Postdoctoral Research Associates

Shahnjayla Connors, PhD, MPH, CPH
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
connorss@wudosis.wustl.edu
(314) 747-0483

EDUCATION
CPH, National Board of Public Health Examiners, 2010
MPH, University of South Florida, 2010
PhD, University of Florida, 2008

RESEARCH

Dr. Connors is a molecular biologist with public health training focused on social determinants of health and health disparities. She is interested in eliminating health disparities with transdisciplinary methods, and her current research focuses on the relationships between psychosocial and biological factors that contribute to cancer and cancer disparities. Her doctoral work focused on the transcriptional regulation of the anti-apoptotic protein, Bcl-xL, in breast epithelial cells treated with cigarette smoke condensate. This research identified a novel regulator of Bcl-xL and provided insight into the role smoking has on the transformation of breast epithelial cells. Dr. Connors has also conducted research on the prevention of prostate cancer with green tea and cancer chemoprevention clinical trials.  


Grant W. Farmer, PhD, MPH, MA

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
farmerg@wustl.edu
(314) 747-4474

EDUCATION
PhD, Saint Louis University, 2013
MA, University of Connecticut, 2010
MPH, Saint Louis University, 2008

RESEARCH

Dr. Farmer is an epidemiologist with training in social psychology. His research interests center on the identification and understanding of disparities in cancer and chronic disease among minority and underserved populations. He is particularly interested in disparities among sexual minorities (i.e., persons who do not identify as heterosexual and/or who engage in same-sex sexual behavior), as this population has been traditionally ignored in chronic disease research. His doctoral work focused on examining variation in cardiovascular disease risk by sexual minority status and the role of tobacco use in explaining increased cardiovascular disease risk in this population.



Jean Hunleth, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
hunlethj@wudosis.wustl.edu
(314) 747-6042

EDUCATION
PhD, Northwestern University, 2011
MPH, Northwestern University, 2011

RESEARCH
Dr. Hunleth is interested in addressing health inequities in the St. Louis region and globally through community-engaged and contextually rich research. Her current work draws on community-based participatory research techniques to understand the experience of cancer screening and treatment among low-income residents of St. Louis. Her approach is informed by more than ten years of work on health-related interventions and anthropological research projects in Zambia. Dr. Hunleth’s research in Zambia includes an 18-month ethnographic and participatory research project with children, in which she examined children’s roles in caring for adults who suffered from TB and HIV. This research underscored for her the importance of listening to children’s experiences and perspectives and also examining the contexts of therapeutic decision-making. As both a practitioner and researcher, Dr. Hunleth has been dedicated to translating local knowledge into programmatic and policy changes to reduce barriers to diagnosis and care.


Jung Ae Lee, PhD

Postdoctoral  Research Associate, Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
jungaelee@wustl.edu
(314) 286-2843

EDUCATION
PhD, University of Georgia, 2013
MS, University of Georgia, 2009
MA, Ewha Womans University, South Korea, 2004

RESEARCH
Dr. Lee's research interests lie in the statistical learning in heath science and policy data. Dr. Lee's expertise is high dimensional data analysis. Specifically, Dr. Lee's doctoral work focuses on sample integrity issues in situations where the dimension is larger than the sample size. Dr. Lee's previous work on this topic includes "Covariance adjustment for batch effect in gene expression data." Another current work is "Outlier detection in high dimension, low sample size data."



Man Yee (Mallory) Leung, PhD, MSc
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
leungm@wudosis.wustl.edu 
(314) 747-7739

EDUCATION
PhD, University of Minnesota, 2011
MSc, London School of Economics, 2004
BA, University of Hong Kong, 2003

RESEARCH
Dr. Leung’s research interests lie in health economics, fertility choices and reproductive health technologies. She uses quantitative and econometric methods to evaluate health policy. Her current work includes (1) the estimation of a structural sex-selective model to analyze the impact of ultrasound technology and the one-child policy on the sex ratio imbalance in China, and (2) the estimation of demand for IVF to evaluate the policy impact of governmental subsidies to IVF cycles on fertility.


Masayoshi Oka, MES, DDes
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
moka@wudosis.wustl.edu
(314) 747-5657

EDUCATION
DDes, Harvard University, 2010
MES, University of Pennsylvania, 2006
MS, Chiba University, 2002

RESEARCH

Dr. Oka has been working to improve urban health (defined as the combination of the health of cities and the health of people who reside in them). Using spatial and multilevel analysis in conjunction with a geographic information system (GIS), Dr. Oka's research focuses on the influence of physical and social environment on health. Dr. Oka's previous work included examining the urban heat island effect, heat-related morbidity and mortality, disparities in the prevalence of obesity, area-based variations in obesity, and strategies toward designing an environment to promote physical activity. Dr. Oka's current research focuses on the gene-environment interplay, the social determinants of health, and the psychosocial determinants of health.



Faustine Williams, PhD, MPH, MS

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
williamsf@wudosis.wustl.edu
(314) 286-2759

EDUCATION
PhD, University of Missouri, 2012
MPH, University of Missouri, 2011
MS, University of Missouri, 2007

RESEARCH
Dr. Williams is a rural sociologist with a public health focus on community health. Her research interests are cancer disparities, access to health care services, survivorship, and community-based participatory research. Her doctoral research draws on combined methods like geographic information system (GIS) and quantitative and qualitative methods to understand rural-urban differences in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Dr. Williams' previous work includes: 1) the role of spatial access to health care services on incidence of female breast cancer diagnosis in Missouri; 2) the geographic distribution of female breast and cervical cancer in Missouri; and 3) using phenomenological approach to explore the lived experiences of female breast cancer survivors from diagnosis, treatment and beyond to gain an understanding of what it is like to be a breast cancer survivor. Currently, she is exploring the influence of social determinants on cancer to develop appropriate models to understand stages of breast cancer in the community, as well as interventions needed.



Lin Yang, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Associate, Division of Public Health Sciences
Department of Surgery
yangl@wudosis.wustl.edu
(314) 454-8034

EDUCATION
PhD, University of Cambridge, UK, 2012
MS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008
BS, Beijing Sport University, China, 2003

RESEARCH
Dr. Lin Yang’s research interests include understanding the role of physical activity in cancer development and survival, the influence of environmental and socioeconomic status on health outcomes, and physical activity intervention dissemination and implementation. Her previous work included examining the sociodemographic characteristics and environmental determinants of active commuting, exploring the potential of increasing physical activity through active commuting promotion in relation to the infrastructure modification in a natural experiment.