Features Nutrition Students

Nutrition doctoral student has questions about nutrients associated with cancer 

In search of answers, Funmi Amoda chose Oregon State’s PhD in nutrition program

Funmi in front of Oregon State University sign.

By Hanna Knowles

While an undergraduate studying nutrition and dietetics in Nigeria, Oyefunmilayo (Funmi) Amoda kept asking questions. Questions that prompted her supervisor to suggest she turn to the internet and find professors doing the type of nutrition research she was interested in.  

Her search led her to Yumie Takata, which led her to Oregon State University’s PhD in nutrition

Applying to Oregon State’s PhD in nutrition program  

After reviewing the application requirements, Funmi sent an email to the Oregon State Graduate School inquiring about the PhD in nutrition program. “They said admission to the program is in part when you are matched with an advisor prior to applying. So, I contacted Yumie before applying to let her know of my interest.” 

Funmi says she met with Yumie via Zoom to discuss her research interests and how they align with Yumie’s work. “She said I could apply to the program and that she would be my advisor,” Funmi says. “I think she was satisfied with everything that I said.” 

Funmi at the airport on her way to Oregon.
Funmi at the airport on her way to Oregon.

“Her research accomplishments as a recent undergraduate degree recipient were impressive,” Yumie says. “I was also taken by her passion for research in nutritional epidemiology of cancer due to her late father and her unique upbringing.” 

Funmi says the application process was rigorous, but thankfully did not include the GRE, which is not required by the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

She also avoided an English proficiency exam, TOEFL/ IELTS, because Nigeria’s official language is English. In addition, the application fee was covered by the nutrition program due to personal financial need. 

She was accepted to Oregon State in February 2022 and moved from Nigeria to Oregon, some 7,593 miles away, in September. 

Inspiration to pursue nutrition research 

Funmi was initially drawn to nutrition because her dad died of liver cancer 11 years ago.  

“I remember the doctors were talking about what caused the cancer, and they said it was due to lifestyle factors and diet,” Funmi says. “That was part of what sparked my interest in studying nutrition at first.”

“I really want to know the etiological roles of diet and lifestyle in the development of cancer.” 

Funmi in front of Langton Hall

With her nutrition epidemiology research, she’ll be doing just that — studying the etiological roles of nutritional factors in cancer. 

“I’m excited to work with Yumie because she is a really organized person, and she takes things one step at the time. She knows I’m coming from a different country and the kind of learning I have might be a bit different, so we’re doing four weeks of training before I dive into my research profile.” 

Funmi says at the moment she’s focused on adjusting to living in a different country and getting settled in her academic pursuits, which also include her graduate teaching assistant responsibilities. This term, she’s working alongside instructors, and next term she’ll lead her own classes. 

Her impression of Oregon so far? It’s much colder than her home region of Ogun, Nigeria. 

Learn more about Oregon State’s PhD in nutrition.