Dr. Jennifer Lemacks is the Associate Dean for Research at the University of Southern Mississippi School of Nursing and Health Professions and registered dietitian by trade. Her research is driven by a passion to reduce preventable chronic disease disparities in the Deep South through behavioral therapy targeting nutrition and physical activity behaviors. She has received ample training in community-based participatory research methods and health interventions. She has directed a project funded by the National Institutes of Health to explore how to utilize churches to deliver obesity management interventions to young to middle-aged African Americans in South Mississippi. She has also directed a youth mentorship and nutrition program focused on improving diet and social behaviors of 5th graders in the Mississippi Delta. She is currently managing a project funded by Mississippi INBRE, which established the Telenutrition Center in the state and focuses on identifying evidence-based strategies for obesity management among underserved populations in real-world settings.
Dr. Austin Graybeal
Dr. Austin Graybeal is an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi School of Kinesiology and Nutrition and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). His research explores the utility of machine learning in body composition estimation from remote settings using common devices not subjected to geographical or monetary restrictions. Further, Dr. Graybeal's research focuses on a variety of dietary interventions with the primary goal of obtaining a healthy body composition through nutrition and physical activity. His research is driven by his desire to reduce the global obesity burden and offer accessible and affordable services to underserved populations who suffer from obesity to a greater degree. Dr. Graybeal has managed projects that have produced the first comprehensive characterizations of fat-free tissue in individuals with abnormal body compositions and has validated several body composition devices for individuals outside of "normal" body compositions. He has also overseen several projects focused on acute and chronic dietary interventions, specifically, high-fat or low-carbohydrate interventions and their influence on metabolism, appetite, and cardiometabolic health markers. He is currently managing a project funded by Mississippi INBRE, which examines how machine learning from high-quality smartphone cameras can accurately estimate body composition through three-dimensional optical scanning for use in remote healthcare settings.
Dr. Antonio J. Gardner
Dr. Gardner is an assistant professor of health promotion at Mississippi State University. He received his PhD in Health Education and Health Promotion (2016) from the University of Alabama, MS in General Human Environmental Sciences with a Specialization in Rural Community Health (2011) from the University of Alabama, and BS in Biology (2009) from Alabama A&M University. Furthermore, he possesses Certified Health Education Specialist credential through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. Dr. Gardner will serve as a co-investigator for this study. His other research interests are in health equity with a focus on rural African American populations. His current research examines the risky sexual behaviors and readiness of rural African American men to participate in barbershop-based HIV prevention programs. He also a co-investigator on a study that examines older rural African American adults’ attachment to place and their perceptions of well-being in relation to place.