Kara Bresnahan
Kara Bresnahan, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Senior Scientist
Chemical Regulation & Food Safety
District of Columbia

Dr. Bresnahan is trained in nutritional biochemisty with applications in public health. She is skilled in designing and implementing clinical trials as well as analyzing and interpreting the trial data. Dr. Bresnahan developed and executed an assessment of micronutrient status in children receiving lipid-based nutrition supplementation as part of a large-scale, clinical trial in Madagascar. She has also collaborated with governmental and non-governmental organizations to determine the bioefficacy of provitamin A-enhanced maize in rural Zambian children as part of a randomized, controlled trial and published peer-reviewed manuscripts using the resulting dataset. Dr. Bresnahan is also skilled in conducting critical reviews of scientific literature to inform conceptualization of health innovations and food product portfolios. Recently, Dr. Bresnahan performed critical literature reviews to inform innovation design at PATH, a non-profit global health organization, and new product portfolios for large and small-scale food producers.

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2014
  • M.P.H., Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 2016
  • B.S., Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2009

LANGUAGES

  • French

Publications

Bresnahan KA, Tanumihardjo SA. Undernutrition, the acute phase response to infection, and its effects on biomarkers of micronutrient status. Adv Nutr. 2014;5:702-11.

Bresnahan KA, Chileshe J, Arscott S, et al. The acute phase response affects traditional measures of micronutrient status in rural Zambian children during a randomized, controlled feeding trial. J Nutr. 2014;144:972-8.

Bresnahan KA, Davis CR, Tanumihardjo SA. Relative vitamin A value of 9- cis- and 13-cis-β-carotene do not differ with fed at physiological levels during vitamin A depletion in Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). Br J Nutr. 2014;112:162-9.

Bresnahan KA, Chileshe J, Tanumihardjo SA. Quantification of food and nutrient intake in Zambian children with and without malaria under controlled feeding conditions. Exp Biol Med. 2014;239:45-51.

Bresnahan KA, Arscott SA, Khanna H, et al. Cooking enhances but the degree of ripeness does not affect provitamin A carotenoid bioavailability from bananas in Mongolian gerbils. J Nutr. 2012;142:2097-104.

Nuss ET, Arscott SA, Bresnahan KA, et al. Comparative intake of white- versus orange-colored maize by Zambian children in the context of promotion of biofortified maize. Food Nutr Bull. 2012;33:63–71.

Presentations

Bresnahan KA. From hypo- to hyper-vitaminosis A? Investigating the relation between status indicators and interventions to alleviate deficiency. Oral presentation. Program in International and Community Nutrition Seminar, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA, 2015

Bresnahan KA. Investigation of factors impacting provitamin A carotenoid bioavailability and indicators of micronutrient status. Oral presentation. Department of Nutritional Sciences Seminar, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, 2014.

Bresnahan KA, Johnson C. Project Drsti: Alleviating vitamin A deficiency through fermented foods. Poster presentation. Saving Lives at Birth Conference, Washington, DC, 2014.

Bresnahan KA, Chileshe J, Arscott SA, Nuss E, Surles R, Masi C, Kafwembe E, Tanumihardjo SA. Acute phase response is associated with decreased nutrient intake and altered markers of micronutrient status in Zambian children. Poster presentation. Experimental Biology Conference, San Diego, CA, 2014.

Bresnahan KA, Davis CR, Tanumihardjo SA. Relative vitamin A value of 9-cis- and 13-cis-β-carotene as compared to all-trans-β-carotene in gerbils. Oral presentation. Experimental Biology Conference, Boston, MA, 2013. 

Bresnahan KA, Chileshe J, Tanumihardjo SA. Malaria is associated with decreased nutrient intake in Zambian children fed provitamin A biofortified maize. Poster presentation. Experimental Biology Conference, Boston, MA, 2013. 

Bresnahan KA, Arscott SA, Khanna H, Arinaitwe G, Dale J, Tushemereirwe W, Mondloch S, Tanumihardjo JP, De Moura FF, Tanumihardjo SA. Vitamin A bioefficacy of provitamin A biofortified banana. Oral presentation. Experimental Biology Conference, Washington, DC, 2011.

Bresnahan KA, Davis CR, Tanumihardjo SA. The relative vitamin A value of 9-cis- and 13-cis-β-carotene did not differ in vitamin A-depleted gerbils. Poster presentation. Experimental Biology Conference, Washington, DC, 2011.

Prior Experience

Nutrition Consultant, Black Bee Marketing, Madison, WI, 2016-2017

Consultant, World Bank, Washington, DC and Antananarivo, Madagascar, 2015-2016

Graduate Intern, PATH, Seattle, WA, 2015-2016

Professional Affiliations

American Society of Nutrition

Institute of Food Technology

Project Experience

Carried out exploratory market research on health/wellness trends, purchase patterns, and usage occasions to inform concept development of food product portfolios with targeted nutritional and functional benefits.

Designed and directed assessment of micronutrient status in children enrolled in Madagascar’s national nutrition program as part of a large-scale, clinical trial with lipid-based nutrition supplementation.

Developed impact evaluation approaches to assess effectiveness of and identify improvement areas for a dairy school-feeding program in Africa and a poultry-rearing promotion program in South Asia.

Performed critical reviews of literature to originate lists of cross-food chain innovations related to the human microbiome and poultry rearing.

Reviewed literature on the relationship between undernutrition and infection and published manuscript in peer reviewed journal.

Conducted animal studies to evaluate factors impacting the bioavailability of provitamin A carotenoids from plant foods. Performed data analysis and published manuscripts in peer reviewed journals.

Trained staff and supervised fieldwork during a randomized, controlled trial to determine the bioefficacy of provitamin A biofortified maize in rural Zambian children. Analyzed resulting dataset to identify the impact of infection on food intake and micronutrient biomarkers, and published manuscripts in peer reviewed journals.

Knowledge

CREDENTIALS & PROFESSIONAL HONORS

  • Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2014
  • M.P.H., Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 2016
  • B.S., Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 2009

LANGUAGES

  • French