Gund Institute Acting Director, Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Dr. Meredith Niles is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, as well as the Acting Director of the Gund Institute for Environment and Associate Director of the Food Systems Research Center at The University of Vermont. Prior to her academic career, Meredith worked for the United States Department of State in HIV/AIDS public health and for several food and environmental non-profit organizations. 

Meredith thrives conducting applied research that can help bring together diverse stakeholders- from farm to federal agency- to help solve pressing problems facing our world's food system.  Meredith is an interdisciplinary food systems scientist whose research focuses on achieving sustainable food security and improving health and environmental outcomes from food systems. Her primary areas of focus include sustainable food production with farmers and food and nutritional security during crises, including climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. Meredith is deeply committed to ensuring academic research is available to the public and stakeholders to meet a land-grant mission, evidenced through policy briefs and open science principles.  Meredith has received notable honors and recognition for her research, most recently being named an Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine Scholar for 2022-2025 by the National Academy of Medicine.



  • Rodríguez-Cruz, L.A.†, Álvarez-Berríos, N., Niles, M.T. (2022). Social-ecological interactions in a disaster context: Puerto Rican farmer households’ food security after Hurricane Maria. Environmental Research Letters.
  • Niles, M.T., et al. A multi-site analysis of the prevalence of food security in the United States, before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic. (2021). Current Developments in Nutrition. Volume 5, Issue 12, nzab135,
  • Nicholson, C., Emery, B.F. †, Niles, M.T. (2021). Global relationships between crop diversity and nutritional stability. Nature Communications. 12: 5310.
  • Clements, R. †, Birthisel, S.K., Daigneault, A., Gallandt, E., Johnson, D., Wentworth, T., Niles, M.T.  (2021). Climate change in the context of whole-farming systems: opportunities for improved outreach. Climatic Change. 166: 40.
  • Niles, M.T., Wirkkala Brassard, K. †, Belarmino, E.H., Bertmann F. (2021). Home food procurement impacts food security and diet quality during COVID-19.  BMC Public Health.  21: 945.
  • Niles, M.T., Rudnick, J. †, Lubell, M., Cramer, L., (2021).  Linking Household and Community Social Capital to Smallholder Food Security.  Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems.
  • Muller, M.F., Penny, G., Niles, M.T., Ricciardi, V., Chiarelli, D.D., Davis, K.F., Dell’Angelo, J., d’Odorico, P., Rosa, L., Rulli, M.S., Mueller, N.D. (2021). Impact of transnational land acquisitions on local food security and diet diversity.  Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences. 118: e2020535118.  DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2020535118
  • Rodriguez-Cruz, L.A. † and Niles, M.T. (2021). Awareness of climate change’s impacts and motivation to adapt are not enough to drive action: A look at Puerto Rican farmers after Hurricane Maria.  PLOS One. 16(1): e0244512.
  • Roy, E., Hammond-Wagner, C., † Niles, M.T. (2021). Hot spots of opportunity for improved cropland nitrogen management across the United States. Environmental Research Letters.  16: 035004.
  • Niles M.T., Emery, B.F. †, Wiltshire, S., Fischer, B., Ricketts, T., Brown, M. (2021). Climate impacts associated with reduced diet diversity in children across nineteen countries.  Environmental Research Letters. 16: 015010.

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Food systems, climate change, food security, food policy, integrated crop-livestock systems, environmental behavior


  • Giorgio Ruffolo Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Sustainability Science, Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government
  • PhD, Ecology, University of California-Davis
  • BA, Political Science, The Catholic University of America