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Susan Schembre, Ph.D., R.D.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Science, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Bio Statement

Research Goals: To reduce the risk of obesity-related cancers through the prevention of excessive weight gain promote successful weight loss in populations at high risk for obesity-related cancers and chronic disease (primary prevention), and to work with cancer survivors to promote healthy weight control (tertiary prevention).

Research interests: My research interests include assessing weight-related eating behaviors and the contextual factors (e.g., environmental, neurological, physiological, and psychological) that promote obesity using multiple technological and non-technological methodologies; applying theories of behavior change and the multiple health behavior approach to understanding the initiation and maintenance behaviors that influence energy balance (physical activity and dietary intake); exploring the neural and genetic determinants of excessive weight gain; and developing innovative weight control interventions in young adults and cancer survivors. Additionally, I have an interest in contributing to others’ diet-related projects as a consulting research dietitian.


Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1155 Pressler St.
Unit Number: 1330
Houston, TX 77030
Room Number: CPB3.3263
Phone: 713-563-5858
Fax: 713-745-4286

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

2009 University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, PHD, Nutrition & Food Sciences
2006 University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, MS, Nutrition & Food Sciences
1998 University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, BS, Civil Engineering

Postgraduate Training

2011-2012 Postdoctoral Fellowship , Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research (T32 CA 009492-27), University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
2009-2011 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Nutritional Epidemiology and Behavioral Cancer Prevention in a Multiethnic Population (R25 CA 90956), University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, HI


Administrative Appointments/Responsibilities

Member, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2014-present
Board Member, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 9/2013-present
Moderator, Division of OVP, Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2013-present

Other Appointments/Responsibilities

Clinical Dietitian, Rhode Island Free Clinic, Providence, RI, 2007-2009
Food Service Manager, Dietetic Internship, Memorial Hospital, Pawtucket, RI, 2007
Community Nutritionist, University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI, 2007
Clinical Nutritionist, The Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI, 2007
Civil Engineer, Lincoln Environmental, LLC, Smithfield, RI, 1998-2001

Institutional Committee Activities

Member, Faculty Health and Well-Being, 9/2013-present

Honors and Awards

2009 Outstanding Dissertation in Life Sciences, Sigma Xi

Professional Memberships

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Member, 2009-present
American Association for Cancer Research
Member, 2014-present
Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society
Member, 2009-present
Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior
Member, 2012-present
Society of Behavioral Medicine
Member, 2010-present
The Obesity Society
Member, 2009-present

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Schembre, S.M., Durand, C.P., Blissmer, B.J., Greene, G.W. Development and validation of the Cognitive Behavioral Physical Activity Questionnaire. AM J of Health Promot. In Press.
2. Horwath CC, Schembre SM, Motl RW, Dishman RK, Nigg CR. Does the transtheoretical model of behavior change provide a useful basis for interventions to promote fruit and vegetable consumption? Am J of Health Promot 27(6):351-7, Jul-Aug, 7/2013. e-Pub 2/2013. PMCID: PMC3832182.
3. Kim Y, Wilkens LR, Schembre SM, Henderson BE, Kolonel LN, Goodman MT. Insufficient and excessive amounts of sleep increase the risk of premature death from cardiovascular and other diseases: The Multiethnic Cohort Study. Prev Med 57(4). e-Pub 6/2013. PMCID: PMC3947517.
4. Schembre SM, Wen F, Shen E, Nguyen-Rodriguez ST, Belcher BR, Berman LJ, Davis JN, Goran MI, Weigensberg MJ, Spruijt-Metz D. Eating breakfast more frequently is cross-sectionally associated with greater physical activity and lower levels of adiposity in overweight Latina and African American girls. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 98(2), 2013. PMCID: PMC712545.
5. Dour CA, Horacek T, Schembre S.M, Lohse B, Hoerr S., Kattelmann K, White AA, Shoff S, Phillips B, Greene GW. Process evaluation of project WebHealth: A non-dieting web-based intervention for obesity prevention in college students. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 45(4), 2013. PMID: 23410994.
6. Schembre SM, Cheng I, Wilkens LR, Albright CL, Marchand le L. Variations in bitter-taste receptor genes, dietary intake, and colorectal adenoma risk. Nutr Cancer 65(7):982-90, 2013. e-Pub 10/2013. PMCID: PMC3836614.
7. Albright CL, Schembre SM, Steffen AD, Wilkens LR, Monroe KR, Yonemori KM, Murphy SP. Differences by Race/Ethnicity in Older Adults' Beliefs about the Relative Importance of Dietary Supplements vs Prescription Medications: Results from the SURE Study. J Acad Nutr Diet 112(8):1223-9, 8/2012. PMCID: PMC3415472.
8. Schembre SM, Albright CL, Lim U, Wilkens LR, Murphy SP, Novotny R, Ernst T, Chang L, Kolonel LN, Le Marchand L. Associations between weight-related eating behaviors and adiposity in postmenopausal Japanese American and white women. Physiol Behav 106(5):651-6, 7/2012. PMCID: PMC3377768.
9. Schembre SM, Geller KS. Psychometric properties and construct validity of the Weight-Related Eating Questionnaire in a diverse population. Obesity (Silver Spring) 19(12):2336-44, 12/2011. PMCID: PMC3163116.
10. Schembre SM, Nigg CR, Albright CL. Race/ethnic differences in desired body mass index and dieting practices among young women attending college in Hawai'i. Hawaii Med J 70(7 Suppl 1):32-6, 7/2011. PMCID: PMC3158449.
11. Morimoto Y, Schembre SM, Steinbrecher A, Erber E, Pagano I, Grandinetti A, Kolonel LN, Maskarinec G. Ethnic differences in weight gain and diabetes risk: the Multiethnic Cohort Study. Diabetes Metab 37(3):230-6, 6/2011. PMCID: PMC3556911.
12. Schembre SM, Yuen J. Project TwEATs: A feasibility study testing the use of automated text messaging to monitor appetite ratings in a free-living population. Appetite 56(2):465-8, 4/2011. PMCID: PMC3055950.
13. Greene GW, Schembre SM, White AA, Hoerr SL, Lohse B, Shoff S, Horacek T, Riebe D, Patterson J, Phillips BW, Kattelmann KK, Blissmer B. Identifying clusters of college students at elevated health risk based on eating and exercise behaviors and psychosocial determinants of body weight. J Am Diet Assoc 111(3):394-400, 3/2011. PMID: 21338738.
14. Schembre SM, Riebe DA. Non-exercise estimation of VO(2)max using the international physical activity questionnaire. Meas Phys Educ Exerc Sci 15(3):168-181, 1/2011. PMCID: PMC3173948.
15. Lofgren I, Greene G, Schembre S, Delmonico MJ, Riebe D, Clark P. Comparison of diet quality, physical activity and biochemical values of older adults either reporting or not reporting use of lipid-lowering medication. J Nutr Health Aging 14(2):168-72, 2/2010. PMCID: PMC3832183.
16. Schembre S, Greene G, Melanson K. Development and validation of a weight-related eating questionnaire. Eat Behav 10(2):119-24, 4/2009. PMID: 19447354.
17. O’Reilly, G., Huh, J., Schembre, S.M., Tate, E.B., Penz, M.A., Dunton, G. Association of dietary intake with real-time measures of mood in children. International Journal of Obesity. Submitted.
18. Belcher, B.R., Chou, C.P., Berrigan, D., Nguyen-Rodrigues, S.T. Schembre, S.M., Davis, J., Goran, M.I., Weigensberg, M.J., Spruijt-Metz, D. High fiber meals result in a better metabolic profile but less physical activity than high sugar meals in overweight Hispanic adolescents. Obesity. Submitted.
19. He, Q., Xiao, L., Xue, G., Wong, S., Ames, S., Schembre, S.M., Bechara, A. Poor ability to resist tempting calorie rich food is linked to altered balance between neural systems involved in urge and self-control. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. Submitted.


1. O'Reilly G, Huh J, Schembre SM, Dunton G. Dietary intake is associated with real-time measures of positive affect and energetic feeling in children. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 45(Supp 2):S213, 2013.
2. Tate EB, Schembre SM, O'Reilly G, Pentz MA, Dunton G. How do parents’ levels of anhedonia and stress contribute to weight-related parenting practices, child dietary fat intake, and child BMI percentile?. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 45(Supp 2):S26, 2013.
3. Schembre SM, Keller S., Fridlund Dunton G, Spruijt-Metz D. Using ecological momentary assessment to predict maladaptive eating events. Symposium. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 41(Supp1)(S138), 2012.
4. Schembre SM, Cheng I, Wilkens L, Albright C, Le Marchand L. Genetic sensitivity to bitter taste, dietary intakes, and colorectal adenoma risk. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 41(Supp 1)(S154), 2011.
5. Schembre SM. Project TwEATs: Developing a novel method for assessing 'eating in the absence of hunger' in a free-living population. Obesity 19(Supp 1)(S134), 2011.
6. Schembre SM, Yuen J. The feasibility of using automated text-messages to monitor appetite ratings continuously in a free-living population. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 41(Supp 1)(S100), 2011.
7. Schembre SM. ‘Reliance on internal cues’ to eat is inversely related to BMI, emotional eating, and perceived overeating. Obesity 11(11(1):T4:PO):454, 2010.
8. Schembre SM. Energy balance and external eating: the influence of reliance on internal cues. Society Behavorial Medicine, 2010.
9. Dour C, Horacek T, Shoff S, Schembre S, Greene G, Kattleman K, Lohse B, Phillips B. Process evaluation of project WebHealth: Behavior change intervention for obesity prevention in young adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 110(A91), 2010.
10. Maskarinec G, Morimoto Y, Schembre SM, Steinbrecher A, Pagano I, Grandinetti A, Kolonel LN. Weight gain since age 21 and risk for diabetes: The multiethnic cohort. Obesity 11(1):T4:OS4.2, 2010.
11. Schembre S, Kresge D, Melanson K, Greene G. Perceived hunger in young adults susceptible to external and emotional eating. The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology 23(LB424.1), 2009.
12. Shoff SM, Nuss E, Horacek T, Boyle C, Lohse B, Patterson J, Krall J, White A, Mathews D, Schembre S, and Greene G. Sleep quality is associated with eating behavior in 18-24 year old college students. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 41(4):S8-S9, 2009.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: (PQA1) Gut-microbiome-brain interactions in hedonic eating behaviors
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Duration: 9/1/2014 - 8/31/2016
Title: Obesity and brain reward sensitivity: and ERP study
Funding Source: IRG
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 6/15/2013 - 6/14/2014
Title: Startup Funds
Funding Source: The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 8/12/2012 - 7/31/2017

Last updated: 6/2/2014