Lauren O’Connor, PhD, MPH

Special Volunteer
Risk Factor Assessment Branch, Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program

E-mail: lauren.o'

  • PhD – Nutrition Science (with a concentration in human clinical nutrition), Purdue University
  • MPH – Epidemiological and Biostatistical Methods for Public Health and Clinical Research, Johns Hopkins University
  • BS – Dietetics and Nutrition, Fitness, and Health, Purdue University


Dr. O’Connor is a Special Volunteer with the Risk Factor Assessment Branch (RFAB) of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP). She was previously a Cancer Prevention Fellow in RFAB from September 2019 to November 2021. In this role, she worked with Dr. Kirsten Herrick and others in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) on projects applying a causal inference lens to associations between protein-rich foods, processed foods, and chronic disease prevention. Dr. O’Connor also assisted in maintenance of publicly available dietary assessment tools developed by RFAB including the Automated Self-Administered Dietary Assessment Tool (ASA24), the Dietary History Questionnaire (DHQ), and dietary screeners.

During her doctoral education, Dr. O’Connor completed the Ingestive Behavior Research Center certificate and served as Vice President of the Ingestive Behavior Research Center Graduate Student Association. Her doctoral dissertation showed that red meat intake does not negatively influence cardiometabolic disease risk factors in a series of systematically searched meta-analyses. She also led a randomized controlled feeding trial which showed that red meat can be part of a Mediterranean-style eating pattern to improve cardiometabolic disease risk factors, sleep, and perceived quality of life.

Also, as a doctoral student, she was deemed four times as a Clinical Emerging Leader by the American Society for Nutrition. Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences named her as the 2018 Outstanding Doctoral Student.

Select Publications

O'Connor LE, Gifford CL, Woerner DR, Sharp JL, Belk KE, Campbell WW. Dietary Meat Categories and Descriptions in Chronic Disease Research Are Substantively Different within and between Experimental and Observational Studies: A Systematic Review and Landscape Analysis. Adv Nutr. 2019 Aug 13.

Guasch-Ferré M, Satija A, Blondin SA, Janiszewski M, Emlen E, O'Connor LE, Campbell WW, Hu FB, Willett WC, Stampfer MJ. Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials of Red Meat Consumption in Comparison With Various Comparison Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Circulation. 2019 Apr 9;139(15):1828-1845.

O'Connor LE, Biberstine SL, Paddon-Jones D, Schwichtenberg AJ, Campbell WW. Adopting a Mediterranean-Style Eating Pattern with Different Amounts of Lean Unprocessed Red Meat Does Not Influence Short-Term Subjective Personal Well-Being in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. J Nutr. 2018 Dec 1;148(12):1917-1923.

O'Connor LE, Li J, Sayer RD, Hennessy JE, Campbell WW. Short-Term Effects of Healthy Eating Pattern Cycling on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: Pooled Results from Two Randomized Controlled Trials. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 10;10(11). pii: E1725.

O'Connor LE, Paddon-Jones D, Wright AJ, Campbell WW. A Mediterranean-style eating pattern with lean, unprocessed red meat has cardiometabolic benefits for adults who are overweight or obese in a randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Jul 1;108(1):33-40.

Gifford CL, O'Connor LE, Campbell WW, Woerner DR, Belk KE. Broad and Inconsistent Muscle Food Classification Is Problematic for Dietary Guidance in the U.S. Nutrients. 2017 Sep 16;9(9). pii: E1027.

O'Connor LE, Kim JE, Campbell WW. Total red meat intake of ≥0.5 servings/d does not negatively influence cardiovascular disease risk factors: a systemically searched meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jan;105(1):57-69.

Kim JE, O'Connor LE, Sands LP, Slebodnik MB, Campbell WW. Effects of dietary protein intake on body composition changes after weight loss in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Rev. 2016 Mar;74(3):210-24.

Li J, O'Connor LE, Zhou J, Campbell WW. Exercise patterns, ingestive behaviors, and energy balance. Physiol Behav. 2014 Jul;134:70-5.

Brown ON, O'Connor LE, Savaiano D. Mobile MyPlate: a pilot study using text messaging to provide nutrition education and promote better dietary choices in college students. J Am Coll Health. 2014;62(5):320-7.