on the effects of strength training and protein supplementation in special populations.

In my spare time I enjoy strength training, reading, attending music festivals, and hiking. I’m really good at giving people nicknames.

Oluwatoyin Sangokunle

Nutrition and Food Science

Oluwatoyin’s Vita

  • Food Chemistry
  • Food Biotechnology
  • Food Processing and Preservationd
  • Functional Food Products
  • Protein Purification and Biochemical Characterization
  • Protein Structure and Determination

Oluwatoyin Olaoluwa Sangokunle, is currently a doctoral student at Florida State University. His professional degree began when he moved to United States during his senior year as an undergraduate majored in Food Science and Technology from Nigeria. He completed his Master’s degree at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. At Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, he was able to work as an independent researcher in carrying out a feasibility study on the production of dietary antioxidant by in-vitro cell culture of American Native grapes with the aim of providing a sustainable resources for Food, Pharmaceutical and Nutraceutical Industries.

In May 2017, he got married during his short trip back to Nigeria and gained admission to his doctoral program at the department of Nutrition and Food Sciences. His research interest is in Food Chemistry and Biochemical Characterization of major Tropical Beans with the aim of contributing to the wealth of knowledge already in existence in the area of leguminous protein.

‘Wealth’ popularly called by friends and family, has passion for writing and teaching. He has published his first self-help book, “Youth Desire.” His friends know him to be a motivator, an encourager and a teacher. He has mentored young men and women in Christian ideas and ways to fulfilling their purpose early in life. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, reading Christian literature and hanging out with his wife.

Chester Sokolowski

Exercise Physiology

Chester’s Vita

  • Resistance Training
  • Body Composition
  • Nutrient Timing
  • Disease Prevention
  • Metabolism
  • Sports Nutrition and Supplementation

Chester is currently pursing his doctoral degree in exercise physiology under the direction of Dr. Jeong-Su Kim. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degree from The University of Georgia in exercise science and exercise physiology respectively. Chester began his research career as an undergraduate where he investigated sex differences in muscle recovery post injury. During his masters he explored the association animal and plant protein intake have with muscle quality as well conducted work on bone health in late adolescents. His research interests are derived from his lifestyle choices as a bodybuilder and his love for his mother as he is interested in how resistance training and nutrition can alter body composition, metabolism, and attenuate disease risk, particularly in older female adults.

Chester is an avid fan of HTGV, cooking, and eating. He considers himself a “foodie” and loves exploring new restaurants. When Chester is not eating he is either studying, performing research related activities, or in the gym picking things up and putting them down.

Brandon Willingham

Exercise Physiology

  • The effects of nutritional interventions as it relates to human performance and body composition

I am currently pursuing a doctorate in Exercise Physiology (Spring 2020) and working at the Institute of Sports Sciences and Medicine (ISSM) Lab.  Prior to attending FSU, I received an undergraduate degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Florida (2012) and an MS in Nutrition from Auburn University (2014).  While attending Auburn University I completed my dietetic internship and became a Registered Dietitian.

I enjoy playing competitive beach volleyball and have beaten the world record for one-hand clapping. I once went fencing with the Scottish Olympic Fencing Coach. I’ve also been snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, hot air ballooning over Scotland, and to South Africa as part of a study abroad trip and have a selfie with a zebra.

Phillip Worts

Exercise Physiology

Phillip’s Vita

  • Sport-related concussion
  • Injury-induced muscle atrophy
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Evidence-based practice

Phillip Worts is currently studying Exercise Physiology as a doctoral candidate at Florida State University under the supervision of Dr. Jeong-Su Kim.  Phillip received his Bachelor’s degree in Health Science with an emphasis in Athletic Training from the University of Central Florida in 2009.  He also completed his Master’s degree in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Central Florida in 2012.  Phillip is a certified athletic trainer and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist®.  He plans to utilize his training to collaborate with sports medicine practitioners while examining various therapies to improve patient outcomes.

Phillip enjoys exploring the outdoors and going on adventures with his daughter, Dylan and his wife, Christina. He also won a collegiate football bowl game as a player at Fullerton College and as a graduate assistant athletic trainer at the University of Central Florida.

Ming-Chia Yeh

Exercise Physiology

Valerie Zaffran

Nutrition and Food Science

Valerie’s Vita

  • Food allergies
  • Protein immunochemistry
  • Protein purification

Valerie earned her Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in 2014 with a double major in food science and chemical science. She continued her education at FSU and obtained a Master’s degree in food science in 2016 studying the effects of thermal processing on the structure of the major almond allergen as a member of Dr. Sathe’s lab. Valerie continues to work with Dr. Sathe, now as a doctoral student, where she plans to purify several major allergenic proteins from various tree nuts and compare them in terms of their structure and immunoreactivity. She was the 2016-17 president of the CHS Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) in which she served as an advocate for the graduate students of the college. Valerie is in her second year of the PhD program and plans to graduate in summer 2020.

Valerie has been a tap dancer for 13 years and is currently a member of FSU’s Seminole Tap Troupe. You can find her performing at various events around campus and within the Tallahassee community.