Debra Sullivan, PhD, RD, received both her undergraduate and master’s degrees in nutrition and medical dietetics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She received her doctorate in nutritional sciences from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Her research program is focused on how diet influences health. In particular she focuses on prevention and treatment of obesity and its co-morbid conditions. She also maintains a nutrition assessment laboratory in order to conduct measurement of dietary intake and body composition.
In Fall 2009, Sullivan received the Midwest Dairy Council Endowed Professorship in Clinical Nutrition. Press release
Sullivan worked clinically as a registered dietitian while completing her doctorate and has over 10 years experience as a clinical dietitian.
Sullivan is evaluating the impact of dairy intake on the blood pressure and body composition of children in a large, school-based study. In addition, she provides nutrition expertise in collaboration on several studies with researchers from the Energy Balance Laboratory on KU's Lawrence campus. These projects include a YMCA afterschool daycare project to improve nutrient quality of afterschool snacks and increase physical activity of children, and several adult weight loss projects exploring the impact of weight loss on cancer risk. Sullivan is also engaged in studies designed to promote weight loss in adults with serious mental illness as well as those with intellectual and developmental delays.