The environmental nutrition team brings together a wide range of experience, skills and specialties. As a core strength, the team combines a range of disciplines including epidemiology, nutrition, environmental health, biology, and environmental science. Our skills include environmental assessment, food life cycle assessment, statistical analysis, and Geographical Information Systems applications.

Current Researcher

Joan Sabate, MD, DrPH

Joan Sabate, MD, DrPH

Joan has a doctoral degree in public health nutrition, and has worked in the area of Environmental Nutrition for over 10 years. He has a broad, multidisciplinary background including nutrition, epidemiology, and statistics. He was Chair of the nutrition department at Loma Linda University for 17 years and led many research projects to completion. Currently, Joan is the co-Director of the Environmental Nutrition research program at Loma Linda University.

Nazanin Abbaspour

Nazanin Abbaspour

Nazanin is a postdoctoral fellow at the Environmental Nutrition group of Loma Linda University. She comes from an agricultural-water engineering background with a Master’s degree in water resouces management. She has also completed a Master’s degree in Nutritional Sciences and is a Registered Dietitian. Her Ph.D. was in an interdisciplinary project of nutritional, environmental, and food and agricultural studies from ETH University (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich, Switzerland. Her primary interests are Environmental Nutrition, interdisciplinary studies, clinical trial studies in nutrition, and functional and integrative nutrition.

Previous Members

Andrew Berardy, PhD

Andrew Berardy

Andrew was a postdoctoral fellow from 2020 to 2022. He has a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree, both in International Studies. He has a Doctor of Philosophy in Sustainability, which focused on sustainable food systems and plant-based diets. His research evaluated all stages of the life cycle of food. After working as a postdoctoral researcher studying the food-energy-water nexus and food waste at Arizona State University, he joined the LLU Environmental Nutrition team to examine links between environmental and health impacts of foods in the Adventist Health Study-2. He also looked at food waste in a hospital setting and he taught some environmental nutrition classes.

Ujué Fresán

Ujué Fresán

Ujué was a postdoctoral fellow from 2017 to 2019. She has a degree in Pharmacy, from the University of Navarra (Spain). She completed a PhD in Biomedicine, in the Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona, part of the Superior Council of Scientific Research (CSIC). Since then, she has been working as a post-doctoral researcher, first in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, in the University of Navarra, analyzing data from the cohort study of the SUN project, and then at LLU. In Navarra she analyzed relationships between nutrition and different chronic diseases´ risk, and she worked on environmental footprints of diets. At LLU she studied many factors of sustainability and environmental impacts, and made important contributions to the scientific literature.

Sam Soret, PhD

Sam Soret, PhD

Dr. Sam Soret was a founder of the environmental nutrition project. He was an environmental health scientist with a broad background in biology, air quality and public health, with specific training and expertise in medical geography and spatial analysis. He served as Director of the School’s Center for Community Resilience and as Associate Dean for Research. His key interests focused on the interrelations between agriculture, the food system and climate change. Sam was the co-Director of the Environmental Nutrition research program at Loma Linda University. Sam passed away in August 2016, but his positive impact on the climate still lives on.

Helen Harwatt, PhD

Helen Harwatt, PhD

Helen was an Environmental Nutrition research fellow at the Loma Linda University. For more than a decade, Helen has contributed to numerous environmental sustainability projects, with an emphasis on the climate change mitigation potential of behavioral change. Helen’s key interests focus on the potential contribution of sustainable diets to climate change mitigation, and assessing the sustainability of food systems from both environmental and nutritional perspectives, simultaneously.

Alfredo Mejia, DrPH

Alfredo Mejia, DrPH

Alfredo currently serves as Associate Professor at the Department of Public Health, Nutrition and Wellness, Andrews University. As part of the environmental nutrition team, he leads the life cycle assessment component. Alfredo is an expert user of the leading life cycle assessment software for professionals, SimaPro. He is currently leading the life cycle assessment of a large range of meat substitute products, including the data collection and analysis.

William Ripple, PhD

William Ripple, PhD

William is a Distinguished Professor of Ecology at Oregon State University, specializing in carnivores, mammal ecology, and biodiversity conservation. Additionally, he is an adjunct professor in Environmental Nutrition at Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health. He is a widely published researcher, lecturer, and prominent international figure in the field of ecology. Dr. Ripple also studies and publishes research about the environmental and climate effects of livestock and human carnivory (meat eating by humans).