Jacqueline A. Vernarelli, Ph.D.

Jacqueline A. Vernarelli, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor , Health Science and Leadership

Dr. Jacqueline Vernarelli is a nutritional epidemiologist and public health nutritionist who studies how diet and lifestyle behaviors influence health status. Prior to coming to Sacred Heart, she held academic appointments at Fairfield University and Penn State, where she was also a member of the Penn State Population Research Institute. She professionally consults, and has served as an expert witness for various statistical and nutrition-related projects. She currently serves as the Director of Research Education and Consultation for the College of Health Professions at Sacred Heart University.

Degrees and Certifications

    • Ph.D. Medical Nutrition Science, Boston University School of Medicine
    • MS Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Georgetown University
    • BS Biochemistry, Skidmore College

Teaching Responsibilities

    • Research Methods
    • Biostatistics
    • Epidemiology
    • Public Health Nutrition

Research Interests and Grants

    Dr. Vernarelli’s research broadly focuses nutrition (including food choice, eating behaviors and nutritional status) and health status.  She also works in the community, exploring public health challenges related to nutritional intake in the local population. Her current research involves:

    • Population health analysis, especially involving NHANES data
    • Diet assessment methodology
    • Environmental influences of food choice
    • Maternal and child nutrition
    • Food insecurity and nutritional status

    Dr. Vernarelli has supervised several graduate and undergraduate student research projects. Her students have published peer-reviewed manuscripts and been recognized nationally for their work, presenting posters at conference and receiving awards for outstanding research from the Scientista Foundation and the American Society for Nutrition.


    2018-2019: CSTI Pilot Grant. (PI: K. Kordas) Is there a lead diet? Harnessing population-based evidence for translatable public health messages on lowering childhood lead exposure.

    2017: Fairfield University Science Institute Grant Award. Evaluating the role of dietary intake on locomotor development in children age 3-5y.

    2016: Fairfield University Faculty Research Grant. Investigating the Association Between Dietary Energy Density, Gestational Diabetes, and Infant Birth Weight in a Nationally Representative Sample of US Women

    2012-2014: The Egg Board Research Grant. (PI: B Lohse) Translating Diet and Health Attributes of Egg Consumption to an Intervention Designed to Enhance Diet Quality of Low-Income Women. Role: Co-investigator

    2011-2014; American Institute of Cancer Research Grant. (PI: TJ Hartman). Dietary energy density, body size, and biomarkers related to cancer risk. Role: Co-investigator

Awards and Fellowships

    • American Society for Nutrition Translational Research Award Honoree, 2016
    • Teaching Excellence Award, Penn State College of Health & Human Development, 2014
    • NIH Dietary Supplement Research Practicum Travel Award, 2013
    • National Nutrient Databank Conference Travel Award, 2012

Publications and Presentations

Jacqueline Vernarelli, Ph.D., Faculty Profile headshot

Contact Information

Office Location & Hours

  • Location:
    Health Science and Leadership
    Ctr for Healthcare Education
    College of Health Professions
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