Postdoctoral Fellows

Deepti Chittamuru, PhD

Portrait of Deepti ChittamuruEmail:

Dr. Chittamuru is a behavioral scientist and mixed methods researcher whose research is at the intersection of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) and public health with an emphasis on social justice and health equity. Her current research examines how technology might be leveraged to improve health outcomes for marginalized and underserved populations both globally and locally. Before joining UC Merced, she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Program for Sexuality, Technology, and Action Research (PSTAR) in the Department of Family and Community Health, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Chittamuru earned a PhD in Communication from the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, a Masters in Information Management and Systems from the School of Information, University of California Berkeley and a Bachelors in Computer Science and Systems Engineering from Andhra University. She has extensive experience in designing, deploying and evaluating technology-based interventions in a wide variety of contexts such as public health, public education and agriculture.


Jaapna Dhillon, PhD

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Jaapna Dhillon is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the School of Natural Sciences at the University of California, Merced. She has a PhD in Nutrition Science with a focus in Ingestive Behavior. Prior to acquiring a PhD, she received a Masters of Science degree in Nutrition Science with a focus in Community Nutrition and an undergraduate degree in Bioinformatics. Her current research examines 1) the effects of functional foods on health in minority populations, 2) pre-ingestive controls of nutrition, and 3) development of computational models to predict metabolic risk.


Cristina Lidon-Moyano, PhD

Portrait of Cristina Lidon-MoyanoEmail:

Cristina Lidón-Moyano is a post-doctoral researcher and epidemiologist with statistics background, currently working in the Public Health Unit at UC Merced, whose main expertise is on tobacco control policies including smoking behaviors and second and third hand smoke, measured by questionnaire and biomarkers. Recently Cristina has expanded her research interests to other risk taking behavior as self-harm behaviors and substance abuse (opioids). Cristina grew up in Spain, Barcelona, and received her BA in statistics from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in 2013.


Steven Ramondt, PhD

Email: sramondt@ucmerced.eduPortrait of Steven Ramondt

Dr. Ramondt earned a PhD in Health Psychology at UC Merced in 2018. His dissertation research aimed to characterize news coverage of air pollution and health and its effects on health beliefs including fatalism, protective health behaviors, and support for environmental issues. Steven is particularly interested in reducing the adverse health effects of air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley. Steven earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication from the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. His published research has examined media exposure and fatalism and perspectives of environmental health risks.


Maria-Elena Young, MPH, PhD

Email: myoung38@ucmerced.eduPortrait of Maria-Elena Young

Dr. Young is a researcher who examines the impact of immigration policies on public health. Her studies have employed both quantitative and qualitative methods to understand how access to health care and health status are shaped by both federal policies, such as those that increase immigration enforcement, and state policies, such as those that restrict or expand rights and protections for noncitizens. She is the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Merced and project director of the Research on Immigrant Health and State Policy (RIGHTS) Study at the Center for Health Policy Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. She completed her PhD in Community Health Sciences at UCLAand holds a Masters in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health from the University of California, Los Angeles and a BA in Spanish from Swarthmore College.