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Tristesse Burton, PhD, MSL

Bridge to Faculty Postdoctoral Scholar, Pharmacy Practice

BIRCWH Postdoctoral Trainee


Tristesse Burton, PhD, MSL is a Chicago native, hailing from the city’s Westside. She is currently a Bridge to Faculty Postdoctoral Scholar and a new BIRCWH Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). She earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign in Crop Sciences, a Master of Science in Law from Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, and a Ph.D. in Pharmacognosy from UIC College of Pharmacy. Previously, Dr. Burton was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition Sciences and a T32 Precision Lifestyle Medicine and Translation Research (PREMIER) Fellow in the UIC College of Medicine, along with serving as a collaborator within UNLV’s Center for Health Disparities Research. Dr. Burton has received over 17 awards, fellowships, and grants including the 2022 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, two NIH awards, and IBHE Diversifying Higher Education Faculty in Illinois Fellowship. She presented her research at over 23 conferences, first and co-authored 11 papers and two book chapters. She previously served as a Faculty Instructor for the UIC Urban Health Program’s Research Training and Career Development Program and was a Board Member for Expanding Your Horizons Chicago in 2018.

Her research addresses perinatal cardiometabolic health disparities as risk factors for maternal mortality among Black and Indigenous women through complementary and alternative medicine focusing on plant-based natural products and foods. She utilizes transdisciplinary and collaborative bench to the community, precision nutrition, clinical, community-engaged, and patient-centered methods to 1) Implement innovative plant-based dietary and behavioral interventions that effectively improve perinatal cardiometabolic health outcomes. 2) Understand mechanisms of actions involved in plant-based intervention effectiveness, behavior change, and perinatal cardiometabolic disease pathology. 3) Understand and improve social determinants of health by focusing on plants and culture. Outside of research, she is dedicated to increasing minority representation in STEM careers and higher education and improving minority women’s autonomy in making decisions about their healthcare. She is a first-generation college and graduate student, a wife, and a mother to an energetic 5-year-old.