Gregory Pavela, PhD

Assistant Professor
Ryals 227K

My research examines the environmental determinants of health and obesity and emphasizes the importance of early life conditions to later health.

My research seeks to: 1) determine when and how environmental exposures “get under the skin” to affect human adiposity; 2) improve causal inferences about the effects of social status on adiposity; and 3) describe the reciprocal relationship between human physiology and the social environment.

My previous research indicated that the relationship between childhood conditions and adult BMI is not explained by adult neighborhood socioeconomic status. Although the incorporation of neighborhood socioeconomic status is an advancement over previous life-course research, it remained limited by a common methodological problem: individuals are not randomly assigned to neighborhoods. As a former NIH post-doctoral research fellow in the NORC and in collaboration with others, I helped to describe this problem in general terms and developed a partial solution: “packet randomized experiments.” The non-random assignment of adult social status poses another challenge to sociological research; therefore in collaboration with others, I developed a protocol to randomly assign social status to participants and measure its effects on food consumption.

Curriculum Vitae: