Academic Credentials
  • M.P.H., Public Health, Purdue University, 2018
  • Ph.D., Food Science, Purdue University, 2018
  • B.S., Nutritional Sciences, Biochemistry, University of Missouri, Columbia, 2014
Professional Honors
  • Achievement Award, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2022
  • Excellence Award, Exponent Inc., 2019
  • Certificate of Excellence in Research Award, Purdue University, 2018
  • Mentored Platform Presenter Award, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 2018
  • Rose Marie Pangborn Sensory Scholarship, 2017
Professional Affiliations
  • Institute of Food Technologists, Washington DC Section Board Member, August 2019 – August 2023
  • American Society for Nutrition, Member, 2015 - Present
  • Purdue University Ingestive Behavior Research Center, Executive Committee Member, 2016 – 2018

Kelly Higgins is a clinical nutrition scientist with ten years of experience evaluating complex relationships between diet, behavior, and health. Dr. Higgins' is an ingestive behavior expert, with specialized experience investigating the multidisciplinary study of why people eat what they eat, when they eat it, and how this affects health. Her technical skills include experimental design and management of clinical trials, biostatistics, and systematic review methodology. She has applied these skills to aid clients in the development of clinical trial protocols, assessments of food and nutrient consumption patterns of nationally representative populations, and critical reviews of health benefits and risks of dietary exposures.

Prior to Exponent, Dr. Higgins was a Nutrition Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Food Components and Health Laboratory (FCHL). In this role, Dr. Higgins' conducted clinical research investigating the effect of sensory properties and palatability of the diet on body composition and ingestive behavior. Dr. Higgins led initiatives to design and commence multiple controlled feeding randomized controlled trials. In addition, she developed the FCHL five-year plan to study food processing and food characteristics that affect ingestive behavior and diet-related chronic disease risk.

Dr. Higgins has experience analyzing nationally representative dietary intake data, including data collected as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Her data analysis expertise expanded Exponent's capability to analyze usual food and nutrient intake and nutrient adequacies.

In line with her interest in energy balance and obesity, she led numerous systematic reviews to synthesize evidence and draw conclusions of various complex diet and body-weight related outcomes, including the reviews focused on sweetness, low calorie sweeteners, portion size, ingestive frequency, and chrononutrition.