Skip to main content

Ya-Ke “Grace” Wu

PHD, RN

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing

 

Dr. Wu received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) School of Nursing in 2018. She earned her BSN at Central Taiwan University of Science and Technology and her MSN at Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan. Prior to pursuing her PhD degree, Dr. Wu worked as a registered nurse for twelve years and a lecturer in evidence-based practice for seven years in Taiwan.

While earning her PhD, Dr. Wu worked as a teaching and research assistant, a graduate student recruiter, and a clinical compliance specialist at the UNC School of Nursing. Dr. Wu was awarded a Summer Research Fellowship, a Dissertation Completion Fellowship, and the Virginia J. Neelon Endowed Bio-Behavioral Nursing Scholarship by the UNC School of Nursing and Graduate School. She received Student/Early Career Investigator Travel Fellowship from The Academy for Eating Disorders. She also received a Future Faculty Fellowship Program certificate from the UNC Center for Faculty Excellence. She has published eight papers and one book chapter as a first author and has delivered numerous research presentations at scientific conferences around the world.

Dr. Wu’s research interests are investigating prediction and prevention for eating disorders using a comprehensive model that explores genetic, psychological, and environmental risk factors. In her PhD research, she studied hair cortisol as a biomarker of chronic stress to investigate the link between the stress of weight stigma and the biological stress response of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity at UNC Biobehavioral Laboratory. She also focused on the behavioral stress response by examining the association between weight stigma and binge eating behaviors. Dr. Wu’s post-doctoral research focuses on biological predictors of eating disorders with a specialization in the roles of stress and appetite hormones in the mechanisms of eating disorders. She examined whether the changes in cortisol, norepinephrine, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and ghrelin during inpatient treatment of women with anorexia nervosa predicts their relapses and binge eating symptoms at 3-months post-discharge at the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (CEED). Dr. Wu received comprehensive training in eating disorders at the UNC CEED and learned how to develop interventions at the UNC School of Nursing’s T32 Postdoctoral Fellowship. She was also selected and completed the National Institute of Nursing Research Summer Genetics Institute in 2019. Her goal is to help healthcare providers better predict binge eating and develop interventions targeting the specific needs of patients with eating disorders.