Meet The Team

Michael I Goran, PhD

Dr. Michael Goran is an internationally recognized expert in childhood nutrition and obesity. He is a Professor of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine. Dr. Goran is the founding Director of the USC Childhood Obesity Research Center and the Co-Director of the USC Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute. He holds the Dr.  Robert C and Veronica Atkins Endowed Chair in Childhood Obesity and Diabetes. Dr. Goran is a native of Glasgow, Scotland, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester, UK. Prior to joining USC in 1999, he held faculty appointments at the University of Vermont and the University of Alabama.

For the past 30 years, Dr Goran’s research has focused on the causes and consequences of childhood obesity. He works to understand the metabolic factors linking obesity to increased disease risk during growth and development and uses this information to develop new behavioral and community approaches for prevention and risk reduction. He is also especially interested in ethnic disparities in obesity and obesity related diseases, with a special focus on the effects of dietary sugar on obesity and metabolic diseases among Hispanic populations. His research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (and other non Federal agencies) for the past 25 years.

Dr. Goran has published over 350 professional peer-reviewed articles and reviews. He is the co-editor of the “Handbook of Pediatric Obesity” published in 2006, co-editor of “Dietary Sugars and Health” published in 2014, and “Childhood Obesity: Causes, Consequences and Intervention Approaches”, published in 2016, and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Pediatric Obesity. He has been the recipient of a number of scientific awards for his research and teaching, including: The Nutrition Society Medal for Research (1996), The Lilly Award for Scientific Achievement (2006), The Bar-Or Award for Excellence (2009), and the TOPS award for contributions to obesity research (2014).

Michael lives in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, with his family including 2 daughters and 2 cats.


Emily Ventura, PhD, MPH

Emily headshot.jpgDr. Emily Ventura is a nutrition educator, public health advocate, and writer. A California native, Emily completed her undergraduate studies at Cornell University where she received a BA in Biology in Society with an additional concentration in Latin American Studies. After working in writing and public relations in the arenas of environmental protection and food, she went on to complete her Masters in Public Health and Doctorate of Philosophy in Health Behavior Research at the University of Southern California. Emily has 10 years of research experience in public health with a focus on dietary strategies for the prevention of obesity, diabetes, and cancer. She also has extensive experience working as a community nutrition educator for children and families. Emily has led public health campaigns for Slow Food International as well as the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation. Her international experience includes studies and research conducted in Ecuador as well as in Italy, where she served as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting professor for the University of Gastronomic Sciences. Emily currently lives in the UK with her husband and two young sons.