Researchers & Support Staff

Principal Investigator
Naiman Khan, PhD., RD

Naiman Khan, PhD., RD

Dr. Naiman Khan’s research interest is in the area of Nutritional Neuroscience. Our laboratory utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to integrate knowledge in the disciplines of dietetics, body composition, and cognitive neuroscience to understand the interactions between lifestyle behaviors (e.g., diet and physical activity), abdominal adiposity, and cognitive and brain health in the pediatric and adult population. The knowledge gained from this work is used to develop effective behavioral or environmental strategies of mitigating the detrimental effects of obesity and metabolic risk on measures of physical and mental health.    

Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
M.S., Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Click here to Download Naiman Khan’s CV

Post Doc


Anne Dorothy McClure Walk, PhD

Anne received her PhD from Saint Louis University in Cognitive Neuroscience and is currently a post-doctoral scholar in the Neurocognitive Kinesiology Lab and the Body Composition and Nutritional Neuroscience Lab. Her research interests lie in uncovering the fundamental mechanisms that drive human learning and cognition using both behavioral and brain-based approaches. She is particularly interested in how cognitive abilities are affected by a variety of health behaviors and has studied cognition in the context of health, diet, language status, and atypical development. In the past, she has studied the neural correlates of implicit learning and language in a variety of developmental contexts. Much of her current work examines the relationship between neuro-pigments and cognitive control, multi-sensory integration and processing, and ERPs in children. A new project she is helping to launch in the lab will focus on investigating body composition and cognition in preschool children.


Research Coordinators


Ginger ReeserGinger Reeser, MS, RDN, LDN

Ginger Reeser received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Mobile and completed her Master’s in Nutritional Sciences along with the dietetic internship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010. Ginger is a research coordinator for the laboratory. She works with Dr. Khan and his staff to support, facilitate, and coordinate daily research activities. Her primary project is the PATH study.



Macie Sinn

Macie Sinn received her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014. She began working in the laboratory in 2011 with the FITKids study as an undergraduate research assistant and later as a coordinator. Macie is currently pursuing her Master’s in Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is research coordinator in the lab and her primary project is the WITIKids study.

Linda Steinberg

Linda Steinberg received her undergraduate degree in Community Health with a focus in Health Administration and Planning from the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign in 2006.  She has since gathered 10 years of professional experience in health and wellness program planning and implementation working in the local public schools and public health district.  Linda started at the BCNN lab in 2016 as a research coordinator and began perusing her Masters degree in Health Communications at the University of Illinois. Her primary project is the BAT Kids study.  In her spare time, Linda likes to workout, spend time with her family, paint, and check out local community events.

Graduate Students

Alicia CovelloAlicia Covello

Alicia joined the BCNN Lab in 2015. She received her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at Eastern Illinois University in 2016. Alicia’s main research interests are physical activity, fitness, nutrition and their combined impact on mental health and cognitive function. Alicia’s current research projects are diverse and focus on either the effects of fluid modulation on cognitive control, the impact of nutrition on the health of individuals diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, or the effects of exercise and nutrition on low SES women living within Illinois. She looks forward to completing her MS at UIUC while continuing to investigate how the body responds to nutrition and exercise.


 Morgan Curran Morgan Curran

Morgan Curran graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology in May 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Biology. She worked as a chemist for a year and a food specification specialist for two years before joining the BCNN lab. She is beginning her second year in the Division of Nutritional Sciences master’s degree program. Morgan’s main research interests are the impact of nutrition, body composition, and early life on cognitive function. Her current research focuses on early life nutritional effects on macular pigment accumulation in the eye and cognitive control in 8 to 11 year olds. Morgan hopes to complete her dietetic internship next year to become a registered dietitian working in the pediatric clinical nutrition setting. The FITKids and RETLU studies are ongoing components of Morgan’s MS thesis project.


 Caitlyn Edwards
Caitlyn Edwards

Caitlyn Edwards received her Bachelors in Nutrition and Dietetics with a minor in Psychology from New York University in 2012. After college she ran a kids cooking school and worked in kitchens around the country before joining the BCNN lab. Caitlyn’s main research interests are the impact of dietary choices on mental health and cognitive functioning. Caitlyn is currently working on many projects looking at the interactions between BMI, diet, and cognitive functioning, Caitlyn’s main project is an Avocado Supplementation study aimed at examining the effects of avocado consumption on visceral adiposity and glycemic control.


Grace Niemiro

Grace Niemiro receivGracie-225x300ed her bachelors degree in Chemistry with a minor in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014. She then started on a PhD in Kinesiology and Community Health with a concentration in Exercise Physiology as well as Bio-Behavioral Kinesiology. Her projects focus on how hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells affect cognitive functioning in childhood obesity, but is also investigating the changes in the hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell population from exercise in the obese population. In her free time, Grace enjoys cooking, baking, and running.


Visiting Research Assistants

       Gabriella McLoughlin

Click here to download Gabriella McLoughlin’s CV

Undergraduate Students

Aasem Awwad ● Alaina Balbinot ● Aminah Bilal ● Dan Cavato ● Stacy Chan ● Jim Choi  ● Marianne Durkin ● Tricia Ebersold ● Isabel Flemming ● Samantha Iwinski ● Lokesh Julakanti ● Richard Kim ● Carla Kochis ● Nitesh Kumar ● Vinny Lai ● Kara Lane ● Justin Lee ● Tiffany Li  ● Matthew Li ● Ruyu Liu ● Tabitha Lundy ● Shaun Majeed ● Kelsi Miller ● Alexander Nemeh ● Hamad Niazi ● Mary Ondrejka ● Madhavi Patel ● Jimmy Pham ● Aman Rehel ● Connor Robbs ● Ethan Rocha ● Arnab Roy ● David Sierant ● Athina Simotas ● Sarah Sung ● Payton Walters ● Sean Zwicky

Laboratory Technicians

Corinne Cannavale ● Jackson Evensen ● Isabel Flemming ● Samantha Iwinski ● Ryan Jones ● Tiffany Li ● Ruyu Liu ● Connor Robbs