Research Volunteers

Gracia Dala, RD

My name is Gracia Dala and I am a research volunteer with the Widen Lab. I am originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras and came to Texas to study nutrition and dietetics. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and completed my Dietetic Internship through the Coordinated Program in Dietetics at the University of Texas at Austin. I am Registered Dietitian (RD) and plan to use my nutrition knowledge to research the dietary intakes of Latinx women and children, both in the US and Latin America and create interventions that reduce malnutrition and food insecurity in these populations in a sustainable and culturally competent way.

Fun fact: I know the Cyrillic alphabet.

Anita Mahmood, MD

My name is Anita Mahmood. I am originally from Pakistan and I am an M.D. Currently, I am completing my pediatric residency in Baltimore, but I started working as a research volunteer in the Widen Lab in 2019 when I lived in Austin. My research interests are infant and childhood nutrition. My career goal is to become a pediatric subspecialist in an academic setting where I can continue doing clinical research!

Fun Fact: My medical school in Pakistan was actually a military-run institution, which is why I know how to march in a military parade and salute!

Jennifer Gonzalez, RN


Sophia Alvarado

My name is Sophia Alvarado and I am from Brownsville, TX, the southernmost U.S. border town with Mexico. I completed a Bachelor of Biological Sciences from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where I discovered my passion for nutrition through a research project in Exercise Metabolism. My research interests include Adolescent and Childhood Obesity as well as Food Science and Technology. Currently, I am completing a Master of Science in Nutritional Science from The University of Texas at Austin and helping with the MINT and MAGIC studies. My ultimate goal is to improve the nutritive value of food products by pursuing a career in food science.

Fun Fact: I spend most of the summer time at the beach (South Padre Island).