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Danielle Christifano, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professor

A research assistant professor in the KU Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, Danielle Christifano, Ph.D., teaches courses in maternal and child nutrition as well as international nutrition for the master's degree program in dietetics and nutrition.

Christifano joined the KU faculty in October 2019 after serving as senior scientist (2016-2019) at the Hoglund Brain Imaging Center at KU Medical Center. She maintains her role at Hoglund as a the neurophysiology core manager where she assists investigators in conducting neurophysiological research across the lifespan. Prior to her time at Hoglund, she served as a project lead in research focused on nutrition and weight management among cancer survivors and rural populations.

Academic Background

Christifano earned her doctorate in medical nutrition science from KU in 2014. This followed successful completion of her master's degree in dietetics and nutrition at KU Medical Center in 2012. Her undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences was awarded by Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wis., in 2009.

Curriculum Vitae PDF document icon

Research Focus

Christifano's research focuses on the intersection of nutrition and lifestyle in maternal and child health. Her work at Hoglund continues on the Prenatal Autonomic Neuro-Developmental Assessment (PANDA) study. This work is focused on measuring the effects of docosahexaenoic acid, also known as DHA, on brain development in infants.

Recent Projects

The Effect of Maternal Egg and Choline Intake During Pregnancy on Fetal Neurodevelopment, Infant Cognition and Brain Function
PI: Danielle Christifano
August 2018-August 2020
Egg Nutrition Center-American Egg Board, USDA

Identifying Strategies to Improve Recruitment and Retention of Pregnant African American Women in Phase III RCTs
PI: Danielle Christifano
January 2018-July 2018
Frontiers Trailblazer Award; NNIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (UL 1 TR002366)

Selected Recent Publications

  • Christifano D, Taylor M, Carlson S, Colombo J, Gustafson K. Higher maternal weight is related to poorer fetal autonomic development. J DOHAD. Submitted May 6, 2020. Under Review.
  • Gustafson K, Liao K, Mathis N, Shaddy D, Kerling E, Christifano D, Colombo J, Carlson S, Prenatal docosahexaenoic acid supplementation has long-term effects on childhood behavioral and brain responses during performance on an inhibitory task. Nutritional Neuroscience. Accepted Jan 1, 2020.
  • Moukarzel S, Ozias M, Kerling E, Christifano D, Wick J, Colombo J, Carlson S. Maternal Vitamin D Status and Infant Infection. Nutrients. 2018 Jan 23;10(2). pii: E111. doi: 10.3390/nu10020111.
  • Fazzino F, Hunter R, Sporn N, Christifano D, Befort C. Weight fluctuation during adulthood and weight gain since breast cancer diagnosis predict multiple dimensions of body image among rural breast cancer survivors. Psycho- oncology. March 2017.
  • Christifano D, Fazzino T, Befort C. Diet quality of rural breast cancer survivors after a six-month weight management intervention: Improvements and association with weight loss. Nutr and Cancer. Oct 2015.
Last modified: Apr 13, 2021


Danielle Christifano, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor

Room G023, Hoglund Brain Imaging Center
3901 Rainbow Boulevard
Kansas City, KS 66160

P: 913-588-3140

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