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



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 


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.


Melissa Harris, MPA, B.S.

Project Manager

Pennington Biomedical Research Center  

6400 Perkins Road  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70808 USA

Telephone 225/763-3091


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


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.

Project Manager

Pennington Biomedical Research Center  

6400 Perkins Road  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70808 USA

Telephone 225/763-2921


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 and provides pre-award grant support.


Elizabeth Joseph

Undergraduate Student Worker

Pennington Biomedical Research Center  

6400 Perkins Road  |  Baton Rouge, LA 70808 USA

Telephone 225/763-2729


2019 (Candidate) | Louisiana State University | Bachelor of Science | Psychology

Elizabeth Joseph has been an undergraduate trainee and student worker since 2017. She is enrolled in the Ogden Honors College and is completing her undergraduate thesis. Elizabeth's interests are in young children's screen-time and effects on physical activity. She plans to pursue a PhD in developmental psychology.

Nicole Dominique

Erica Joseph

Amanda Weathers-Meyer, M.S.

Graduate Student Worker

2020 (Candidate) | Louisiana State University | PhD | Kinesiology

2020 (Candidate) | Louisiana State University | M.Ed. | Counseling

2016 | Louisiana State University | MS | Kinesiology

2006 | Webster University | BS | Psychology

Amanda Weathers-Meyer is a PhD candidate in Dr. E. Kip Webster's laboratory in the School of Kinesiology at LSU. She conducts fundamental motor skill assessments at childcare centers enrolled in the Pause & Play projec.t



Graduate and Undergraduate Trainees

Graduate Alumni

Caroline Barbaree, MBA, BS

Policy Intern, 2016-17

M.B.A., 2017, Flores MBA Program, Louisiana State University

B.S., 2015, Business, E. J. Ourso College of Business, Louisiana State University

Client Associate at Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated

Neelima Gonugunta, MBBS

Research Trainee, 2014

Amber Jarrell, BS

Medical Student Trainee, 2016-17

B.S., 2012, Biology, Southern University and A&M College

M.D. Candidate, 2019, LSU Health Sciences Center - New Orleans

Michelle Liu, BS, BA

Research Assistant, 2015

B.S., 2013, Neuroscience, Tulane University

B.A., 2013, Anthropology, Tulane University

Currently an MD candidate (2018), Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center

Arwen Marker, BA

Project Manager, 2012-15

B.A., 2012, Psychology, Emory University

Currently a PhD Candidate (2020), University of Kansas

Madeline Morrell, MPH, BS

Graduate Trainee, 2015

MPH, 2015, Epidemiology, Tulane University

Formerly a Data Management Specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Currently a Health Informatics Epidemiologist with the State of Tennessee Department of Health's Outbreak and Chronic Disease Division


Undergraduate Alumni

James Burns Jr., BS

 Undergraduate Trainee 2017

 B.S. Candidate (2017), Kinesiology / Fitness Studies, Louisiana State University 

Gabriella “Gabbi” Chauvin

Undergraduate Trainee, 2017

B.S. Candidate (2021), Biology, University of Louisiana, Lafayette

Alexandra DeWitt, BS

Graduate Trainee 2017

Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate (2020), University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy

B.S., 2016, Biology, Louisiana State University

Hannah Haddad

Undergraduate Trainee, 2016-

B.S. Candidate (2018), Pre-Medical, Nutrition and Food Sciences Minors in Health Sciences and Sociology, Louisiana State University

Ogden Honors College

Amelie Kramer

Undergraduate Student Worker, 2016-

B.S. Candidate (2019), Child and Family Studies, Louisiana State University 

Paige Menier, B.S.

Undergraduate Student Worker, 2017

B.S., 2013, Business Management, Louisiana State University

B.S., 2017, Dietetics, Louisiana State University

Currently a Clinical Research Coordinator at Ochsner Heath Center - Summa

Zoe Wilhelm

Louisiana Service and Leadership (LASAL) Trainee, 2017

B.S. Candidate (2018), Pre-Medical, Nutrition and Food Sciences, Minor in Music, Louisiana State University

Ogden Honors College 

Hannah Abney, BS

Undergraduate Trainee, 2014

B.S., 2017, Pre-Dental and Biology, Minor in Psychology, Louisiana State University

Maggie Bain

Undergraduate Trainee, 2014

B.S., 2016, Kinesiology, Louisiana State University

Currently a Science Teacher at Houston ISD (2016-)

Johannah Frelier, BS

Research Assistant, 2014-2015

B.S., 2014, Psychology, Louisiana State University

MPH, 2017, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Currently Research Assistant at Harvard School of Public Health with Dr. Sara Bleich

Alexandra Gillio, BS

Undergraduate Trainee, 2014

B.S., 2015, Kinesiology, Louisiana State University

Hayden Guidry

Undergraduate Trainee, 2017

B.S. Candidate (2020), Biology, Louisiana State University

Ellery Hayden

Research Assistant, 2015

B.S. candidate (2018), Rhodes College

Enrolled in LSUHSC Medical School for 2018-

Alex Henderson

Undergraduate Trainee, 2017

B.S. Candidate (2018), Microbiology, Louisiana State University

Cullen Hodges, BS

Student Worker, 2014-2015

B.S., 2017, Pre-Med, Biology, Louisiana State University

Molly Mallory

Undergraduate Trainee, 2016

B.S., 2017, Psychology, Minor in Kinesiology, Louisiana State University

M.H.A. Candidate (2021), Tulane's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Annie McLemore, BS

Undergraduate Trainee, 2016

B.S., 2016, Nutrition & Food Sciences: Dietetics, Louisiana State University

Currently a radiobiologist at Baylor College of Medicine Houston


Ansleigh Thibodeaux

Undergraduate Trainee, 2016

B.S. Candidate (2019), Psychology, Minors in Health Sciences and Sociology, Louisiana State University

Currently a secretary at Lisa Jordan Dale - Attorney at Law

Aimee Troxclair, BS

Undergraduate Trainee, 2015 

B.S., 2015, Kinesiology, Southeastern University

Courtney Wright, BS  

Undergraduate Trainee, 2014 

Robert Noyce Research Scholar, Summer 2014 

B.S., 2016, Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University 

Currently a student teacher at Sherwood Middle Academic Magnet School (2016-)