Nutrition Sciences Department Welcomes New Faculty
October 1, 2013
Deeptha Sukumar, PhD, joined the faculty at the College of Nursing and Health Professions on September 1. She has a tenure track appointment that will combine both teaching and research. One of Sukumar’s areas of special expertise is in bone response to obesity and weight reduction, which was the subject of her doctoral research at Rutgers University.
“What many people do not realize,” Sukumar explained, “is that when we lose weight, we also lose bone mass.” Her doctoral research in this area explored the prevention of bone loss through dietary interventions. The studied interventions included stepping up Vitamin D, protein and calcium intake. On the other end of the spectrum, having very dense bones is not always a good thing, contrary to many of our assumptions. The other part of Sukumar’s doctoral and post doctoral research looked at the mechanisms that could contribute to increased fracture risk that accompanies high bone density in obesity. She graduated from Rutgers in 2011.
This fall, Sukumar is teaching a course at the College called Advanced Nutrition in which she will cover both macronutrients, and in the winter will cover micronutrients, with her students. In the spring, she will teach a course called Nutrition in Critical care.
The College of Nursing and Health Professions would also like to welcome Brandy-Joe Milliron, PhD, to the Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University as a new Assistant Professor.
After receiving her undergraduate degree in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado-Boulder, Milliron pursued her Master’s degree in Human Nutrition and her PhD in an interdisciplinary program that studied physical activity, wellness, and nutrition, both from Arizona State University.
Milliron has many research interests, but her main focus is on the food environment with a specific emphasis on smaller communities. She will also continue to work in garden-based experiential learning while specifically focusing on how to properly implement food-based nutrition education into curricula. Furthermore, Milliron seeks to promote health programs through community outreach such as via clinic-based health promotions and through parents, teachers, and school district representatives. She finds that community support is effective in teaching nutrition. “I really want to get the voice of the community members heard. I want to get parents, teachers, and principals involved. A lot of research has shown that nutrition education programs in schools increase healthy preferences, but if parents aren’t involved, the child is less likely to make healthy decisions,” explained Milliron.
She also recognizes the importance of experiential and active learning. Milliron is currently teaching a course about Community Nutrition to undergraduate students and will be teaching a course about World Nutrition this coming spring. “My teaching philosophy is based on experiential learning, and Drexel’s mission is aligned with that,” continued Milliron. “The faculty has been extremely supportive and friendly,” she ended.