Melissa Molinari Shelton, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor
Concentration Director, Nursing Education
Voicemail:(813) 396-2318
Cell: (813) 777-2045
Fax: (813) 974-5418
Research Interests
    My research is in the area of maternal-child health with a focus on the effect of prenatal maternal stress on immune changes and birth outcomes.
    The primary aim of my research is to identify potential markers for poor pregnancy outcomes so effective interventions may be developed and implemented to improve the health of mothers and babies.
    My dissertation research focused on the relationship between mid-pregnancy levels of cytokines, stress, and depression and gestational age at delivery.
    I plan to continue studying these markers during pregnancy beginning with the preconception visit through the final postpartum appointment and ultimately plan to implement a stress reduction intervention to decrease stress at conception, during pregnancy, and postpartum recovery.

Latest Studies
  • Shelton, M. M. (2010 - 2011). Relationship of mid-pregnancy levels of cytokines, stress, and depression with gestational age at delivery. (doctoral dissertation). University of South Florida, College of Nursing, Tampa.

Recent Publications
  • Groer, M.W. & Shelton, M.M. (2009). Exercise is associated with elevated proinflammatory cytokines in human milk. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, 38(1), 35-41. PMID 19208046
  • Lengacher,C., Johnson-Mallard, V., Barta, M., Fitzgerald, S., Moscoso, M., Post-White, J., Jacobsen, P., Shelton, M., Le, N., Budhrani, P., Goodman, M., Kip, K. (2011). Feasibility of a mindfulness-based stress reduction program for early-stage breast cancer survivors. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 29(2), 107-117. PMID 21041554

Educational Background
  • I attended the University of South Florida and graduated with a BS in Elementary Education in 1996.
  • I returned to USF to complete a second BS in nursing and graduated in 2005.
  • Upon completing my nursing degree, I entered into the BS-PhD program while practicing as a new nurse.
  • In 2008, I graduated from USF with a MS in Nursing Education and completed my PhD in 2011.