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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
Director, Bionutrition Research Core, 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

7/2011-7/2012 Research Fellowship, Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
7/2009-7/2011 Research Fellowship, Nutritional Epidemiology and Behavioral Cancer Prevention in a Multiethnic Population, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, HI
8/2008-10/2009 Dietetic Internship, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI


Academic Appointments

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, 2011-2012
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, Honolulu, HI, 2009-2011
Graduate Research Assistant, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, 2006-2009
Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI, 2004-2006

Other Appointments/Responsibilities

Clinical Nutritionist, Rhode Island Free Clinic, Providence, RI, 2007-2009
Civil Engineer, Lincoln Environmental, LLC, Smithfield, RI, 1998-2001

Institutional Committee Activities

Member, Faculty Mentoring Advisory Committee, 2014-present
Member, Junior Faculty Committee, 2014-present
Co-Founder and Co-Chair, Focus on Junior Faculty, 2013-present
Member-at-Large, Faculty Health & Well-Being, 2013-present
Member, eHealth Technology Program Advisory Board, 2013-present

Honors and Awards

2016 Award for Excellence in Reviewing, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
2015 Early Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar, Association of American Medical Colleges
2014 Rising Star Distinguished Achievement Award (Nominee), University of Rhode Island
2009 Outstanding Dissertation in Life Sciences, Sigma Xi
1998 Engineer-in-Training, National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
1997 Chi Epsilon National Civil Engineering Honor Society, University of Rhode Island

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Versace F, Kypriotakis G, Basen-Engquist K, Schembre SM. Heterogeneity in brain reactivity to pleasant and food cues: evidence of sign-tracking in humans. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. e-Pub 11/2015. PMID: 26609106.
2. Schembre SM, Durand CP, Blissmer BJ, Greene GW. Development and validation of the Cognitive Behavioral Physical Activity Questionnaire. Am J Health Promot 30(1):58-65, 10/2015. PMID: 25162324.
3. O'Reilly GA, Huh J, Schembre SM, Tate EB, Pentz MA, Dunton G. Association of usual self-reported dietary intake with ecological momentary measures of affective and physical feeling states in children. Appetite 92:314-321, 9/2015. e-Pub 5/2015. PMID: 26032196.
4. Huh J, Shiyko M, Keller S, Dunton G, Schembre SM. The time-varying association between perceived stress and hunger within and between days. Appetite 89(1):145-151, 2015. e-Pub 2/2015. PMID: 25666299.
5. He Q, Xiao L, Xue G, Wong S, Ames SL, Schembre SM, Bechara A. Poor ability to resist tempting calorie rich food is linked to altered balance between neural systems involved in urge and self-control. Nutr J 13(1):92, 2014. e-Pub 9/2014. PMCID: PMC4172871.
6. Schembre SM, Wen CK, Davis JN, Shen E, Nguyen-Rodriguez ST, Belcher BR, Hsu YW, Weigensberg MJ, Goran MI, 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. Am J Clin Nutr 98(2):275-81, 8/2013. e-Pub 6/2013. PMCID: PMC3712545.
7. 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.
8. Dour CA, Horacek TM, Schembre SM, Lohse B, Hoerr S, Kattelmann K, White AA, Shoff S, Phillips B, Greene G. Process evaluation of project WebHealth: A non-dieting web-based intervention for obesity prevention in college students. J Nutr Educ Behav 45(4):288-95, Jul-Aug, 7/2013. e-Pub 2/2013. PMID: 23410994.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. Greene GW, White AA, Hoerr SL, Lohse B, Schembre SM, Riebe D, Patterson J, Kattelmann KK, Shoff S, Horacek T, Blissmer B, Phillips BW. Impact of an online healthful eating and physical activity program for college students. Am J Health Promot 27(2):e47-58, Nov-Dec, 11/2012. PMID: 23113786.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Schembre SM, Geller KS. Psychometric properties and construct validity of the Weight-Related Eating Questionnaire in a diverse population. Obesity 19(12):2336-44, 12/2011. PMCID: PMC3163116.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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(Supp 1):32-6, 2011. PMCID: PMC3158449.
20. 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.
21. 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.


1. Pickering T, Schembre SM, Geller KS, Chou CP, Fridlund Dunton G, Spruijt-Metz D, Pentz MA. Cross-behavioral relationships of self-efficacy and intention to physical activity and dietary behaviors in adults. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 49(Supp 1):S23, 2015.
2. Versace F., Dirba, D.D., Gilchrist, T.R., Cortese, K.M., Ng, J., Slapin, A., Claiborne, K.N., Basen-Engquist, K., Schembre, S.M. Brain responses to food and other pleasant stimuli in overweight and lean individuals. Psychophysiology 51(Supp 1):S76, 2014.
3. Schembre SM, Dirba, DD, Gilchrist TR, Cortese KM, Ng J, Slapin A, Claiborne KN, Basen-Engquist, K, Versace F. Heterogeneity in attributing incentive salience to palatable food cues and other pleasant stimuli characterizes two neuro-behaviorally important endophenotypes of obesity. Obesity:T-2037-P,, 2014.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. Schembre SM. ‘Reliance on internal cues’ to eat is inversely related to BMI, emotional eating, and perceived overeating. Obesity 11(1):454, 2010.
10. Schembre SM. Energy balance and external eating: the influence of reliance on internal cues. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2010.
11. 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(9):A91, 2010.
12. 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.
13. 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(Supp):LB424.1, 2009.
14. 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.
15. Schembre S, Melanson K, Greene G, Riebe D. Assessment of the use of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire to Predict VO2max. Obesity 14(9):A145, 2006.
16. Schembre S, Melanson K, Greene G. Lifestyle and physiological predictors of dietary behaviors as determinants of weight gain in college students. Obesity 14(9):A226, 2006.

Book Chapters

1. Schembre SM. Weight-Related Eating Behavior Questionnaires: Applying Theory to Measurement. In: Handbook of behavior, food and nutrition. Ed(s) Preedy VR, Watson RR, Martin CR. Springer: New York, 3487-3506, 2011.

Letters to the Editor

1. Schembre SM Versace F. ‘Obesogenic’ oversimplification. Obesity Reviews 16(8):702-703, 2015.

Last updated: 12/4/2015