The primary aim of Meghan Butryn’s lab is to improve the efficacy of lifestyle modification programs for adults, particularly for those who are overweight or obese. The Butryn lab uses behavioral principles to understand the challenges of eating a healthy diet and engaging in physical activity, and creates innovations in intervention programs by integrating the latest advances in scientific theory as well as technology. Butryn’s research is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Her projects have been awarded a total of $8 million to date.
The lab has a strong interest in understanding how individuals can most effectively manage aspects of the obesogenic environment. The home food environment is of particular interest as an intervention target. Research on self-monitoring is also ongoing, including determining how sharing the data collected by self-monitoring tools with others might facilitate supportive accountability. More recently, the lab is conducting research on diet, weight control, and physical activity as they pertain to cancer prevention and cancer survivorship. Obesity prevention in young or middle-age adults is another major focus of the lab’s work.
Meghan Butryn, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences
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Nicole Miller, Research Coordinator
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The Forman lab, which is part of the Center for Weight Eating and Lifestyle Science (the WELL Center), develops and evaluates innovative behavioral- and technology-based interventions for health behavior change. One of the lab’s overarching interests is using our understanding of self-regulation to devise and evaluate innovative behavioral and technological approaches for health behavior change. For instance, most people find it difficult to initiate and sustain lifestyle modification involving dietary and physical activity improvements. These changes run counter to biological and environmental forces, and thus require specific self-regulatory capacities including the ability to tolerate discomfort, give up pleasure, cultivate and make salient longer-range motivating factors and accurately perceive internal states. As such, one line work involves developing and evaluating acceptance and mindfulness-based behavioral treatments that teach these strategies. A current project, Activate, is an NIH R01-funded Multiphasic Optimization Strategy (MOST) trial evaluating the independent and interacting effects of mindfulness and acceptance components of behavioral weight loss.
Self-regulation is aided when clinicians and behavior coaches are able to provide supportive accountability (strategies, skills, emotional support, and beneficent oversight). However, there is a severe shortage of clinical services, especially for pervasive problems such as obesity. The lab is interested in methods of optimizing intervention to meet clinical needs. For example, the NIH R01 Project ReLearn is evaluating an artificial intelligence (AI) system for optimizing the delivery of weight loss interventions in a manner that allows for scalability across large populations. In addition, we are developing and evaluating automated systems that can skillfully deliver certain aspects of intervention. For instance, we have conducted a series of studies on a smartphone-based system (OnTrack) that uses machine learning to predict and prevent dietary lapses, which is the main driver of an inability to succeed at weight control. The system uses a risk algorithm to deliver just-in-time, adaptive interventions (JITAIs).
We are also interested in how inhibitory control--the ability to resist behavioral prepotent impulses (e.g., to approach immediately rewarding stimuli)--contributes to successful self-regulation of health behavior and how training inhibitory control can improve health. Additionally, we are interested in how gamification of intervention can improve engagement and intrinsic motivation, and thus outcomes, especially in men who tend to be disinterested in traditional behavioral treatments. For instance, the NIH R01 Project DASH evaluates whether gamification and neurocognitive training improve engagement and weight loss outcomes for men.
Evan Forman, PhD, Director of the WELL Center, Professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences
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Lauren Taylor, Research Coordinator
215.553.7125 | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Juarascio Lab is focused on the development and evaluation of novel treatment approaches for eating disorders. Treatment development focuses largely on two areas: 1) the use of acceptance-based behaviors treatment approaches to improve factors that maintain eating pathology (e.g. emotion dysregulation, impulsivity, altered patterns of reward sensitivity) and 2) the use of technology to augment existing treatments.
Current studies include:
- The Balancing Act Project: An NIDDK R01 focused on evaluating an acceptance based behavioral group treatment for binge eating disorder designed to help individuals both lose weight and reduce binge eating.
- The Acquire Project: An NIMH R34 designed to test a novel smartphone app (CBT+) as an augmentation to CBT for bulimia nervosa that is designed to improve skill acquisition and utilization.
- The Sense Support Project: An NIMH R43 evaluating a novel smartphone app (SenseSupport) that uses glucose continuous monitoring to detect and intervene on dietary restriction.
- The COMPASS Project: An NIMH R01 that uses a Multiphasic Optimization Trial (MOST) to evaluate the independent efficacy of four commonly-used mindfulness and acceptance components (distress tolerance, emotion modulation, mindful awareness, and values-based decision making).
- Project Recharge: An NIMH supplement grant designed to evaluate a novel reward re-training treatment designed to address the reward imbalance that may maintain binge eating.
Adrienne Juarascio, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences
215.553.7154 | email@example.com
Laura Boyajian, Research Coordinator
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The Manasse Lab is dedicated to using novel methodology (e.g. psychophysiological measures, ecological momentary assessment) to understand impulsivity- and affect-related maintenance factors and predictors of treatment outcome for eating disorders and to developing and testing novel technological and behavioral treatments for adults and adolescents with eating disorders.
Current studies include:
- Project REBOOT: This NIMH-funded trial is testing the effects of an adjunctive, personalized, computerized inhibitory control training on facilitating rapid response to cognitive behavioral therapy for individuals with DSM-5 bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
- Project REACH: This NIDDK-funded trial is designed to test which decision-making processes predict outcomes in a remote, group-based healthy lifestyle intervention for adolescents.
- Family Safety Net: This treatment study is assessing the efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability of attachment-based family therapy in adolescents with binge eating and their families.
- Project MOMENT: This assessment-only study uses ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to assess within-day and day-to-day variations in disordered eating behavior and a variety of psychological and behavioral phenomena thought to relate to eating patterns (e.g., body image, delay discounting, sleep, engagement in risky behavior, etc.)
The lab is also running a number of other studies, including the validation of a novel computerized assessment paradigm which uses psychophysiological measurement (eg., increases in heart rate and skin conductance) to better understand fear of weight gain.
Stephanie Manasse, PhD, Assistant Research Professor
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Brighid Fitzpatrick, Research Coordinator
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The Srivastava Lab seeks to develop novel treatments for eating disorders that specifically focus on modifying cognitive and emotional disturbances. In particular, this lab uses novel assessment approaches (e.g. ecological momentary assessment) to better understand body image disturbance, a key maintenance factor of eating disturbance to inform development of effective treatments. Additionally, the Srivastava Lab aims to integrate technology into treatment to 1) increase dissemination of evidence-based treatments to individuals with eating disorders who may otherwise never receive treatment, and 2) augment evidence based-treatments for eating disorders for those who experience little benefit from existing treatments.
Current studies include:
- Project IDEA: This study uses ecological momentary assessment (EMA) approach to examine the within person, within day variability in body dissatisfaction and explore determinants and consequences of intraindividual variability in body dissatisfaction in individuals with binge eating pathology.
- The BODY+ Project: This Cotswold Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship funded trial examines the feasibility, acceptability and efficacy of a brief web-based self-help treatment augmented with a smartphone application designed to deliver momentary interventions (called just-in-time, adaptive interventions, JITAIs) for body image disturbances in individuals with binge eating symptomology.
Paakhi Srivastava, PhD, Assistant Research Professor
215.553.7157 | email@example.com
Olivia Clancy, Research Coordinator
215.553.7125 | firstname.lastname@example.org