Meet Our Postdocs


Dr. Kristen Cooksey Stowers

Dr. Kristen Cooksey Stowers is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, focusing on research to address how public policy influences inequities in obesity prevalence through community food retail environments that are considered “food swamps.”


Dr. Mary Himmelstein

Dr. Mary Himmelstein is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut, working with Deputy Director Dr. Rebecca Puhl.

At the Rudd Center, Dr. Himmelstein’s research focuses on weight stigma with particular attention on the roles of self-perception, intersecting identities, and physiological consequences of stigma processes.


Dr. Maria Romo-Palafox

Dr. Maria Romo-Palafox is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut.

Dr. Romo-Palafox's current research with the Rudd Center for Food Policy and obesity will be focused on marketing and nutrition, with an emphasis on health disparities and the dietary quality of foods advertised children, and parents of children, teenagers and adults.


Dr. Todd Newman

Dr. Todd Newman is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Connecticut.  He is working with an interdisciplinary group of faculty from the Departments of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Communication, Journalism, and Educational Psychology on a NSF-supported research grant focused on developing new metrics to assess the effectiveness of science communication training programs on scientist’s communication skills, as well as conducting a separate assessment focused on analyzing the activity and effectiveness of scientists use of social media, specifically Twitter.


Dr. Virginia Hawkins

As a post-doctoral scientist Dr. Virginia Hawkins' research focuses on neuron-glial interactions involved in one of the most fundamental processes to life; breathing. Virginia Hawkins, Ph.D., working in Dr. Dan Mulkey’s lab seeks to define the genetic profiles of functionally characterized individual astrocytes from brainstem respiratory centers.


Dr. Sergey Shmakov

Dr. Sergey Shmakov is a postdoctoral fellow at the Chemistry Department at University of Connecticut. He received his PhD degree in chemistry from Institute of Chemical Sciences in 2009. He had postdoctoral appointments at University of Memphis and Saint Louis University. His research interests focus on broad range of nanomaterials and their application in selective catalysis, sensing and drug delivery systems.