Melissa Laska
Office Address:
300 West Bank Office Building.
Mailing Address:

1300 S 2nd St
Room 300 West Bank Office Building
Minneapolis, MN 55454

Melissa Laska, PhD, RD

Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Division of Epidemiology & Community Health


Co-Director, Healthy Weight Research Center
Member, Masonic Cancer Center (MCC)


PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
BS with Honors, Cornell Unviersity
RD, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center


Dr. Laska’s expertise is in nutrition promotion, food access and nutrition-related inequities. Over the past two decades she has led a multifaceted research portfolio with the goal of realizing our potential to support communities – particularly those that have been historically under-resourced -- in their autonomy to make healthy choices, including healthy food choices. Her interdisciplinary work has been supported by NIH, CDC, and USDA and she has co-authored nearly 200 peer-reviewed publications to date.

Overall, Dr. Laska’s work has been influential in the field, having been cited more than 8,000 times in scholarly journals published in 28 languages from researchers in more than 120 countries, including every region of the world. Her published work has been utilized in key recommendations and reports from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, American Academy of Pediatrics, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Public Health Association, Office of the Surgeon General, Centers for Disease Control, Government Accountability Office, and the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing.

The University of Minnesota Office of the Vice President and Provost awarded Dr. Laska with the 2019 Sara Evans Faculty Woman Scholar and Leader Award in recognition of her accomplishments. In 2020 she was named Distinguished McKnight University Professor.


Equity, food & nutrition, public health nutrition, obesity prevention, food environment, food access, healthy food retail, nutrition policy, food security.

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