College of Public Health and Health Professions graduates Michael von Fricken, Ph.D., and Laura Zahodne, Ph.D., were selected as University of Florida Outstanding Young Alumni for 2018.
Von Fricken is a 2014 graduate of the environmental health doctoral program and a 2011 graduate of the master’s in public health program with a concentration in epidemiology. His doctoral work focused on malaria elimination in Haiti, and after finishing his Ph.D., he took a postdoctoral position with Duke University where he studied tick-borne diseases in Mongolia.
Currently, he is an assistant professor in the department of global and community health at George Mason University’s College of Health and Human Services. He teaches graduate classes on infectious diseases and epidemiology and continues his vector-borne disease research in Haiti and Mongolia. He is also a research associate with the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute, assisting with ongoing projects in Kenya and Myanmar.
Zahodne is a 2012 graduate of the doctoral program in clinical psychology. After graduation, she completed a neuropsychology residency at Brown University and a postdoctoral training program in neuropsychology and cognition in aging at Columbia University.
In 2016, she moved to the University of Michigan, where she is an assistant professor of psychology. She directs an active research lab dedicated to demonstrating how psychosocial and cultural variation influence risk and expression of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to building a cohort of older adult participants in Detroit, she continues to collaborate on existing epidemiologic studies in the U.S. and abroad. She recently obtained a grant to investigate psychosocial mechanisms underlying racial/ethnic disparities in Alzheimer’s disease in New York City.