Our Team

  

  Amanda E. Staiano, Ph.D., M.P.P.

   Assistant Professor, Population & Public Health Sciences
   Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, LSU
   Director, Pediatric Obesity & Health Behavior Laboratory

   Dr. Staiano's CV

  

   Pennington Biomedical Research Center  

   6400 Perkins Road  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70808 USA

   Telephone 225/763-2729  | Fax 225/763-2887

   Amanda.Staiano@pbrc.edu

 

2007 | Louisiana State University | Bachelor of Science | Psychology

2009 | Georgetown University | McCourt School of Public Policy | Master of Public Policy

2010 | Georgetown University | Doctor of Philosophy | Developmental Psychology

2017 | Tulane University | Master of Science | Clinical Research

 

Dr. Staiano is Assistant Professor and Director of the Pediatric Obesity & Health Behavior Laboratory. She is a developmental psychologist in pediatric obesity with an interest in health behaviors that contribute to obesity and its comorbidities. Dr. Staiano is supported, in part, by the NIH-funded Louisiana Clinical and Translational Science Center (LA CaTS) to examine the influence of sedentary behavior (specifically screen-time) and physical activity on fat gain and cardiometabolic health in the first three decades of life.  

Dr. Staiano also has an interest in technology-mediated physical activity interventions to target children who are most at-risk for obesity and chronic disease. Her research has examined how technological devices like exergames (activity-promoting video games) affect youths’ adiposity and physical activity levels. She has led multiple scientific investigations of adolescents’ use of exergames, including the “Wii Active” study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which was a 20-week school-based exergame intervention for overweight and obese African American adolescents, and the “Klub Kinect” study to demonstrate the feasibility and efficacy of conducting a 12-week exergaming physical activity intervention for weight loss among overweight and obese adolescent girls. A new American Heart Association funded "GameSquad" study for 10-12 year old children began in fall 2015.

Drawing from her public policy training, Dr. Staiano participates in scientific advocacy at the national, state, and local level.

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Key Pediatric Team Members

 

 

Chelsea Hendrick, B.S.

Project Manager

Telephone 225/763-2918 

Chelsea.Hendrick@pbrc.edu

2007 | Louisiana State University | Bachelor of Science | Kinesiology

 

Chelsea Hendrick is a Project Manager in the Intervention Resources Unit. In addition, Chelsea manages the operations of the Fitness Center, which includes overseeing interventions, quality improvement, students, and staffing. Working at Pennington Biomedical, she has been involved in a variety of NIH funded, AHA funded and privately funded clinical trials over the past 5 years. She has worked with many external collaborators within the Baton Rouge community to aid in participant recruitment and to oversee the maintenance of sub-awards, budgets, interventions, and assessments conducted off-campus. Chelsea earned her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Louisiana State University and spent the first 3.5 years of her career working in Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation at Our Lady of the Lake. She is currently the Project Manager for GameSquad, a study working with 10-12 year old kids to determine if exergaming reduces body fat and improves health factors in overweight and obese children. In addition, she is the Project Manager of the ARTIIS study, a 5 month exercise program to reduce the risk of developing diabetes in African American men; the SPRINT trial, a multicenter, randomized clinical trial to test whether reduced systolic blood pressure lower than current recommendations will reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease; and WorkACTIVE-P, a pilot study that will test the long-term impact of a behaviorally supported walk more and pedal desk intervention program in the workplace. She also serves as Project Management support of Pause & Play, a project working with the LA Department of Education’s new regulations on children in childcare settings to reduce screen time and increase physical activity.

                      

Leighanne Kiggans, B.S.

Research Study Coordinator

Clinical Outpatient and Inpatient Services

Pennington Biomedical Research Center  

6400 Perkins Road  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70808 USA

Telephone 225/763-2814

Leighanne.Kiggans@pbrc.edu

2011 | Louisiana State University | Bachelor of Sceince | Kinesiology

 

Leighanne Kiggans is a Research Study Coordinator within the Clinical Outpatient and Inpatient Services Unit.  She has been a member of the Pennington family for 5 years, serving as a student intern, research specialist and most recently as a study coordinator.  Leighanne earned her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology – Fitness Studies concentration – with a minor in Nutritional Sciences from Louisiana State University.  While she has assumed a variety of roles and responsibilities in numerous trials, she has focused the past few years on pediatric research and wellness programs including PANTHER, Klub Kinect, Pause & Play, TIGER Kids and Our Lifestyles, Our Lives.  In addition to basic coordinator responsibilities, Leighanne has experience with creating and adapting program materials, leading exercise interventions, facilitating satellite clinic operations, and collaborating with external foundations in the community, including Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital and Health Centers in Schools.  She has an extensive background working with kids in the local YMCAs as a swim instructor and swim coach.  While she has two children of her own, she is excited to continue bettering the health and well-being of the children in our community.

 

Amber Dragg, R.D., L.D.N.

Research Study Coordinator

Clinical Outpatient and Inpatient Services

Telephone 225/763-3019

Amber.Dragg@pbrc.edu

2004 | Louisiana State University | Bachelor of Science | Dietetics

 

Amber has been a Research Study Coordinator within the Clinical Outpatient and Inpatient Services of Pennington Biomedical Research Center for 9 years. She has coordinated multiple studies, including one pediatric study that enrolled 423 children and adolescents. She enjoys working with children and conducting GameSquad study visits in the clinic.

 

Melissa Harris, MPA, B.S.

Project Manager

Pennington Biomedical Research Center  

6400 Perkins Road  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70808 USA

Telephone 225/763-3091

Melissa.Harris@pbrc.edu

2007 | Louisiana State University | Bachelor of Science | Kinesiology

2014 | Louisiana State University | Master of Public Administration

Melissa Harris is a Project Manager in the Intervention Resources Unit. She has been employed at Pennington for 8 years, serving in a variety of roles including a student intern, interventionist, project manager, and operations specialist. In addition to specific project oversight, Melissa manages the operations of the Preventive Medicine Department. Additionally, she serves as a navigator and liaison for the Clinical Trials Unit, which involves collaborating with multiple PIs and departments on campus and providing fiscal and overall project oversight from grant development through project initiation. Enrolling over 2000 participants in clinical trials, she has been a part of a variety of large R01 NIH funded and privately funded clinical trials over the past 8 years.  The clinical trials that she has been a part of include the following populations: children/youth, adolescents, elderly, overweight/obese, minority groups such as African Americans, type 2 diabetics, cardiovascular risks, and healthy adults.  As a part of her project responsibilities, she has established partnerships for Preventive Medicine with external collaborators including local BRECs, YMCAs, and schools to aid in recruitment efforts as well as providing intervention or assessment locations within community. In addition, she spearheaded the development of the Internship Program for the Preventive Medicine Department that provided clinical trials exposure to over 250 students from across the globe.

 

 

Cory Lemon, B.S.

Research Specialist

Pennington Biomedical Research Center  

6400 Perkins Road  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70808 USA

Telephone 225/763-2647

Corbin.Lemon@pbrc.edu

2010 | Louisiana State University | Bachelor of Science | Kinesiology

Currently a Master’s of Public Health Candidate (2017), LSU Health Science Center 

Corbin ‘Cory’ Lemon has been a Research Specialist at Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC) for the past 6 years on a variety of studies related to chronic disease and exercise. Cory contributed to the development of the intervention for GameSquad, an active video gaming or ‘exergaming’ intervention focused on weight-loss and improvement of other health factors in 10-12 year olds. He is currently overseeing the intervention and serving as a Fitness Coach for GameSquad.

 

 

Mary Jessica St. Romain, B.A.

Research Specialist II

Pennington Biomedical Research Center  

6400 Perkins Road  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70808 USA

Telephone 225/763-2921

Jessica.StRomain@pbrc.edu

2004 | Louisiana State University | Bachelor of Arts | Communication

Mary “Jessica” St. Romain has worked at Pennington Biomedical for a total of 6 years. In 2015, she rejoined the Pennington Biomedical team as a Research Specialist II, providing management and intervention support for GameSquad. She now manages the Pause & Play project.

 

Crystal Dickerson, M.S.

Research Specialist

Pennington Biomedical Research Center  

6400 Perkins Road  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70808 USA

Telephone 225/763-2933

Crystal.Dickerson@pbrc.edu

2009 | Millsaps College | Bachelor of Science | Biology

2012 | Mississippi College | Master of Science

 

Crystal Dickerson recently joined the Pennington Biomedical Research Center as a Research Specialist with an emphasis on pediatric trials. Currently, she works to provide support on several projects including TIGER Kids and Pause & Play. Outside of Pennington Biomedical, Crystal has been involved in a variety of research projects including those studying the effect of alcohol on HIV transmission (LSUHSC) and cancer cell cycle signaling.  Her interests, however, are largely concentrated in improving health awareness and literacy amongst children. As such, she is excited to collaborate with the Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior Laboratory as a part of Interventional Resources, where her duties include intervention, data analysis, project assistance, and recruiting.