People

Lindsay Kobayashi, PhD

Principal Investigator

My research focuses on the social epidemiology of cognitive aging from a global perspective. I primarily use data from internationally harmonized longitudinal studies of aging, including older populations of England, Canada, the United States, and South Africa. My current research is on the life course social and economic determinants of cognitive aging in rural South Africa using longitudinal and randomized exposure measures. I am also investigating the population health implications of continually improving cancer survival rates at older ages in the United States. The goal of my research program is to inform policy solutions to improve cognitive health and health equity among low-income older populations.

Outside of work, I enjoy long-distance running, traveling, playing with my dog Zola, and being outside as much as I can!

Ashly Westrick, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I earned a B.S. in microbiology from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Miami.

My current research interests include epidemiological methods, health inequalities in cancer, social determinants of health, and the influence of the neighborhood environment on health outcomes.  

In my downtime, I like to travel, read, and get outside to enjoy nature and be active.

Brendan O’Shea, MPH

Research Associate

I am a recent MPH graduate in Epidemiology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I began working with Dr. Kobayashi during my Masters program where she served as my Capstone project advisor looking at the impact of adverse childhood experiences on the rate of memory decline in mid-to-later life. I joined the Kobayashi Research Group following graduation and took part in launching the COVID-19 Coping Study. I currently serve as the main data analyst for the COVID-19 Coping Study.

My research interests include impacts of early-life environment on adult behaviors, and fundamental causes of health inequities.

In my free time, I enjoy photography, acrylic painting, and spending time outside.

Haeyoon Chang, MPH

Second Year PhD Student

My name is Haeyoon Chang, and I’m a second-year PhD student in Epidemiology at University of Michigan. I received my MPH in Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, and my Bachelor’s degree in Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

I served in the Peace Corps Tonga 2013-2015 where I collaborated with a local medical provider on developing accessible skill-building materials on nutrition to combat the local obesity issues. Additionally, I’ve developed an appreciation for global health research from experiences such as investigating challenges to cardiometabolic management in rural Uganda and examining cardiometabolic disparities among American Indian elders using mixed-methods at Partnerships for Native Health located in Seattle, WA.

Outside of work, I enjoy exploring nature, critiquing ice cream, crafting, and cooking!

Xuexin Yu, MSc

Second Year PhD Student

I earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Hospital Management and Health Policy, both from Sichuan University, China. I served as a Research Associate at Biomedical Big Data Center, West China Hospital, Sichuan University for two years before joining Dr. Kobayashi’s research group in the fall of 2021.

I am interested in social epidemiologic patterns of brain health across low-, middle-, and high-income countries. During my doctoral studies, I plan to investigate the cumulative effects of socioeconomic trajectories on cognitive aging among older adults, primarily using international harmonized survey data from South Africa, China, and United States.

I enjoy traveling outside of work.

Tsai-Chin (TC) Cho, MSc

First Year PhD Student

I am a first-year PhD student in Epidemiology at University of Michigan. My research interests revolve around social and contextual determinants of within- and between-country health disparities in older adults; and impacts of neighborhood characteristics on health outcomes and healthcare utilization. I am currently participating in the project focusing on how social and economic factors influence cognitive functions using cross-national comparative longitudinal studies.

Outside of work, I like to read, enjoy tasty coffee with pleasant aftertaste, and go for a walk.

Nasya Tan, MPH

Fourth Year PhD Student

I received my Bachelor of Arts, Psychology degree from Azusa Pacific University in 2011 and my MPH degree from Claremont Graduate University in 2013. From 2013 to 2019, I worked as a data manager and analyst on several NIH-funded research projects at several different universities. I entered University of Michigan’s PhD in Epidemiologic Science program in 2019. 

My research interests include D/deaf and hard-of-hearing populations, health disparities and inequalities, and social determinants of health. 

In my free time, I enjoy watching tv shows and movies, traveling, and spending time with my dog and loved ones. 

Chihua Li, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

I earned my Bachelor degree in Biotechnology from the Beijing Institute of Technology. Moving on to Columbia University where I earned both, my MPH and PhD.

I have an interest in studying the development and management of chronic diseases among elderly populations.

I like exercise training and cooking.

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