Our Team

Christine Blake, PhD, RD

Christine Blake, PhD, RD

Principal Investigator

Dr. Christine Blake, PhD, RD (Principle Investigator) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health. She is an international expert on food choice who has conducted both qualitative and quantitative studies on the drivers of food choice in diverse populations.

Edward Frongillo, PhD

Edward Frongillo, PhD

Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Edward Frongillo is a Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health. Dr. Frongillo is a global expert on household and individual food insecurity of adults and children and on infant and young child feeding, growth, and nutrition. He has extensive experience conducting mixed qualitative and quantitative evaluation and research in many countries in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. He has extensive experience in providing training and technical assistance to researchers in developing countries.

Shilpa Constantinides, PhD

Shilpa Constantinides, PhD

Research Associate

Dr. Shilpa Constantinides (BS, MPH, PhD) is a Research Associate in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior at the University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health. Her research focuses on food and nutrition policy in low- and middle-income countries and the double burden of malnutrition in India. She has experience in applying evaluation and research methodologies as a William J. Clinton Fellow for Service through the American India Foundation, and as a research assistant and educator on nutrition projects in the United States and India. She currently works with the Drivers of Food Choice Program to support and facilitate ongoing efforts to synthesize and disseminate learnings from across Drivers of Food Choice projects in diverse low- and middle-income countries and is a co-lead on research investigating the intersection between the food environment and food choice in these settings.  

Krystal Rampalli, MPH

Krystal Rampalli, MPH

Research Assistant

Krystal is both a Research Assistant on the Drivers of Food Choice Competitive Grants Program and a Ph.D. student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the University of South Carolina. Her research interests are in the nutrition transition, food environments, food choices, and chronic diseases in low and middle-income countries, particularly among adolescents. Krystal holds a B.S. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.P.H. in Environmental Health Sciences from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, biking, and cooking.

Emma Kenney, MPH

Emma Kenney, MPH

Program Coordinator

Emma is an alumna of the Univeristy of South Carolina Exercise Science department where she obtained her Masters of Public Health and Physical Activity. During her undergraduate, she worked as an Assistant Nutritionist for the UofSC football team, where she assisted with analyzing body composition, hydration testing, and organizing and maintaining the nutrition facility. Currently, she helps to manage the Drivers of Food Choice website, as well as social media. 

Shiva Bhandari, MSC

Shiva Bhandari, MSC

Research Assistant

Shiva is a PhD student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health and works as a research assistant in the Drivers of Food Choice Competitive Grants Program. Previously, he worked on several projects in Nepal focused on maternal health, infant and young child feeding, and health and nutrition behavior change. As a PoSHAN Fellow in the Feed the Future Nutrition Innovation Lab in Nepal (led by Johns Hopkins University), he conducted research on the pathways linking agriculture to nutrition and health and assisted in organizing international scientific symposia. The ultimate goals of his research are to promote food security and the accessibility of healthy foods in low and middle-income countries. 

Shirelle Hallum, MPH

Shirelle Hallum, MPH

Data Visualization Consultant

Shirelle is a second-year doctoral student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Health at the University of Texas and Master of Public Health from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. While earning her masters, she focused her studies on active transportation, and studied how to collaborate with city planners and policy makers to create a built environment that encourages physical activity. She currently serves as a graduate research assistant for numerous projects within the BEACH Lab. Shirelle enjoys hiking, eating good food, and going on as many adventures as possible. On a day off, you’ll find her walking to a local coffee shop with her husband and perfect baby girl, Nora.

Abdullah Khan, MPH

Abdullah Khan, MPH

Research Assistant

Abdullah is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health and works as a research assistant in the Drivers of Food Choice Competitive Grants Program. He has experience in conducting program evaluations for maternal and child nutrition initiatives in Bangladesh. He also worked in several implementation research that aimed to drive impact on stunting and wasting of children. Currently, the focus of his work is exploring the social determinants of childhood undernutrition among the vulnerable and marginalized populations. His current research goal is to identify social pathways through which social support in the form of cash or food transfer can help improve the birth outcome in low and middle-income countries.

Ligia Reyes, PhD

Ligia Reyes, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Dr. Ligia Reyes is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health. She earned her doctorate from the University of South Carolina, Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan, and Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on maternal food choice for children in Mexico through an examination of local food environments and social networks. She has led and contributed to nutrition-related projects in Latin America and the United States, and she has notable experience in measurement development, cognitive interviewing, and cultural tailoring techniques. She will support current efforts to synthesize and disseminate learnings across the DFC projects anchored on advancing knowledge about food choice in low- and middle-income countries.    

Shiny Deepika (Dee) Singapogu, MS, MA

Shiny Deepika (Dee) Singapogu, MS, MA

Research Assistant

Dee is a Ph.D student at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina and a graduate research assistant with the Drivers of Food Choice program. She has an MS in Wellness and Human Performance from University of Pittsburgh. Dee’s primary research interest is researching and promoting the benefits of plant-based nutrition to help alleviate chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc. Her secondary research interests include technology-based health interventions and physical activity promotion. She has experience studying the impact of lifestyle changes on obesity and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome as well as conducting health promotion programs in rural and urban India particularly among populations with chronic disease. Her goal is to create and deliver technology-based interventions to enable people to prevent, treat, and reverse chronic illness through plant-based nutrition and regular physical activity. 

Sharraf Samin, MPH

Sharraf Samin, MPH

Research Assistant

Samin is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health and works as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Drivers of Food Choice Competitive Grants Program. He has experience in conducting formative research and need assessment of maternal and child health nutrition among the rural and vulnerable populations in Bangladesh. As a Scientific Study Coordinator of the CAPABLE BELIEVE Bauniabadh (Slum) Cohort Study (led by the University of Cambridge and BSMMU), Samin conducted research on assessing the prospective associations of nutritional factors (traditional diet, body fat composition etc.) and environmental factors with the future risk of chronic diseases among the socioeconomically disadvantaged and marginalized slum dwellers in Bangladesh. His research interests are carrying out investigations on food safety and security, food-based solutions for enhanced health and chronic diseases. His goal is to promote food safety and consumer awareness through comprehensive and effective food safety systems for prevention and reversal of chronic diseases in the low- and middle-income countries. He enjoys traveling, sports and cooking at his leisure.