Graduate Program Faculty

Maria Boccia, Ph.D.

Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences

Graduate Program Director for FSC


  • Ph.D.
  • D.Min.
  • MA, NT

Areas of Interest and Research:

Developmental neuroscience: social and neurohormonal factors in the formation and disruption of attachment relationships.


Prior to coming to Baylor, Maria L Boccia conducted biomedical research, studying the neuroscience of attachment and maternal & sexual behavior. In addition, she was the Director of Graduate Programs in Counseling at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Charlotte, where she taught and directed the training of Masters students in Christian counseling. She has also held faculty appointments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, and Oklahoma Baptist University. She has several advanced degrees, including an MA in New Testament from Denver Seminary, a Ph.D. in Zoology from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a D.Min. in Marriage & Family Therapy from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a licensed marriage & family therapist (MFT) in Texas and North Carolina, a Texas MFT supervisor, American Association of MFT clinical supervisor, and a certified Christian sex therapist.


LesLee K. Funderburk Ph.D., RD, CSSD, CSCS

Assistant Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences

Nutrition Sciences


  • Ph.D. University of Washington
  • MS, Central Michigan University
  • BS, Eastern Washington University


  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) - Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) - National Association of Sports Commissions


  • Research Methods
  • Nutrition Education and Counseling
  • Life Cycle Nutrition


My research interests are focused on the promotion of quality nutritional intake and healthy body weight and composition.


Leigh Greathouse, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Family and Consumer Sciences

Nutrition Sciences




Dr. Leigh Greathouse is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition Sciences at Baylor University. Before coming to Baylor, Dr. Greathouse received her masters degree in exercise and sports nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. She went on to obtain a Ph.D. In molecular carcinogenesis at University of Texas and MD Anderson Cancer Center, where she studied the effects of early life exposure to dietary and environmental xenoestrogens on development of reproductive tract disease. Dr. Greathouse continued her research in cancer prevention at the National Cancer Institute, where she completed her masters in public health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and postdoctoral fellowship in cancer prevention. While at the NCI, her research was focused on the impact of obesity and the microbiome on lung cancer risk. At Baylor, she continues this research where her laboratory focuses on understanding how the relationship between diet, obesity and the microbiome impact risk for colon cancer.


Our laboratory seeks to understand the relationship between diet, obesity and the microbiome, and their impact on risk of colon cancer.


Recipient of the National Institutes of Health Merit Award

Consultant for Sevident Inc.


Michelle Law, Ph.D., RD

Assistant Professor in Nutrition Sciences

Research Area:

  • Cancer cachexia
  • Cardiac dysfunction
  • Metabolism
  • Calcium handling

The overarching goal of my research is to identify mechanisms and potential therapeutic strategies for cancer cachexia. Cachexia, a muscle and adipose wasting syndrome, significantly decreases both quality and length of life in patients suffering from advanced cancers. Currently, my focus is to elucidate mechanisms of cardiac muscle dysfunction in cachexia and how decreased cardiac performance may contribute to cachexia pathogenesis. I work with an animal model of cachexia and employ techniques in physiology, molecular biology, and biochemistry to measure heart function and identify changes in protein and gene expression that contribute to functional changes. I am particularly interested in the role of altered calcium handling and metabolism in the progression of cardiac dysfunction in cachexia.


  • NUTR 2351: Nutrition
  • NUTR 5355: Macronutrients and Metabolism
  • NUTR 5356: Micronutrients and Phytochemicals

April J. Stull, Ph.D., RDN, FAND

Associate Professor in Nutrition Sciences


Dr. Stull has a research background in clinical nutrition interventions and glucose metabolism. Her research interests are focused on polyphenol-rich foods and other functional foods, and their effects on the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome (i.e, pre-diabetes, obesity, and hypertension). Her research findings have shown that consuming blueberries improved insulin sensitivity, endothelial function, oxidative stress, and inflammation in adults with metabolic syndrome. The overall goal is to identify healthy foods that may help prevent or delay the progression of metabolic syndrome risk factors from developing into chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease. Dr. Stull has been the Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-PI on several funded federal (NIH K01, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) and non-profit (United States Highbush Blueberry Council and Cherry Marketing Institute) grants.

Research Interest:

  • Clinical nutrition interventions
  • Functional foods (provide health benefits beyond the essential nutrients)
  • Polyphenol-rich foods
  • Metabolic syndrome (i.e., pre-diabetes, obesity, and hypertension)

Teaching Focus:

Dr. Stull’s teaching experience and interests include undergraduate and graduate nutrition courses related to health and disease, and interdisciplinary nutrition courses that integrate nutrition and biochemistry. She has taught at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (Princess Anne, MD), Purdue University Global (formerly known as Kaplan University) and Our Lady of the Lake College (Baton Rouge, LA).

Current Courses Taught:

  • NUTR 2351 Nutrition
  • NUTR 4200 Seminar in Nutrition Sciences
  • NUTR 5358 Emerging Issues in Food and Nutrition

Education and Training:

  • Ph.D, Nutrition Science, Purdue University
  • BS, Family and Consumer Sciences (Dietetics Concentration), Southern University and A&M College
  • Dietetic Internship, Southern University and A&M College
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Pennington Biomedical Research Center

Professional Experience:

  • Associate Professor, Baylor University (Waco, TX)
  • Associate Professor and Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD), University of Maryland Eastern Shore (Princess Anne, MD)
  • Research Assistant Professor, Pennington Biomedical Research Center (Baton Rouge, LA)

Service to the Discipline:

Dr. Stull has held many leadership positions within academia and professional organizations. She served as Chair of the Early Career Nutrition Interest Group (2013-2014) and Minority and Diversity Affairs Committee (2017-2018) for the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). In the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr. Stull was appointed to the Board of Editors for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (June, 2018 – Present) and also serves as the Nominating Committee Chair-Elect (2020-2021) for a member interest group within the Academy (NOBIDAN). Of notable honor, Dr. Stull was named a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FAND) in May 2019. Additionally, Dr. Stull was honored by her alma maters (Southern University and Purdue University) for her service to the community and accomplishments in the field of nutrition.