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Biobehavioral Health
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Lindsay Fernández-Rhodes, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Mailing Address: 108 Biobehavioral Health Building
The Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: 1 (814) 863-0185


Education & Training:
  • 2022 Social Science Research Institute Faculty Fellow, Pennsylvania State University
  • 2019-present Adjunct Assistant Professor, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2016-2018 Post-doctoral Scholar, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2009-2016 PhD in Epidemiology and Global Health Graduate Certificate, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2009-2011 MSPH in Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2007-2009 Post-baccalaureate Fellow, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
  • 2003-2007 BS in Biology, College of Arts & Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Courses Taught:


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Margarita (Maggie) Hernandez

Maggie ( is a Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology program at Penn State. Her research interests include understanding how genomics, migration history, and sociocultural factors as associated with adverse health outcomes. For her dissertation, she will be working with Cuban immigrants and Cuban-Americans living in Miami, Florida with a specific focus on differences in disease outcomes among Cuban migration waves. Maggie is also passionate about education, teaching, and scientific outreach/engagement. 

Photo of Brooke Mattern

Brooke Mattern

Brooke ( is a graduate student in BBH. Within the Epi-GaPS lab, Brooke is interested in the study of psychosocial stressors, obesity and maternal-child health.

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Hridya Rao

Hridya ( is an international student at PSU who did her engineering in Biotechnology from VIT, India and completed her masters in Bioethics at Wake Forest University, NC. As a dual-title Biobehavioral and Clinical and Translational Science doctoral candidate, she is combining her knowledge of genetics and epidemiology to study reproductive diseases (e.g. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and to advance precision medicine initiatives. During academic year 2021-2022, she was a Translational Research (TL1) scholar with the PSU Clinical and Translational Science Institute. 

Portrait of Yao Tu

Yao Tu

Yao ( is a PhD student in the MICBS program. She got her bachelor's degree in Biotechnology at SUSTech, China. With a background in Biology, she is now studying the genetic loci of CVD diseases in Hispanic/Latino populations

portrait of faizah alshehri

Faizah A. Alshehri

Faizah ( has developed a passion for Epigenetics in population research and Bioethics. She is the Co-Founder and a board member of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at her previous institution. Faizah is passionate about academia, education, volunteerism, and scientific research.

portrait of hannah montminy against brick wall

Hannah Montminy

Hannah ( is an undergraduate and is majoring in Biobehavioral Health, with minors in biology and global health. As a member of Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College, she will be working with Dr. Fernandez-Rhodes to write her honors thesis on the association between maternal stressors and childhood obesity, particularly among Hispanics and Latinos living in the U.S. After undergraduate school she plans to apply to Physician’s Assistant programs. 

Past Trainees

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Hassan Bokhari

Hassan Bokhari graduated in the spring of 2022 after majoring in Immunology and Infectious Disease and minoring in Biology. Within the Epi-GaPS lab, Hassan is interested in how unique life stressors serve to exacerbate health disparities, particularly within Hispanic/Latinos. Hassan hopes to become a physician with the intent on applying this knowledge towards preventative, targeted care in populations facing health disparities.

Emily Knell

Emily Knell

Emily graduated in August 2019 as a Biobehavioral Health Honors Student. Her thesis was on the environmental, social, genetic, and behavioral factors leading to the Hispanic-Latina birth paradox. This project helped her to realize an interest at taking a holistic view of health-related topics, which will help her in reaching her goal to become a pediatric occupational therapist.

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Cristin McArdle

Cristin McArdle was a postdoctoral scholar with Epi-GaPS from 2020-2022. During this time she conducted bio-socially integrated studies of maternal and child health, with a particular focus on Hispanic/Latino parents and children. She is leaving to join the 2022 class of the Epidemic Intelligence Service and work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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Julia Mewha

Julia graduated in the spring of 2022 with a Biobehavioral Health (BBH) major and double-minor in Psychology and Bioethics and Medical Humanities (BMH). She was an Undergraduate Teaching Intern (UGTI) for BBH 310 - Research Strategies for Studying Biobehavioral Health in the fall of 2021. Within Epi-GaPS she has had opportunities to lead journal article clubs and present her own coursework-related research. Julia hopes to pursue a career in genetic counseling. Her best advice for incoming undergraduates is to apply for research early or become an undergraduate teaching intern (UGTI).