Health Sciences Research

Labs and Research Groups

Rui Li, Lead
Carmen Castaneda Sceppa, Affiliate

The laboratory is dedicated to applying the practical skills and cutting-edge research to evaluate the effects of exercise and physical activity on health, disease, and human performance.

Stephen Intille, Lead

The mHealth Research Group invents and validates systems, methodologies, and algorithms that use wearable and ubiquitous sensors, mobile phones, and advanced human-computer interfaces to support health and wellness research and practice. We aim to discover how to computationally measure, model, and detect health-related behavior to support just-in-time, persuasive health interventions.

Phil Brown, Lead

The PFAS Project Lab studies multiple aspects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including social discovery, scientific discovery, children’s immune responses to PFAS, state and federal government advisories and regulations, activism, manufacturer and retailer action to remove or reduce PFAS, and media coverage.  The Lab is currently funded by an NIEHS R01, two NSF grants, and an NIEHS conference grant. The Lab runs large international conferences every two years and maintains a detailed database and map of contamination sites.

Sharon Harlan and Laura Senier, Leads
Steven Scyphers, Affiliate

The Water Equity Team studies problems related to water resources, such as unaffordability, access to water recreation, and consequences of floods in environmental justice communities. We are dedicated to community engagement and developing visions for improving local water resources and health that are consistent with inclusive, equitable, and sustainable development.

Centers and Institutes

Elmer Freeman, Director

CCHERS is a community-based organization that is a community/academic partnership established in 1991. The Center’s mission is to promote the development of academic community health centers that integrate education, research, and service; to influence and change health professions education; improve health care delivery; and promote health systems change to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health.

Gary Young, Director

The Center’s mission is to foster and conduct interdisciplinary research addressing the cost, quality, and accessibility of healthcare services.  Key research areas include measuring and improving quality of care, population health, cost and use of prescription medications, workforce issues in healthcare, improving the efficiency of healthcare organizations’ internal operations.

Alisa Lincoln, Director

Disparities in health and mental health arise and persist as the result of complex individual, societal, and global factors. We bring together faculty and students from across Northeastern University, along with external research partners, to tackle these complex challenges. Our teams draw upon a wide range of research methods and interventions, but share a common commitment to promoting health equity and social justice through high-impact, community engaged research.

Phil Brown, Director

The mission SSEHRI is to conduct social science-oriented research, teaching, community engagement, and policy work in the area of environmental health. The Institute trains graduate students and postdocs for community based participatory research aimed at transforming and improving environmental health.

Research Projects

Public Health and Health Equity

Advancing Alignment through State Government Practices: Identifying Fundamental Structural Changes to Enable Social Services’ as Full Partners in Healthcare

Jean McGuire, Principal Investigator
Funder:
The Robert Woods Johnson Foundation
Start-End Dates: 2020 – 2022

There are ongoing challenges associated with achieving successful engagement between healthcare and human services. Insufficient attention is given to state level system enablers located in public sector administrative, regulatory, and procurement practices. The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic – and evolving public struggles with the legacy of racism — have created even more urgency about the need to appreciate governmental support required for effective, equitable and responsive human services that can also support improved population health. Three related projects explore these issues.

Using Systems Science to Understand Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Preterm Birth

Collette N. Ncube, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
Start-End Dates: 2019 – 2024

The mortality, morbidity and societal economic costs associated with preterm birth disproportionately burden underserved U.S. racial/ethnic minority populations with persistently higher documented rates. Intermediary determinants, including individual and interpersonal level factors, and structural determinants such as healthcare, community and societal level factors, are posited contributors to racial/ethnic disparities. The goal of this project is to address significant gaps in our understanding of how structural and intermediary determinants of health interact and function interdependently in a racialized system to generate and perpetuate racial/ethnic preterm birth disparities using system dynamics methodology.

Evaluation of Boston FIRST SOC (Family Independence, Resilience, Support, and Treatment Systems of Care)

Beth E. Molnar, Co-Investigator, Lead Evaluator
Funder:
Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded to the Boston Public Health Commission, subcontract to Northeastern University
Start-End Dates: 2019 – 2023

Boston FIRST is an innovative effort by the Boston Public Health Commission, Children’s Services of Roxbury and the MA Department of Children and Families to impact the resilience and availability of needed services for children and their families who are involved with the state child welfare system and have (or are at risk for) serious emotional disturbance (SED) diagnoses. The Boston FIRST Evaluation study, led by Dr. Beth Molnar and her team at the IHESJR, will follow children and their caregivers to assess impacts of the program on social and emotional development and measure changes to the systems of care.

MassHEAL — Reducing overdose deaths by 40% (2019-2023)

Leo Beletsky, Co-Investigator
Funder:
NIH/National Institute on Drug Abuse
Start-End Dates: 2019-2023

The MassHEAL study will implement and evaluate an intervention targeting overdose fatalities in 16 highly-affected Massachusetts communities via a cluster-randomized parallel group design. The primary study outcome is number of overdose fatalities in the last year of a 3-year intervention period.

Vicarious Trauma Resource Initiative

Beth E. Molnar, Co-Investigator, Lead Evaluator
Funder:
Office for Victims of Crime, U.S. Department of Justice, awarded to the International Association of Chiefs of Police with a subcontract to Northeastern University
Start-End Dates: 2019 – 2022

The Vicarious Trauma Resource Initiative (VTRI) will provide dedicated resources, support, and training/technical assistance to 15 diverse communities across the U.S. seeking to collaboratively assess and address the impact of vicarious trauma on first responder and victim services organizations, with an ultimate goal of fostering optimum interventions for crime victims and improved public safety. Building on the success of our Vicarious Trauma Toolkit project, Dr. Molnar’s team will evaluate and assess the success and impacts of the new initiative.

Analysis of Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Prescribing Patterns

Gary Young, Principle Investigator
Funder:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Start-End Dates: December 2019 – December 2021

We are using a statewide database of insurance claims to identify physician- and patient-level characteristics associated with prescriptions for medications to treat opioid use disorder. We are also conducting interviews with clinicians to assess their attitudes toward prescribing of such medications in terms of clinical benefit and drawbacks.

Examining Sucking, Feeding, and Cardiorespiratory Patterning in Zika-Exposed Infants in Puerto Rico

Justin Manjourides, Co-Investigator
Funder:
National Institute of Environment Health Sciences
Start-End Dates: 2019 – 2021

The analysis proposed in this research is to examine how sucking, feeding, and cardiorespiratory patterning develop in infants born exposed to the Zika Virus (ZIKV). This comparing 3 subgroups of infants, defined by their parent’s ZIKV status.

Health in Justice: Changing the Narrative

Leo Beletsky, Principal Investigator
Funder: Vital Projects Fund
Start-End Dates: 2019-2020

The goal of this project is to produce and disseminate materials to change media portrayal of addiction and other key drug policy issues.

National Firearms Survey

Matthew Miller, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Firearms Survey
Start-End Dates: 2019-2020

The goals of this grant are to conduct survey research on private gun ownership, to improve information on: quantity and types of firearms owned, practices for acquisition, disposal (including theft), and transfer; gun carrying, smart gun technology, background checks. The sample is nationally-representative of US adults who live in homes with firearms and a random sample of their adolescent children. The survey will enable us to evaluate in greater detail than has prior research whether the intended, most proximate effects of firearm legislation (e.g., improved household firearm storage as intended by Child Access Prevention laws) in fact obtain — and therefore whether the underlying assumptions of past evaluations assessing the effect of these laws are plausible. The proposed survey will also generate new knowledge about gun owners’ attitudes, beliefs, and experiences germane to improving clinical approaches to preventing suicide that focus on means restriction. In particular, the survey will provide answers to questions related to whether gun owners and their families have been exposed to Lethal Means Counselling (LMC) and to suicide prevention messages in non-counselling contexts that focus on reducing access to firearms, and if so, in what contexts, and to what effect. Other suicide prevention relevant questions we will address include what factors make firearm owners a) more (and less) receptive to LMC, b) influence gun owners’ belief about whether household firearms increase the risk of suicide, and c) affect whether parents of adolescents who live in homes with guns harbor faulty assumptions about whether their own children can access household firearms.

Prescribing Patterns for Treating Opioid Dependence

Gary Young, Principal Investigator
Funder: Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Start-End Dates: 2019-2019

A statewide database of insurance claims will be used to identify physician- and patient-level characteristics associated with prescriptions for medications to treat opioid use disorder. Interviews will also be conducted with clinicians to assess their attitudes towards prescribing of such medications in terms of clinical benefit and drawbacks.

A Community Health Center Buyback Program to Reduce the Supply of Opioids to Secondary Users

Gary Young, Co-Investigator
Funder:
Abdul Latif Poverty Action Center Lab (J-PAL based at MIT)
Start-End Dates: December 2018 – February 2021

In partnership with a community health center, we are conducting a randomized control trial to test the effectiveness of educational messaging and financial incentives to reduce the over-use and misuse of opioid medication.

Evaluation of an experimental educational module on opioid-related occupational safety to minimize barriers to overdose response among police officers

Leo Beletsky, Co-Investigator
Funder: Centers for Disease Control and New York University
Start-End Dates: 2018-2021

The goal of this project is to implement and evaluate using a randomized-controlled design and online police training on overdose response in Pennsylvania to improve police occupational safety and alignment between policing practices and public health measures.

GSA Mentoring and Career Development Technical Assistance Workshop

Carmen Castaneda Sceppa, Faculty Mentor
Funder:
National Institute on Aging
Start-End Dates: 2018-2021

The overall goal is to provide unique career development and mentoring opportunities to trainees from diverse underrepresented groups interested in pursuing a career in aging research by participating in a pre-conference workshop at the GSA annual meetings.

Knock and Talk: Public Health-Public Safety Partnerships for Post-Overdose Outreach and Prevention

Leo Beletsky, Co-Investigator
Funder: Centers for Disease Control and Boston Medical Center
Start-End Dates: 2018-2021

The goal of this project is to characterize, evaluate, and formulate best practices for collaborative post-overdose response teams in Massachusetts.

Developing Firearm Suicide Prevention Programs Tailored to Gun Owner Population Subgroups

Alisa K. Lincoln, Co-Investigator
Funder:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Start-End Dates: October 2018 – August 2020

This study is designed to (a) identify subgroups of gun owners who share similar attributes and similar suicide risk profiles and then (b) conduct qualitative research with the subgroups to explore barriers and facilitators to the development of targeted firearm suicide prevention programs that can be adopted by each subgroup.

Firearm Violence Prevention

Matthew Miller, Principal Investigator
Funder:
Joyce Foundation
Start-End Dates: 2018-2020

The goals of this project are to continue collaborative efforts by Northeastern University and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center in three main areas:(a) Research: original research to expand the scientific knowledge about firearms; (b) Dissemination: dissemination of the scientific findings of ours and others research; and (c) Interventions: develop and evaluate interventions that put that knowledge to work. Our focus for interventions is the Means Matter campaign. We also propose to continue to promote the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS).

Comparative Assessment of Modifying Social Determinants to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease

Daniel Kim, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Institutes of Health
Start-End Dates: 2017-2020

The goal of this project is to investigate multiple population- and individual-level social and economic determinants as predictors of cardiovascular disease incidence, mortality, and risk factors and to compare and contract their population health and economic impacts.

Examining the Interplay of Sucking, Feeding, and Vocal Development in the First Year of Life

Justin Manjourides, Co-Investigator
Funder:
National Institute of Environment Health Sciences
Start-End Dates: 2017 – 2020

The objective of this study is to examine how sucking, oral feeding, and vocal development co-occur in the first year of life. The goals of the proposed research are to examine whether sucking ability, as measured quantitatively by sampling non-nutritive suck (NNS) patterning, and oral feeding abilities, as measured quantitatively by the Oral Feeding Skills (OFS) scale, are associated with infant vocal development over the first year of life. We will also compare sucking, feeding and vocalization measures based on birth groups of term and preterm.

Sanctuary Cities

Alisa K. Lincoln, Principal Investigator
Funder:
The Global Resilience Institute, Northeastern University
Start-End Dates: July 2017 – 2020

This project seeks to identify how communities’ efforts to address questions regarding the role and place of sanctuary affects their resilience, and considers ways that cities might become more resilient as they respond to various forms of oppression, human rights violations, and other unjust exercises of power worldwide.

Using Public Health Datasets to Analyze Legal Intervention Shootings

Matthew Miller, Sub-contract Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Institute of Justice
Start-End Dates: 2017-2019

The project uses the rich data on police shootings of civilians available from the NVDRS to a) code police homicide incidents using a carefully developed and tested coding scheme and procedure, b) use latent class analysis to create a typology of police homicides of civilians based on incident characteristics and c) explore how sub-types of LE homicides (e.g., those initiated by domestic disturbance calls) vary across race, gender and geography (including characteristics such as local firearm ownership rates).

Evaluation of the Massachusetts Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems Impact Project (MECCS)

Beth E. Molnar, Co-Investigator, Lead Evaluator
Funder:
Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA) awarded to the MA Department of Public Health, subcontract to Northeastern University
Start-End Dates: 2016 – 2023

The overall aim of the MECCS project is to demonstrate a 25-percent increase from baseline in age appropriate developmental skills among three-year-old children in two selected Massachusetts communities, Chelsea and Springfield. The MECCS Impact evaluation, led by Dr. Beth Molnar and her team at the IHESJR, is examining project performance to monitor overall progress toward increasing age-appropriate developmental skills and family well-being, assess compliance to the collective impact process and rigorous quality improvement methodology, assure accountability of project staff, and inform change.

Integrated Worksite Approaches for Worker Wellbeing

Justin Manjourides, Co-Investigator
Funder:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Start-End Dates: 2016 – 2021

The goal of this project is to design, implement, and evaluate a cluster randomized clinical trial to improve the safety, health and wellbeing of construction workers across several commercial construction subcontractors. This work involves studying ways to better deliver health and safety interventions to dynamic workforces.

Police Training to Reduce Occupational Needlesticks and HIV among Substance Users

Leo Beletsky, Principal Investigator
Funder:
NIH/National Institute of Drug Abuse
Start-End Dates: 2015-2020

The goal of this project is to support a longitudinal assessment of the impact of a police education intervention designed to shift police knowledge, attitudes and practices on occupational safety and HIV prevention among people who use drugs.

Impact of Drug Policy Reform on the HIV Risk Environment among IDUs in Tijuana

Leo Beletsky, Co-Investigator
Funder: NIH/National Institute of Drug Abuse
Start-End Dates: 2010-2020

The goal of this project is to evaluate the impact and assess the implementation barriers to the enactment of Mexico’s new drug policy on the risk environment of injection drug users.

Environmental Health

Water Unaffordability in the United States: Using Principles of Organizational Learning to Understand Municipal Capacity to Safeguard Water Access

Laura Senier, Principal Investigator
Sharon Harlan, Co-Principal Investigator
Funder: National Science Foundation
Start-End Dates: 2020 – 2021

The study uses mixed methods and a comparative case study design of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania cities to understand how a municipality’s organizational capacity and discretion among water resource managers interact with state-level legal and economic factors to shape decisions about local water pricing; cost relief policies for low-income, non-white, and other socially vulnerable groups; and enforcement mechanisms that secure payment of water bills.

Scaling Up Access and Usability of Smartphone Tools for Reporting Chemical Biomonitoring Results

Phil Brown, Co-Investigator
Funder:
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Sub-award to: Silent Spring Institute
Start-End Dates: 2019 – 2021

To understand effects on health, researchers measure a wide range of chemicals in people’s blood, urine, and other tissues. Participants in these studies almost always want to receive their own results, and previous research shows that returning personalized biomonitoring reports leads to new discoveries for the researcher, encourages recruitment and retention in studies, and increases environmental health literacy for participants (the ability to understand and act on knowledge to protect health). To scale-up access to biomonitoring results, this project will create a digital dashboard for researchers to generate personalized reports, and it will test innovative smartphone methods to improve usability of reports in low-income communities.

Assessment of Pediatric Immunotoxicity, Public Education, and Capacity-Building in Communities Impacted by PFAS-Contaminated Drinking Water

Phil Brown, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Start-End Dates: 2018 – 2023

The objectives of this grant are to work with the Portsmouth (Pease Tradeport) and Hyannis communities to quantify associations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs, often called PFCs) serum concentrations in children with immune response and metabolomics profiles. We will develop an online network with resources for community education and engagement, and interview community members to analyze the experiences of residents in impacted communities. The research tools and community resources developed by this project support and connect other communities that face similar challenges in responding to PFAS-contaminated drinking water.

Community Activism on PFAS Chemicals

Phil Brown, Principal Investigator
Funder: National Science Foundation
Start-End Dates: 2018-2021

This project examines the national network of community groups dealing with PFAS contamination, using our national database for quantitative analysis, as well as interviews and observations for a subsample. It also includes water testing in a New Hampshire community that is highly impacted.

Family Gym

Carmen Castaneda Sceppa, Co-Principal Investigator
Funder:
Boston Children’s Community Physical Activity, Recreation, and Food Fund
Start-End Dates: 2018-2021

The goal is to expand Family Gym –a free, weekly play program that promotes physical activity for children ages 3-8 and their families, living in neighborhoods with high rates of obesity and low-access to safe, accessible play areas – to nine communities served by the Boston Center’s for Youth and Families.

The New Chemical Class Activism: Mobilization Around Per- and Polyfluoralkyl (PFAS) Substances

Phil Brown, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Science Foundation
Start-End Dates: 2018 – 2021

This project examines the rapid formation of a national, networked social movement across the United States in response to industrial and military uses of per- and polyfluorinated compounds (PFASs), a class of over 3,000 chemical compounds with a broad range of adverse health outcomes. The aims of this grant are to analyze the characteristics of local organizing using a Contamination Site Database; analyze the origins, influences, priorities, and outcomes of a new form of chemical class SMO activism; and understand how community groups use and interpret emerging science by collaborating on water sampling with a PFAS SMO. This grant supports Northeastern undergraduate Co-op students to work on related research.

The Health Effects of Access to Green and Blue Spaces among Urban Teens

Laura Senier, Principal Investigator
Funder:
Northeastern University Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice
Start-End Dates: 2018-2019

This pilot project will assess exposure to green and blue spaces and explore how these recreational amenities are associated with mental or emotional health and well-being among teens in two Boston-area neighborhoods. The terms green and blue spaces are drawn from the literature on therapeutic landscapes; the former is generally taken to mean parks, playgrounds, and open space, while the latter is taken to mean rivers, streams, and beaches. This CPBR (Community-Based Participatory Research) project explicitly gives teens a voice in identifying benefits and barriers in using green and blue spaces and how they affect their health and well-being.

Children’s Immunotoxicity to PFAS Chemicals, Public and Professional Education, and Community Capacity-Building

Phil Brown, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Start-End Dates: 2017-2022

This project evaluates immune responses among children exposed to PFASs via AFFF-contaminated drinking water, develops an online portal as a community-building and educational resource, studies experiences of people in communities impacted by PFAS-contaminated drinking water, and develops educational outreach materials.

Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes in Puerto Rico (ECHO-PRO)

Justin Manjourides, Co-Investigator
Funder:
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Start-End Dates: 2016 – 2023

We leverage and build upon an active birth cohort in Puerto Rico (“PROTECT”) that has recently initiated infant/child follow-up (“CRECE”). ECHO-PRO will provide data and biospecimens for 570 mother-child pairs already participating in the PROTECT/CRECE cohort, as well as recruit an additional 1100 pregnant women, yielding 990 more children, for a total of 1560 mother-child pairs with data and biospecimens to be integrated into the ECHO Consortium.

Social Equity and Environmental Justice in Urban Water Systems

Sharon Harlan, NU Site Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Science Foundation
Start-End Dates: 2016-2021

This project is a network of academic institutions and key partners across the U.S. that collaborate on research, engagement, and educational programs to address water challenges such as climate change, urbanization, pollution, and aging water infrastructure.  At Northeastern, we examine the unequal distribution of water burdens and benefits in low-income and minority communities, the origins of water inequities, and community-based efforts to improve science and management of water resources.

Transdisciplinary Training at the Intersection of Environmental Health and Social Science

Phil Brown, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Start-End Dates: 2015 – 2020

The Transdisciplinary Training at the Intersection of Environmental Health and Social Science began in 2015, provides support for six doctoral students for three years each, and three post-docs for two years each. Trainees divide their time between SSEHRI and Silent Spring Institute, with time spent working with additional Northeastern faculty and community organizations as well.

Center for Research on Early Childhood Exposure and Development in Puerto Rico (CRECE)

Justin Manjourides, Co-Investigator
Funder:
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Start-End Dates: 2015 – 2020

The Center for Early Childhood Exposure and Development in Puerto Rico (CRECE) examines the impact of a mix of exposures effects and modifying factors on fetal and early childhood health and development. The CRECE essentially continues the efforts of the PROTECT Center by extending follow-up from birth to four years of age, incorporating additional exposures, evaluating mediating effects and assessing modification by non- chemical factors. This work involves epidemiologic investigations, informed by in vitro mechanistic studies using a high throughput toxicogenomic screening platform, and complemented by the development of new statistical methods for multi-dimensional environmental exposure data.

Social and Scientific Discovery of PFAS Chemicals

Phil Brown, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Science Foundation
Start-End Dates: 2015-2019

This project investigates the social discovery of perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS), hazardous fluorine-based chemicals widely used in industrial production, and examines scientific, regulatory and advocacy action to restrict their use. This project supports undergraduates to study PFAS-contaminated sites via interviews, observations, and analysis of scientific and government documents from those sites.

Health Across the Lifespan

Bone microarchitecture, diabetes and change in bone mineral density in Purto Rican Adults

John Griffith, Biostatistician
Funder: National Institutes of Health
Start-End Dates: 2018–2022

Osteoporosis and low bone mass currently affect more than 54 million older adults in the U.S., and osteoporotic fractures result in significant disability and decreased quality of life. Preliminary data suggest that Caribbean Hispanic adults are at increased risk for osteoporosis compared to non-Hispanic adults. This study will help guide urgently needed public health strategies that address risk factors for, and early detection of, osteoporosis in this population.

Family Gym

Carmen Castaneda Sceppa, Co-Principal Investigator
Funder:
Boston Children’s Community Physical Activity, Recreation, and Food Fund
Start-End Dates: 2018-2021

The goal is to expand Family Gym –a free, weekly play program that promotes physical activity for children ages 3-8 and their families, living in neighborhoods with high rates of obesity and low-access to safe, accessible play areas – to nine communities served by the Boston Center’s for Youth and Families.

Exercise, cfDNA and Health

Rui Li, Principal Investigator
Funder:
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital
Start-End Dates: 2018-2019

The purpose of this research is to investigate a new biomarker in response to exercise: cell-free DNA. Measurement of cfDNA may potentially be a less invasive way to monitor changes due to exercise and see if we can use it as a tool to determine why exercise increases the health of individuals.

Dietary Quality, Congitive Decline and Brain Health in Puerto Rican Adults

John Griffith, Biostatistician
Funder:
National Institutes of Health
Start-End Dates: 2017–2022

Cognitive decline is an increasing health concern among U.S. Latino adults, particularly those of Puerto Rican heritage. This project aims to quantify the importance of highly processed foods consumption and phosphorus and vitamin B6 status in relation to cognitive decline (psychometric testing) and brain health (MRI) among older U.S. mainland Puerto Rican adults. With the growing and aging Latino population in the U.S likely to contribute to major increases in the burden of cognitive decline, these data will provide critical information to improve our understanding of preventive risk factors that may inform interventions.

Comparative Assessment of Modifying Social Determinants to Reduce Cardiovascular Disease

Daniel Kim, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Start-End Dates: 2017-2020

The goal of this project is to investigate multiple population- and individual-level social and economic determinants as predictors of cardiovascular disease incidence, mortality, and risk factors and to compare and contrast their population health and economic impacts.

Boston Roybal Center for Active Lifestyle Interventions (RALI)

Carmen Castaneda Sceppa, NU Site Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Institute on Aging, Roybal Centers for Translational Research on Aging
Starting-Ending Dates: 2014-2019

The overall goal of the Boston Roybal Center (BRC) is to develop and test behavior change strategies to promote healthy aging, especially for adults at high risk for poor health outcomes.

Technology and Health

A Self-powered Smart Ring for Always-On Health Interventionss

Holly Jimison, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Science Foundation
Start-End Dates: 2020-2021

The researchers will develop a wearable monitoring device (in the form of a ring) that never needs charging. They will harvest energy from indoor solar cells and develop intelligent computational approaches to minimize the power consumption from the sensors and the management of data. Stress management guides the ring development. This is an application where monitoring devices typically need to be charged every 6 hours due to multiple sensors (heart rate, heart rate variability, electrodermal activity, accelerometry) and require dynamic clinical protocols for user feedback and motivation.

Real-time Behavior Sensing to Enhance the Efficacy of a Physical Activity Intervention Among Older Adults

Dinesh John, Principal Investigator
Funder:
N/A
Start-End Dates: 2020-2021

The study is examining the efficacy of a personalized, behavior-aware technology that integrates behavior change theory and two-way communication to promote physical activity, fitness, and function in adults greater than 60 years old. This work combines sensor and mobile technologies with generic goals of context-sensitive behavioral science such as description, understanding, prediction, and conditioning of behavior to yield sustainable change in overall daily physical activity behavior and health in adults 60 and older.

The Autism Inpatient Collection: Phase 3: Shifting the Paradigm for Understanding and Treating Aggression in Autism

Matthew Goodwin, Subcontract Principal Investigator
Funder:
Simons Foundation for Autism Research
Start-End Dates: 2019-2021

The goal of this project is to predict the imminent onset of aggressive behavior in individuals with autism using wearable biosensor data and prospectively pilot test the accuracy, reliability, and impact of real-time risk prediction alerts.

Nonparametric Depth-Based Methods for Analyzing High-Dimensional Data

Sara Lopez-Pintado, Principal Investigator
Funder:
National Institute of Mental Health
Start-End Dates: August 2019 – June 2021

In this project we plan to develop outlier detection methods and robust nonparametric group differences tests for the statistical analysis of complex high-dimensional data, such as functional and imaging data, which are common in many emerging biomedical fields. In particular, our applications focus on brain imaging data from severe depressed patients and on body mass index (BMI) trajectories in children with early onset obesity.

Predicting Situational Onset of Aggression in Minimally Verbal Youth with Autism Using Biosensor Data & Machine Learning Algorithms

Kristin Madison, Principal Investigator
Funder:
Department of Defense
Start-End Dates: 2018-2021

The goal of this project is to observe and record aggression to others in 40 MV-ASD inpatient youth during repeated naturalistic observations in an inpatient psychiatric hospital until while they wear wireless biosensors and evaluation the positive predictive value and reliability of imminent aggression prediction.

Smart and Connected Churches for Promoting Health in Disadvantaged Populations

Andrea Parker, Co-Principal Investigator
Funder:
Northeastern University Tier 1 Grant Program
Start-End Dates: 2018-2019

The goals of this project are to design a digital service system with a mobile application interface to support elderly evacuees’ sense of autonomy in collective decision making during evacuations.

Attentional, Temperamental, and Physiological Process Underlying Anxiety in Preschoolers with ASD

Matthew Goodwin, Consultant
Funder:
National Institute of Mental Health
Start-End Dates: 2017-2022

The goal of this project is to experimentally quantify attentional, affective, behavioral, physiological, and temperamental factors associated with anxiety in 4-year-olds with autism, other developmental disorders, and typical development.

Clinical and Behavioral Phenotyping of Autism and Related Disorders

Matthew Goodwin, Consultant
Start-End Dates: 2015-2020

The goal of this project is to establish clinical, behavioral, and physiological phenotyping measures of autism and related disorders.

UCLA Center for Translational Research in Neurodevelopment: UC-TRaN

Matthew Goodwin, Consultant
Start-End Dates: 2015-2020

Advise the UCLA Autism Center of Excellence Translational Research Core in selecting and using ambulatory autonomic and physical activity measures.