Lab Personnel

Principal Investigator 

Bethany Barone Gibbs, PhD

Dr. Bethany Barone Gibbs stands for a picture on the second floor of the Pylons Lobby in the WVU Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Gibbs is a cardiovascular epidemiologist with a passion for healthy lifestyle research. She recently completed two clinical trials testing whether interventions that target reduced sedentary behavior can improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health in desk workers (NHLBI-funded RESET BP Study) and pregnancy health (AHA-funded SPRING Study).

She is the Principal Investigator of an ancillary study to measure objective sedentary behavior and activity, pulse wave velocity, and heart rate variability among young women in the nuMoM2b Heart Health 2 Study cohort (NHBLI). She also leads the West Virginia University sites for the Pregnancy 24/7 Study and the Pregnancy 24/7 Offspring Study linking the 24-hour activity cycle across pregnancy with maternal-fetal health outcomes through 2 years old (NHLBI).


Sarah Modlin, MPH

Sarah is the Research Assistant to the studies.  She earned her B.Sc. in Biology from the College of William and Mary in 2018 and an MPH in Data Analytics from Thomas Jefferson University in 2022. 

Sarah standing with 3 medals in Philadelphia

Sarah recently joined WVU in fall 2022. She is eager to play with statistical software and other research tools to analyze data! Sarah's main role in the Gibbs' lab is to acquire thousands of activity & sedentary behavior data from several research sites to later analyze it. Outside of work, her dream is to run a marathon in all 50 states!

Kathryn Chmelik, MS

Katie is a Research Assistant who joined the lab in January 2023. She got her Bachelor's in Immunology and Infectious Disease from Penn State and her Master of Health Sciences from WVU. She is excited to begin her career in clinical trials research in the Gibb's lab. 

Katie sitting in front of flowers


As a mother, pregnancy and postpartum are topics of particular importance and interest. She is excited to work with women and their children to help improve maternal health. Outside of work, Katie loves to dance, bake, and play games with friends!



Katrina Wilhite, PhD

Katrina is from Reno, Nevada and is currently a postdoc in the School of Public Health. She completed her Bachelor's degree at Saint Francis University, her Master's at the University of Pittsburgh, and her PhD at Australian Catholic University. She loves to learn, travel, swim, journal, be outdoors as much as possible, and brew beer with her husband. She hopes to continue her career in the public health field with a focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle in a 24-hour day and health equity. 

Katrina SmilingLexi Thrower, MS

Lexi is currently a Ph.D. student in Exercise Physiology at West Virginia University. She received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science at Slippery Rock University, and her master’s degree in Exercise Physiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Lexi standing outside

Her research interests include cardiovascular responses to physical activity and exercise with her thesis project focusing on cardiovascular responses (blood pressure, heart rate, and heart rate variability) to an acute bout of vinyasa yoga. Lexi’s favorite activities to do outside the lab include doing and teaching yoga (as a certified 200-hour yoga instructor), going to the beach, and spending time outdoors with friends and family. Link to C/V


Elly Marshall, MPH 

Elly Marshall is a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at West Virginia University’s School of Public Health under the mentorship of Dr. Bethany Barone Gibbs. She is an alumnus of West Virginia University, earning her Bachelor of Science degree in 2016 and Master of Public Health degree in 2018. She has over 5 years of experience working with pregnant and parenting women in the area of health promotion and prevention and has lead efforts in WV’s perinatal quality collaborative network.

Elly Smiling

Elly is early in her research career but is interested in maternal and infant health epidemiology and health outcomes. Her primary interests in this field include physical activity patterns, substance use, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and social determinants of health. In her spare time, Elly is passionate about knitting, collecting Fiestaware, and getting outdoors as much as possible. 


Carly Williamson

Carly is a current Master's student at the School of Public Health. She received her Bachelor's of Science in Health and Human Performance at the University of Tennessee at Martin. After completing her Master's degree, she plans on continuing her education to get a PhD in Public Health. Her research interests are in physical activity and its effects on mental health. Her favorite activities are working out, going outdoors, and spending time exploring Morgantown.

Carly standing outside in front of a tree