Mary C Playdon, PhD, MPH portrait
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Population Health Sciences
  • Assistant Professor, Nutrition & Integrative Physiology

Current Courses

Fall 2024

  • NUIP 6240-001
    Nutrition Epidemiology
    Location: HPR N 229 (HPR N 229)
  • NUIP 6390-001
    Research Methods
    Location: TBA (TBA)
  • NUIP 6900-009
    Directed Nutr Research

Summer 2024

Spring 2024

Professional Organizations

  • American Society of Preventive Oncology. 12/02/2019 - present. Position : Member.
  • American Association for Cancer Research. 09/02/2019 - present. Position : Member.
  • Metabolomics Association of North America. 06/04/2018 - present. Position : Member.
  • American Society of Nutrition (ASN). 10/30/2017 - present. Position : Member.
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). 08/01/2016 - present. Position : Member.
  • Metabolomics Society. 08/03/2015 - present. Position : Member.
  • Society for Epidemiological Research (SER). 05/04/2015 - present. Position : Member.

Practice History

  • Postdoctoral Fellow Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics (DCEG), NCI, NIH, Rockville, MD, USA . 03/2016 - present .
  • Graduate Teaching Fellow, Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT Nutritional Epidemiology (Faculty: Dr. Susan Mayne) Epidemiology II (Advanced Epidemiology) (Faculty: Dr. Robert Dubrow) . 08/2013 - present .
  • Graduate Researcher, Cancer Prevention and Control Epidemiology Group, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA . 08/2012 - present .
  • Senior Clinical Dietitian, Research Associate and Manager, The Cancer Prevention Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA . 10/2007 - present .
  • Professional Research Associate Robert H. Eckel Laboratory, Department of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO, USA . 06/2006 - present .
  • Registered Clinical Dietitian Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Rotherham General and City General Hospital, South Yorkshire and West Midlands, England, UK . 01/2005 - present .
  • Registered Clinical Dietitian The Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, QLD, Australia and Ipswich Hospital, Ipswich, QLD, Australia. 01/2004 - present .

Teaching Philosophy

Mentoring Philosophy

As a mentor, I strive to set a professional example and support mentees to achieve their professional goals. I envision mentoring as a mutually beneficial relationship with formalized, shared goals and expectations and collaborative execution. I try to build our mentor-mentee relationship by nurturing our collective strengths and improving on weaknesses through open communication, realistic goal setting, and fostering an environment of continuous learning. First and foremost, I hope to foster scientific passion and enthusiasm, honing in on my students' key interests and helping them to expand their learning in these areas. Our environment is designed to be sensitive, supportive, confidential, and focused on team-science . I aim to engage my mentees within the community of the research group, involving them in all aspects of the science to encourage a sense of belonging. Work/life balance is encouraged. Together, we evaluate progress and milestones and reflect on expectations through regular, formal meetings along with an open-door policy for discussing progress, ideas, decision-making, challenges/failures and professional development. Moreover, I encourage us to both be appropriately responsive to inquiries, provide constructive feedback, have open, respectful and professional communication style, and engage as professional colleagues. To foster autonomy, I try to balance providing direction and encouraging self-direction through active listening, offering suggestions, encouraging questioning, and allowing my mentee to discover and develop their own insights and expand on their own creative ideas, while staying on track. I am aware of differences in work ethic, personality, gender, culture, and background, and tailor our mentor-mentee communication and working relationship accordingly. I support building organizational skills and share my process of reading and evaluating the scientific literature, iterative writing and understanding other research-related content (e.g. grants, reviews) and provide successful examples. Mentees are directed to university writing and library resources for research assistance. I also try to create opportunities for mentees to receive mentorship from other members of the research team and experts in the field at other institutions, since epidemiology is a collaborative discipline that often involves cross-institutional, national and international team members. Mentees are provided with opportunities to pursue scientific and career professional development that aligns with their career goals. They are encouraged to gain critical professional skills, including organization and time management, leadership, goal setting and career planning, and professional communication and etiquette. I also encourage my mentees to participate in community service and engagement, for example through the University of Utah Center for Community Nutrition. They are held to a high ethical standard and receive training in the ethical conduct of research, both formally and informally through discussion, referral to professional society ethical guidelines, and provision of tools/resources to foster data honesty and integrity (e.g. SOPs, QA and QC procedures). I recognize the success of my mentees with scientific authorship, and support for scientific meeting and award applications. I try to help them establish a record of independent research by pursuing unique and creative lines of inquiry. I support my mentees in their career progression by providing recommendation letters and assisting them to prepare for post-graduation job search and application or application to graduate school. Mentoring is a lifelong relationship and I will continue to support mentee goals and career trajectories throughout their career. Overall, I find mentoring thoroughly enjoyable and believe it is a crucial componet of academia, both supporting ongoing research and developing the next generation of experts in the field.


Courses I Teach

  • NUIP6240-090 - Nutritional Epidemiology
    Teacher. Nutritional epidemiology in the context of chronic disease
  • Biochem 6600 and 6601 - Regulation of Metabolism
    Guest Lecturer: Eat Well, Starve Cancer
  • PHS 7120 - Molecular Epidemiology
    Guest Lecturer: Metabolomics in Molecular Epidemiology
  • PHS 7110-001 - CTE Seminar
    Guest Lecturer, Biomarkers of Food Intake and Exposure: New frontiers
  • PB HLT 6302 - Cancer Epidemiology
    Guest Lecturer: Metabolomics in Cancer Epidemiology
  • NUIP 6220 - Nutrition Policy: Domestic and Global
    Guest Lecturer: Biomarkers of Food Intake and Exposure