Saroja Voruganti, Ph.D., joined the UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) in 2013 as assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition, UNC-Chapel Hill. Dr. Voruganti’s research investigates how genetic and environmental (particularly diet and nutrients) factors impact hyperuricemia, gout, kidney and cardiovascular disease, with the goal of finding new treatment options.
Dr. Voruganti earned her B.Sc. degree with honors in Foods and Nutrition at The University of Delhi, India, and a post-graduate diploma in Dietetics and Hospital Food Service. She received a Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin and did post-doctoral work in Genetic Epidemiology at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. Learn more here.
Dr. Geetha Chittoor’s main research interests are focused on genetic epidemiology of complex diseases such as obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. Since the days of her undergraduate biology program in India, she developed a special interest in health-related research. As part of her Master’s thesis, she examined the profiles of obesity and blood pressure in two endogamous populations of the Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh, India. As part of her Ph.D. program in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, she addressed similar issues, but with emphasis on genetic epidemiological investigation of blood pressure and its correlation with metabolic syndrome-related traits in children.
Her postdoctoral training at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, San Antonio, with initial two years of support provided by a Cowles Postdoctoral Fellowship provided her an opportunity to work in the field of genetic epidemiology and statistical genetics. She is conducting research on the genetic risk of CKD and CVD in minority populations, and further investigating the gene-by-environment interaction influences (e.g. diet, physical activity, socio-demographic factors, ethnicity) on CKD/CVD outcomes.
Itzel Vazquez-Vidal received her Ph.D. in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in June 2014. Her doctoral research focused on the impact of Fatty Acid Desaturase (FADS) genotypes on the relationship between serum lipids and dietary fat intake in young Mexican college students. In Voruganti’s lab her primary research work focus is investigating the gene-by-nutrient interactions on the risk of chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease in minority populations.
Baba Mass graduated from Gambia College School of Education with an AS in science and mathematics. He taught Junior Secondary School science for three years before migrating to the U.S. to pursue higher education. Baba joined the Voruganti lab as a student intern from RCCC before officially joining the team as research technician in July 2015. He enjoys playing scrabble with his beautiful wife.