Katie Kavanagh, PhD, RDN, LDN, CLC


Dr. Katie Kavanagh is an Associate Professor in Public Health Nutrition and director of the THRIVE component of the ICAN Lab at the University of Tennessee. Her research explores the behavioral aspects of infant feeding during the first year of life and the development of interventions to modify those behaviors that fall outside of current infant-feeding recommendations. Research projects focus on both breastfeeding and formula-feeding families. Dr. Kavanagh’s lab includes both graduate and undergraduate students.

Emily Wojtowicz, MS, RD, CSP, LD, IBCLC

Emily is a 4th year Maternal and Child Health trainee, pursuing a PhD in Nutritional Sciences with a Community Nutrition concentration. She received her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Arizona. She then completed a combined dietetic internship and master’s program at Case Western Reserve University. Her master’s is in Community Nutrition with an emphasis on child & maternal health.

Her research interests include barriers to breastfeeding, infant feeding, and human lactation. Emily will be examining the impact of infant-lead bottle-feeding on infant growth outcomes for her dissertation. In terms of career, she aspires to start a university lactation center which would provide university level courses, conduct research, and serve the community. She also hopes to collaborate with various government agencies to reduce barriers and increase support for breast/chest-feeding families and infants.

Temi Abayomi, MPH

Program: PhD in Nutritional Sciences with a Community Nutrition concentration

Credentials – BS Physiology, MPH Public Health Nutrition

Research and Career Goals – My research will explore the impact of maternal support systems and non-maternal caregivers on breastfeeding and infant nutrition outcomes. After my PhD, I’ll like to focus on Academics, Policy and International development.

Komal Jethmalani, MFN, CDE

I obtained my Bachelor’s (B.Sc.) and Masters (M.Sc.) in Foods and Nutrition from S.N.D.T. University in Mumbai. I am currently in my second year of Ph.D. in Community Nutrition at UTK. Pursuing a Ph.D. has been a long-cherished ambition which I finally embarked upon last year. I am also a Certified Diabetes Educator.

I spent a few years working as a Lecturer to undergraduates and graduates teaching Nutrition science subjects and was also involved in organizing camps in association with local government bodies. 

Over the past 25 years, as a Consulting Nutritionist, I have gained valuable knowledge and experience by working in corporations, diagnostic centers, gyms, hospitals, etc. which intensified my desire to deep dive into certain areas of study in Nutrition and Dietetics and dwell on the holistic approach to good health and fitness.

Additionally, I have had an opportunity to interact and deal with a wide array of clients with varied health conditions. Providing them dietary counseling for weight management and therapeutic conditions has been a very enriching experience – both professionally and emotionally – as I have dealt with people from all walks of life with diverse races, ethnicity, cultures, beliefs, attitudes, values, etc. and learnt so much from them.

One of the biggest achievements of my career has been the joy and satisfaction I have derived by being able to help my clients achieve their desired health goals. As a Certified Diabetes Educator, I have successfully helped diabetic patients in lowering their blood sugar levels and lead a better quality of life.

Muhammad Rizwan Majeed, MSc. (Hons.)

It is with the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar Original Trophy

This is Muhammad Rizwan Majeed, preferably Rizwan, a first year Ph. D. student at ICAN-THRIVE Lab. He completed his undergraduate and master`s degree from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. His research thesis was on assessment of nutritional status of nomadic mothers and their children (under 5 years) in region Layyah, Pakistan. After completing his university education, he moved to Qatar where he has been the part of Qatar Foundation as a Nutritionist cum Dietitian. His major roles revolved around nutrition education and nutrition promotion among school and university students. He got well trained in designing specialized meal plans for school kids, assessing the food popularity, food wastage and food security, nutrition labeling, nutritional categorization of food items. He has worked in FIFA Arab Cup 2021, Street Child World Cup 2022, and FIFA World Cup 2022 held in Qatar as nutritionist. He learned designing specialized menus for clients customized to their cultural backgrounds and analysis of feedback data.

He also delivered nutrition counseling for diabetic patients and online lectures to undergraduate dietetic students in Pakistan. He excels at nutrition surveys, data analysis and scientific report writing. He has published three peer-review research articles and one abstract in international food science journals. His core research interest is to examine the effect of migration on eating habits, food purchasing patterns and nutritional status of the low-income communities. He observes that the time prior to migration and the early weeks of the migration in which the impact on eating habits, physical activity and emotional health is maximal and that duration can be contemplated as a window of opportunity to implement interventions and scrutinize the eating habits and forward only the healthy ones. During his coming years at lab, he is looking forward to achieve his research goals.