Weight does not equal health: Postdoc Jeff Hunger quoted in a SELF article

Jeff Hunger, who is a postdoctoral scholar here at the DiSH Lab, recently spoke to SELF magazine about negative stereotypes about weight. The article focuses on an Instagram post by model Ashley Graham that received many weight stigmatizing comments. Specifically, some users were attributing health conditions (e.g., heart disease) to an individual’s weight. Addressing such comments, Jeff had this to say: “They rely on—and perpetuate—negative stereotypes about weight. Weight does not equal health, it’s as simple as that.” Indeed, Jeff worked with Dr. T on a study that concluded BMI (which relies on weight) is not a good measure of health. For more details on this study, check out our previous blog post!

Congratulations, Diana!

One of our dedicated DiSH Lab Research Assistants, Diana Gonzalez, will be starting out at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health this fall! The Mailman School of Public Health is a world-renowned program, and we are so proud of Diana for pursuing a subject that she’s so passionate about!

Here’s what Diana has to say:

“I will be pursuing a Master of Public Health in Sociomedical Sciences with a certificate in Epidemiology of Chronic Disease. In this program, I will be able to integrate my passion for research and expand my critical thinking skills in developing public health interventions. I am beyond grateful for all of the research tools that I have learned in the DiSH Lab and look forward to all of the new things I will learn as a graduate student.”


Congratulations again, Diana! We can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures in NYC and about your exciting research!

Dr. T wins APS’s Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions!

We are very excited to announce that Dr. T has won the Association for Psychological Science’s prestigious Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions! This award recognizes psychological scientists who show a unique talent for doing interdisciplinary research and who incorporate various methodological approaches in their programs of research, and it’s an incredible honor to win!

APS caught up with Dr. T to learn a little bit more about her decision to enter a career in academia, her most valuable mentors and collaborators, and her plans for future research. Check out the interview here!


Congratulations, Hien!

We are very pleased to announce that one of our dedicated RAs, Hien Huynh, got accepted to UCSD’s prestigious Skaggs School of Pharmacy! She just began her first term, and we’re confident that she’ll be hugely successful. We’ll miss seeing Hien around the lab, but we’re all very proud of her accomplishments!

Get a restaurant-worthy meal at the dorm cafeteria at UCLA!

UCLA has consistently been ranked top in the nation for best dorm food, and it isn’t hard to understand why as the recipes UCLA create for students look and taste more like food from a trendy restaurant than from a college cafeteria. The recipes are inspired by international cuisines and include healthy ingredients like spelt, kale and harissa. Check out this article to see 12 delicious dishes from the menu!

DiSH lab presenting at the 15th Annual Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference!

This past Saturday, Jolene, Megan, and Erin gave a presentation at the 15th Annual Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference. Out of almost 300 abstracts, they were selected to give a talk on our roommate dieting study, and here’s what they have to say about their experience:

“Giving a talk at Stanford University on Saturday was absolutely amazing and I have learned so much from this experience. It was my first presentation at a research conference and the study we presented also happens to be my very first study in the DiSH Lab. Because I have been wholeheartedly invested in this study for almost two years now, it was extremely rewarding to be able to present the results and see all of our hard work pay off. In addition, this was the first time that the results of our study has ever been presented outside of the lab, so it was great to hear all the positive feedback that we received from the audience and see how excited they were. In many ways, this experience has reaffirmed my passion to study health, and I am so grateful to be part of such an amazing project and team. With that, I also wanted to thank Angela and Dr. T again because this past weekend would not have been possible without them!”

– Jolene

“Speaking at the Stanford Undergraduate Psychology Conference (SUPC) this past weekend was beyond rewarding. It was my first time giving a presentation at a conference, and my first time speaking in front spectators other than my classmates and fellow researchers within the health psychology field. As I was standing up at the podium with Erin and Jolene, sharing the research we all have dedicated ourselves to for over a year, I felt empowered showcasing the negative effects of dieting and the accompanied transmission of stress between dieting pairs to scholars of all ages who were completely foreign to our research aims and interests. I truly believe our presentation left our audience with inquiring minds and new ideas in regards to dieting, and I cannot wait to see how far our research is going to spread and effect change in the future!”


“I had a great time presenting at SUPC this weekend! Being at the conference opened my eyes to types of research in psychology that I hadn’t heard of before, and it was exciting to see how interrelated the different fields are. I also loved getting to present results from a study that I’d been working on for so long. RDS is complicated because it has so many components – but that made it fun & interesting to talk about!”







Great job girls!

Patricia presenting at UCLA Science Poster Day!

Another great accomplishment from one of our DiSH lab RAs; Patricia did an awesome job presenting her poster at UCLA’s Science Poster Day, and was even nominated for the Dean’s Prize Award for outstanding research! UCLA Science Poster Day is an event sponsored by the Undergraduate Science Journal, where undergraduate students at UCLA who are conducting research in the sciences, can present their work.



Patricia and graduate student, Jenna Cummings, who was Patricia’s mentor, at SPD

Her poster looked wonderful and here is what she had to say about the experience:

“It was my very first poster presentation and I learned so much from this experience! Turning my research paper into a poster has taught me to find ways to make research interesting and presentable to a larger audience. By presenting my research to unfamiliar audience and other researchers, I received so many inputs I had never thought of before and was intrigued to ask more questions and do further research. Though wasn’t awarded the Dean’s Prize Award, I was more than honored just to be selected as a nominee out of the 500 presenters. Just to give you a little background info on what I presented: We examined the correlation between one’s propensity towards eating with that towards drinking alcohol, using the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ) and the Alcohol Expectancy Questionnaire (AEQ) to assess the two variables. We found significant positive correlations between the subscales, showing that the psychological mechanisms behind eating and drinking were similar! It makes me wonder if this might be one of the reasons why overeating and binge drinking are two of the most common problems among college students.”

This summer Patricia will be interning at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, which is supervised by Dr. Brian Wansink, the author of “Mindless Eating” and “Slim by Design”! We’re sure the internship will be super interesting and that she will do an amazing job, as she always does!

Good job Patricia!!

Listen to Dr.T’s KPCC Air Talk!

If you weren’t able to listen to Dr.T’s great talk about parents’ misperception of kids’ body size, and how to talk to children about weight, on KPCC’s Air Talk with Larry Mantle yesterday, here is the link!!  You do not want to miss this!


Dr. T on the radio today!

Dr. T will be on KPCC’s Air Talk with Larry Mantle today, at around 11:40 am (on 89.3 in the Southern California area, kpcc.org for everywhere else)! Tune in to catch her talk with Larry about parents’ misperception of kids’ body size. We’ll post a link to the interview later, in case you miss it. Good luck Dr. T!

Congratulations Elaine!

Even more exciting graduate school news from our wonderful research assistants; Elaine Yao, one of our former RAs, just got accepted to Pepperdine University’s Master’s program in Clinical Psychology with Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy!

“Thanks to Dr. Tomiyama, my application process was as easy as can be! Dr. T devoted her time to work with the RAs on our grad school applications such as our CVs, Personal Statements, and even invited UCLA’s current grad students for a Q&A session. When the time came for me to apply, I already had everything laid out and knew exactly how to present myself”, Elaine says.

Throughout her two years in the DiSH lab, Elaine was involved in several studies, and also coordinated all of our social media outlets. She was a great asset, and even though we miss having her in the DiSH lab, we are very happy that she is doing so well!

“Being on the DiSH lab team was a great learning experience for me. I’m going to miss my time there, but I am excited to start a new path towards therapy. Go DiSH Lab!!!”, Elaine says.

Best of luck to you Elaine! We can’t wait to see what else you are going to accomplish!