College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Kia Fuller is a Ph.D. candidate at UF who is broadly interested in understanding the underlying causes of health disparities. Specifically, she aims to develop models of disparities incorporating genetic and socio-cultural data to more thoroughly understand the factors involved in disease etiology and severity in minority groups and in women. Her overall goal in pursuing this line of research is to produce information that will enable public health initiatives to more effectively address these discrepancies in health outcomes.
As a graduate research assistant under Dr. Connie Mulligan at UF, Kia has worked on understanding the genetic association of hypertension in African Americans. Through collaboration with members of the UF’s Department of Anthropology, including Dr. Chris McCarty (creator of the social network analyzing program EgoNet) and Dr. Lance Gravlee (a distinguished medical anthropologist), she has also moved into the field of social networks and has become more experienced incorporating social network and other socio-cultural data into a biocultural framework with genetic data. Currently, Kia is working on constructing haplotypes for specific loci to include in the model (which currently includes ACE gene polymorphisms and social network measures) which she is developing to explain genetic and cultural basis for variation in systolic and diastolic blood pressure in African Americans.
Kia plans to pursue a career in academia and has taken every opportunity to develop her research skills and to gain experience in teaching and outreach.