Lab Members

Stacy Tessler Lindau

Stacy Tessler Lindau

MD, MAPP, Catherine Lindsay Dobson Professor, Director of the Program in Integrative Sexual Medicine, Founder of Feed1st

Dr. Stacy Lindau is the Catherine Lindsay Dobson Professor in the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Medicine-Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at the University of Chicago. She is an internationally known expert in the fields of gerosexuality and social care and conducts her work in partnership with the communities she serves.

She was founding Co-PI of the National Social Life, Health and Aging Project (2003), a long-running longitudinal biosocial study on aging, funded by the National Institute on Aging. From this work, she created the Program in Integrative Sexual Medicine (PRISM) and WomanLab.org, both devoted to preservation and recovery of sexual function in relation to cancer and other complex illness and was founding chair of the Scientific Network on Female Sexual Health and Cancer, 501c3, which has named its trainee award in her honor.

In the social care domain, Dr. Lindau leads a portfolio of NIH-funded clinical trials evaluating the CommunityRx intervention, an evidence- and IT-based intervention that aims to systematically connect patients and caregivers via to community-based supports for wellness, disease management and social care needs. CommunityRx, funded in part with a 2012-15 Health Care Innovation Award from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, was brought from “lab to life” in three years. Dr. Lindau founded NowPow, LLC and MAPSCorps, 501c3, testing a collective social impact model to sustain the idea of community e-prescribing. NowPow was the first faculty-founded company at the University of Chicago to put headquarters on Chicago’s South Side where the ideas were created. By 2021, NowPow was employing nearly 150 associates and was acquired in September 2021 by its largest competitor, Unite Us, LLC to reach nearly 20 million customers in 40+ U.S. states and D.C. As of December 2022, MAPSCorps, 501c3 has trained and employed nearly 3000 youth in Chicago, NYC, rural Eastern North Carolina and Hawaii to conduct community asset mapping, generating publicly available data on community assets (www.mapscorps.org) and information used by researchers, government organizations, community organizations, entrepreneurs and others to solve critical problems and create economic opportunity.

Early in the arc of her work on social care and around the time her son was hospitalized for an unexpected stroke, Dr. Lindau discovered the prevalent but overlooked problem of food insecurity among families with hospitalized children. Dr. Lindau and others founded Feed1st, a fully self-serve, “no questions asked” food pantry system that operates 11 sites across pediatric and adult patient ambulatory and emergency care settings at the University of Chicago Medicine. Over more than a decade, Feed1st has distributed 54 tons of food to more than 48,700 individuals. Dr. Lindau’s scholarly work, much of it funded by NIH and other federal agencies, has been published in the highest impact peer-review literature and covered widely by media. Dr. Lindau earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and secondary education at the University of Michigan Honors College and her medical degree at Brown University. She completed her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency and served as chief resident at Northwestern University and earned her master’s degree in public policy as an Irving B. Harris Fellow at the University of Chicago. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Chicago, and she serves the program’s National Advisory Committee. Dr. Lindau was awarded a 2016-18 Aspen Health Innovators Fellowship and is a member of its advisory board and the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Dr. Lindau also serves as a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of RISE, 501c3, an organization dedicated to the elimination of racism through sport.

Emily Abramsohn

Emily Abramsohn

MPH, Director of Research

Emily Abramsohn is a passionate public health researcher, partner and (self-described) “cool mom.” She came to the Lindau Lab at the University of Chicago in 2009 for its cross-cutting research efforts in women’s health and community health improvement. As the current Director of Research, she oversees primary data collection and the security of our datasets. For WomanLab, she curates content and distills research findings into “what every woman needs to know.” Emily spent three years as a rape victim advocate and researched community organizing efforts to reduce inefficiencies among domestic violence service providers. During her time in the Lab, she has been a Patient Educator, and trained others to provide this education. Emily received her BS in psychology from the University of Iowa and her Master’s in Public Health from San Diego State University.

Veera Anand

Veera Anand

Research Assistant

Veera is passionate about using innovative health care solutions to address social determinants of health and to create a more equitable health care experience for all. Having joined the Lindau Lab in the Summer of 2021, she is thrilled to expand on these interests as a research assistant. Prior to joining WomanLab, Veera worked as a research specialist in a neuroscience lab studying neural connectivity in fruit flies. She has also worked as a clinical research assistant for the Hospitalist Project and volunteered as a surgical patient liaison at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Outside of the lab, she loves to cook and eat (mostly eat) new dishes and explore different hiking trails.

Cristianne Frazier

Cristianne Frazier

PhD, Director of Operations and Strategy, Feed1st Manager

Cristi joined the Lindau Lab in June, 2020 as Director of Operations and Strategy. She is responsible for strategic planning, partnerships, team building, finance, and stewardship of the Feed1st program. Prior to joining the lab, Cristi worked for eight years in the field of technology transfer at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center, managing the dissemination of a portfolio of health care technologies into the marketplace. She has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a PhD in neurobiology from the University of Chicago, where she studied how food scarcity impacts the dopamine system, motivation, and energy expenditure decisions. Cristi is a recipient of the National Institutes of Health pre-doctoral National Research Service Award, and a graduate of Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation and the Booth School of Business’s Executive Program for Emerging Leaders. She’s been a radio DJ, a bass player, a cheese maker, and a butterfly caretaker. She’s never run a marathon, but she did spend ten days on a silent meditation retreat and has a lot to say about it.

Charlie Fuller

Charlie Fuller

Research Associate

Charlie creates spaces and structures that celebrate queer people, connection, and pleasure. They joined the Lindau Lab at the University of Chicago as a Research Assistant in September 2019. With a background in LGBTQ health research and sexuality education, Charlie also brings tools from their work as a teacher and artist to the Lab’s community health projects. They hold a BA with honors in Gender & Sexuality Studies and English from the University of Chicago. Outside of the Lab, Charlie cooks large meals in a small kitchen, pretends to be a good sport about losing board games, and makes participatory theater about reproductive justice as a company member of For Youth Inquiry (FYI) at the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health.

Fareen Dhuka

Fareen Dhuka

Web Developer

Alongside her advocacy of accessible healthcare and voicing minority experiences, something Fareen values most in life is forming genuine relationships with others. She is a sophomore at the University of Chicago pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience who loves to intertwine her passions for medicine and digital media. Fareen joined the lab as a 2022 Metcalf intern working on web development and content creation for the Lindau Lab sites, media outlets, and newsletters. As the token Gen Z recruit, her tech experience includes producing videos on substance cessation for Comer Children’s Hospital and developing websites for organizations such as Women Working Wonders nonprofit and the St. John’s student newspaper: Review Online. She has also served as a Leukemia Student Researcher at MD Anderson in the Texas Medical Center and adores the third graders she teaches with Aga Khan Education Board. Fareen’s dream retirement hustle is wedding planning, partly to continue creating wax seal calligraphy invitations, but also to serve her aspirations of dabbling in photographing engagements and producing wedding videos with her new beau: Adobe Premiere Pro.

Mellissa Grana

Mellissa Grana

Research Associate, Feed1st Operations Lead

Mellissa is a well-rounded scientist with an extensive background in basic science research and a newly founded love for public health and clinical research. She graduated from The University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 2016 with a B.A. in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a focus on medicine. Since graduating, she has been in several labs within the Chicagoland area but has recently settled down with the Lindau Lab in Spring of 2020. Her current aspirations are focused on getting her PhD in psychology from The University of Chicago and to eventually become a licensed psychologist and therapist. When she’s not in the lab, Mellissa enjoys an active lifestyle by weight training and by spending time outside travelling to naturally scenic places.

Jyotsna Jagai

Jyotsna Jagai

PhD, MPH, MS, Senior Research Data Analyst

Jyotsna strongly believes that our health is impacted by our environment. She has a broad definition of environment considering not only air, water and land pollutants but also the built and sociodemographic environments. Additionally, she recognizes that these environmental exposures are a result of long-standing injustices. She is an environmental epidemiologist whose work focuses on the development of comprehensive indicators to characterize the cumulative environmental impact on human health. Her work has also focused on the adaptation of various methods for use in environmental epidemiology. Her methodological work includes time series analysis, meta-analysis methods, and development of environmental exposure measures.

Sam Lee

Sam Lee

Research Assistant, PRISM Patient Educator

Sam loves to connect. She views meaningful relationships as an important way to be empowered or to empower others. Currently a fourth-year pre-med at UChicago studying Public Policy, Sam joined Lindau Lab in 2021 and is excited to explore the intersections of two of her passions—especially when used to advance women’s health or address inequality. On campus, catch Sam planning a concert with the Major Activities Board, giving a campus tour, or volunteering with Emancipate North Koreans. The rest of the time you can usually find Sam watching hockey, reading fantasy books, or having Cheetah Girls dance parties. Ask me about: naked cats, health policy, music, the school to prison pipeline, what to get at Trader Joe’s.

Jen Makelarski

Jen Makelarski

PhD, MPH, Senior Research Data Analyst

Jen is an epidemiologist. Her most recent work focuses on assessing and addressing health-related social risks among vulnerable populations including women, minorities and friend and family caregivers. She was the lead epidemiologist on the development and evaluation of the CommunityRx intervention, a resource referral intervention that provides personalized information about health-promoting community resources to people during regular clinical care. She is especially interested in interventions to reduce food insecurity and played a lead role in the establishment of Feed1st, a hospital-based food pantry program. To best solve these social justice issues, Jen hopes to continue to emphasize the value of understanding the mechanisms by which such interventions work in order to maximize their impact, but also pair traditional epidemiologic methods with system science methodologies to better assess the impact of clinical and public health interventions.

Tania Mendoza

Tania Mendoza

Research Assistant, PRISM Patient Educator

Tania seeks to contribute to the de-stigmatization of mental health and bridging the gap between quality healthcare and marginalized communities. She joined the Lindau Lab in August 2021 as a Research Assistant after graduating from UC Santa Barbara with a B.S. in Psychological and Brain Sciences. Prior to joining, Tania worked as a research assistant at UC Santa Barbara for projects that aimed to improve the psychosocial adjustment in children with cognitive or behavioral issues. As a PRISM patient educator, her hope is to help patients feel empowered and supported. When she grows up, she’d like to get her PhD in Clinical Psychology to continue working with women and girls as a licensed psychologist and health researcher. Outside of the lab, Tania loves to try out new fitness studios around the city, playing with her cat, thrifting home decor, and browsing sustainable fashion labels online.

El Pinkerton

El Pinkerton

MPH, Senior Research Analyst

El is an aspiring know-it-all who currently knows a medium amount. She joined the Lindau Lab at the University of Chicago in January 2019, and brings obsessive curiosity, a research background devoted to the well-being of women in every aspect of their lives, and a meticulously organized GCal to her work as a research specialist and occasional project manager. El holds a B.S. in Biology from Loyola University Chicago and an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan. Outside of her work with the Lab, she’s passionate about hockey statistics, Vanity Fair long-form investigative reporting from the 90s, and karaoke.

Linda Rivera

Linda Rivera

Lab Coordinator

Linda graduated with a B.A. in Communications, Media and Theater from Northeastern Illinois University and also has a culinary degree from LeCordon Bleu. She has a knack for taking whatever is in the fridge and turning it into something delicious and believes baking is a great way to soothe the soul. Her weakness, French Fries. She loves creating a welcoming and inclusive environment and keeping people entertained. She encourages equality, education, creativity and art. In her free time, you can find her napping, drawing/painting, listening to movie scores/Broadway tunes or watching movies.

Eva Shiu

Eva Shiu

MPH, Senior Clinical Trials Manager

Eva is thrilled to work at the intersection of women’s health and social justice. She joined the Lindau Lab at the University of Chicago in 2019 and is excited to help launch new projects as Clinical Trials Manager. She is passionate about addressing health disparities and promoting health equity. Since 2013, she has coordinated federally-funded research projects. Eva has a BA in International Studies from the University of Illinois and an MPH in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan.  Outside of the lab, she practices yoga, is a dog-mom, and likes to browse “best of” food lists, allowing those places to navigate a weekend exploring different parts of the city.

Christina Squiers

Christina Squiers

Intern

Christina is a therapy nerd interested in exploring the connections between mental health, physical wellbeing, and access to healthcare. As an MSW student at the UChicago Crown School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, Christina joined the Lindau Lab in May 2022 as a research assistant after working as a clinician in the Behavioral Health Unit of UChicago Medicine. Before getting her MSW, Christina graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School and was an attorney with experience working in public interest positions, governmental roles, and legal education. In her spare time, Christina loves watching hockey, playing with her three cats, and listening to her favorite band, The National.

Victoria Winslow

Victoria Winslow

MPH, Data Analyst

Victoria is passionate about finding data-driven solutions to health inequities. She has a special interest in using machine learning & data visualization to deliver clear, accessible insights into health.  A longtime Chicago resident, she holds a B.S. in Biology from North Central College and an MPH in Biostatistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She joined the lab as a data analyst in August 2020. During her free time, you can find her keeping the sport of rollerblading alive, checking out new vegetarian restaurants, hanging out with her cats, and working as a freelance makeup artist.

Jie Zhao

Jie Zhao

PhD, BM, Assistant Director of Operations and Strategy

Jie is passionate about finding solutions to bridge the gaps in health care access through collaboration, innovation and empowerment. Jie joined the Lindau Lab in February, 2022 as Assistant Director of Operations and Strategy and her efforts are focused on strategic planning and seeking funding opportunities for the lab, Feed1st and other diverse and innovative programs. Jie has extensive experience in operations, fundraising and communicating scientific message to the general public. Prior to joining the Lindau Lab, Jie worked as an executive consultant at the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group and as the director of operations at the National Foundation for Cancer Research. She has a BM (Bachelor of Medicine) from the China Medical University and a PhD in cell and microbiology from the Catholic University of America. Jie loves singing (not necessarily good at it though), playing piano and writing ancient Chinese poems.

Sara Zdunek

Sara Zdunek

Research Assistant

Recent Alumni

Hannah Cohn

Headshot of Marisol De Ornelas

Marisol De Ornelas

Danielle Grubb

Jazmin Aceves

Headshot of Gisselle Zuniga

Meryl Davis

Headshot of Cassandra Lee Salvador

Mariam Aejaz

Headshot of Gisselle Zuniga

Gisselle Zuniga

Headshot of Cassandra Lee Salvador

Cassandra Lee Salvador