2016 Scholars

Name: Zachary (Zack) Adams
Degree: Ph.D., Clinical Psychology
Institution/University: Indiana University School of Medicine (as of July 15, 2016; currently at Medical University of South Carolina)
Position: Assistant Professor
Research Interests: etiology and treatment of co-occurring mental illness and addiction; technology-based clinical assessment and treatment approaches; remote measurement of psychiatric biomarkers; child and adolescent mental health
Research Summary: The overarching goal of my current work is to reduce the public health burden of substance use disorders and mental illness, particularly among young people. My program of research focuses on two areas: (1) risk and resilience factors underlying substance use and mental health problems in youth and young adults; and (2) novel interventions for trauma-related mental health problems in young people. In collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of colleagues, my research involves the development and evaluation mobile and web-based technologies designed to improve the real-world validity of assessment tools used in research studies and clinical practice, as well as bolster the efficiency, impact, and reach of evidence-based interventions for mental illness and substance use problems.

Name: LaPrincess Brewer
Degree: MD, MPH
Institution/University: Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Position: Cardiologist
Research Interests: Cardiovascular diseases health disparities, community-based participatory research, women’s health
Research Summary: The aim of this project is to develop culturally-relevant, unique, educational content on cardiovascular health and wellness topics (diet, smoking, physical inactivity, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, obesity) for African-Americans and deliver it to members of local faith communities via innovative and interactive on-demand technology utilizing web-based and personal tablet device modalities. We plan to use community-based participatory processes to meet the health needs of African-Americans in Rochester, MN and the Minneapolis-St. Paul areas. Our overarching goal is to increase the awareness and critical importance of healthy lifestyles for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention and provide support for behavior change. We will examine diet and physical activity-related self-efficacy and self-empowerment, knowledge of modifiable cardiac risk factors and CVD risk factor profiles (blood pressure, lipids, glucose, weight, waist circumference, diet, physical activity, smoking).

Name: Erin E. Bonar
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: University of Michigan, Addiction Center
Position: Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Prevention and treatment of substance use and concomitant risk behaviors.
Research Summary: My research focuses on the prevention and treatment of substance use disorders and related consequences among populations ranging from adolescents to adults. I am particularly interested in leveraging mobile and social technologies in order to improve assessment, treatments, and prevention programs to improve the lives of individuals with substance use problems while reducing the public health burden of substance use.

Name: Roxanna M. Bendixen
Degree: PhD - Rehabilitation Science
Institution/University: University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Position: Assistant Professor
Research Interests: pediatrics; rare disorders; mobile health for self-management; multi-sensory tracking devices for community-based outcomes
Research Summary: My current research focuses on children and youth diagnosed with rare disease (specifically neuromuscular disorders, Barth Syndrome, spina bifida) and includes 1) annotation of behavior through the use of multi-sensory tracking devices to detect activity levels, spatial behavior, heart rate, and sleep patterns over time; 2) the affect of illness and disability on transitions and quality of life as children with rare disorders age into adolescence and adulthood; 3) the use of mobile technology for self-monitoring and self-management.

Name: Philip Chow
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: University of Virginia
Position: Postdoc/Research Associate
Research Interests: Emotion; Personality; Depression and Anxiety; Active and passive sensing using smart phones
Research Summary: My research examines the roles of emotion and personality traits in mood and anxiety disorders, as well as how these variables change over time. Much of my past research has focused on how emotion (e.g., the perceived usefulness of emotions) and personality (e.g., neuroticism, conscientiousness) constructs impact variables associated with mental health. My recent work leverages smart phone capabilities to collect passive (e.g., location information) and active (e.g., self-report responses) data in people’s natural environments. I am currently investigating how trajectories of mood and thoughts differ between those low and high in social anxiety and depression. In the future, I am interested in conducting more research examining how people react to discrete events and how affective reactions might correlate with personality trait change.

Name: Jason Clague
Degree: PhD Student
Institution/University: UCLA
Position: Graduate Student Researcher
Research Interests: Causal Inference, Missing Data, Machine Learning, and Spatial Methods
Research Summary (100-150 words on your main research focus): My primary research is the development of statistical methodology to identify and correct detrimental oral health behaviors using the Remote Oral Behaviors Assessment System (ROBAS). This is accomplished through development of ecological momentary assessments (EMAs), utilizing the ROBAS to identify at risk users, and administering interventions with the intention of changing habitual behaviors that are detrimental to the user’s oral health. The process of administering interventions is optimized by using causal inference methods developed for n=1 situations. By using these methods, we can create tailored intervention plans for each individual using the ROBAS and maximize the effectiveness of the interventions.https://mhealth.md2k.org/administrator/index.php?option=com_modules&view=module&layout=edit&id=303#

Name: Eliza Congdon
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: University of California Los Angeles
Position: Assistant Professor
Research Summary: I am an Assistant Professor in the UCLA Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics and Department of Psychiatry and use fast-acting treatment interventions as a model to investigate neurobiological changes underlying treatment response in depression, specifically changes in gene regulation that underlie treatment response and relapse. As part of this research, I have begun to pilot methods to use mobile mood assessments during post-treatment period to better chart the trajectory of response and relapse in patients. As Project Director of the UCLA Depression Grand Challenge Human Studies Component, I am also involved in the planning of the integration of novel mobile technologies in this initiative, which aims to screen 100K individuals to identify the genetic, biological, cognitive, social and environmental factors associated with depression.

Name: Janet Cummings
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health
Position: Associate Professor
Research Interests: Dr. Cummings’ research focuses on issues concerning access to and quality of behavioral health services, with a particular emphasis on racial/ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic disparities in treatment. One line of her research has used large national surveys and administrative databases to examine racial/ethnic disparities in mental health and substance abuse treatment among children and adolescents. Another line of her work has examined the role of community-level barriers to mental health and substance use treatment for vulnerable populations, especially the geographic availability of behavioral health providers and clinics across diverse communities. Dr. Cummings currently has a K01 Career Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health that examines determinants of mental health service use among Medicaid-enrolled children in the safety-net using quantitative and qualitative methods.

Name: Walter Dempsey
Degree: Statistics, Ph.D.
Institution/University: University of Michigan Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Research Interests: survival analysis, Bayesian nonparametrics, machine learning, complex longitudinal data analysis
Research Summary: My main area of research is statistical methods for joint modeling of longitudinal and survival time data. Historically this work has focused on the clinical setting in which the event was death. Novel statistical methods and associated theory were developed in this setting, providing more appropriate models for the underlying survival processes. More recently my focus has been on extending these methods to the mHealth setting. This requires handling the complex longitudinal data arising in mHealth studies ­ sensor observations, in addition to self-report - that would be useful in predicting events such as lapse, relapse, and intervention disengagement. My theoretical area of interest is appropriate notions of exchangeability for counting processes as well as interaction network data. This work is closely connected with Bayesian nonparametric statistics. This theory provides the foundation for novel statistical methods that naturally adapt to the complexity of the data.

Name: David Do
Degree: M.D.
Institution/University: University of Pennsylvania
Position: Resident, Neurology
Research Interests: Interoperability, Usability
Research Summary: I am an app developer and physician interested in novel displays of clinical data. Before residency, I worked in consumer web, where I became inspired by the emphasis on usability, design, and agile development. In the hospital, I incorporate these principles and methods to design clinical software that is tuned to workflow, several of which are in widespread use. One current project, Dash, involves designing specialty-specific views that integrate data from multiple modalities (e.g labs, imaging, observations) into layouts that are familiar to physicians, allowing them to make important clinical decisions (e.g. antibiotic changes) using a single screen.

Name: Rebecca Fraynt
Degree: PhD (Clinical Psychology)
Institution/University: The Informatics Applications Group
Position: Contract Support Psychologist for National Center for Telehealth and Technology
Research Interests: I am interested in studying the efficacy and effectiveness of mHealth technologies in treating and preventing behavioral health problems. I am particularly interested in how mHealth can be integrated in healthcare settings (particularly primary care and behavioral health clinics), and the potential of mHealth to decrease provider burnout and improve patient outcomes.
Research Summary: I am interested in whether mHealth technologies can be used to enhance bystander intervention training to prevent sexual violence. Bystander interventions teach all community members they are responsible for preventing sexual assault, reduce barriers to intervening in situations along the sexual violence continuum, and teach skills to do so (Gidycz et. al, 2011). I am currently working on a team developing mHealth technologies to help prevent sexual violence in the military. We are interested in whether service members who access a mobile bystander intervention training program (including interactive quizzes, videos, and other psychoeducational content) show improvements in their sexual violence related knowledge and attitudes, as well as an increase in active bystander behaviors.

Name: Aqueasha Martin-Hammond
Degree: Ph.D. Computer Science
Institution/University: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Position: Postdoctoral Researcher transitioning to Assistant Professor at IUPUI
Research Interests: Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), mHealth and HIT Design, Accessibility, Persuasive Technology Design, Intelligent and Personalized Systems
Research Summary: I am a Human-Computer Interaction researcher working in the areas of persuasive and personalized system design in the contexts of health and accessibility. I design systems for older adults and people with disabilities, in particular, individuals with hand motor impairments. My postdoctoral work examines how to design intelligent systems that can automatically learn about a user’s pointing behaviors (e.g. mouse clicks, menu slips) and use this data to provide personalized assistance to users. The project is motivated by the goal to improve computer accessibility but specifically focuses on understanding the types of information and computer automated assistance that can persuade individuals to adopt and use these types of assistive technology tools. I am also exploring the design implications for personalized mHealth tools that can assist older adults with medication information. The primary focus of this project is to understand how mobile technology can support older adults when making medication decisions.

Name: Aaron Haslam
Degree: M.A.
Institution/University: Texas Tech University/ University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Position: Graduate Student
Research Interests: Smoking cessation in cancer patients; depression and adjustment to cancer;
Research Summary: My research interests focus on ways to improve smoking cessation outcomes, particularly among cancer patients. Broadly, I am interested in examining how the dynamics of an individual’s context and variations in their affective states influence smoking behavior early on during a quit attempt. More specifically, I examine the impact of dynamic changes depressive symptoms and experience of stressors have on smoking lapses and smoking related outcomes (e.g., urges) early in the quit process. Further I am interested in applying knowledge gained from observational studies into cessation treatments. I am also interested in the measurement and treatment of depression and overall psychosocial adjustment in cancer patients.

Name: Bo-Jhang Ho
Degree: Ph.D. Student
Institution/University: UCLA
Position: Research Assistant
Research Interests: Mobile Sensing, Data Mining, Machine Learning
Research Summary : Mr. Ho works in the Networked & Embedded System Laboratory at UCLA supervised by Dr. Mani Srivastava. His research interests lie in mobile sensing—inferring human behavior and activities through sensor data by applying various machine learning algorithms or signal processing techniques. Recently, he proposed an air-pressure based localization technique and published in BuildSys’15, and he is looking into the activity sensing domain by a single wrist sensor. He is also interested in privacy implications on sensory data collection such as side channel attacks from malicious apps.

Name: Marta Jankowska
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: University of California San Diego
Position: Assistant Research Scientist
Research Interests: spatial sciences, public health, and mobile intervention strategies
Research Summary: The majority of my research focuses on spatial and health data integration and analytic methodologies to push public health and health sciences into systems approaches for understanding population health. The increasing integration of location with other types of data has profound potential: it can shed light on underlying causation of patterns, help us understand local and global processes, establish how networks operate, and uncover previously unknown relationships linked through space. As the integration of spatial data in the health sciences grows, its integration with other existing data sources will require research innovation into three core areas: data organization and cyberinfrastructure, analytical methods, and conceptual approaches. My current research projects focus on developing and solidifying these linkages for novel public health applications.

Name: Christine E. King, PhD
Degree: Doctorate of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering
Institution/University: University of California, Los Angeles
Position: Research Manager, Department of Computer Science
Research Interests: wireless health systems, mHealth, community based interventions, asthma, brain-computer interface systems, neurorehabilitation, rehabilitation
Research Summary: Dr. Christine King received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from UC Irvine, where she focused on brain-computer interface systems for neurorehabilitation after neurological injury such as stroke and spinal cord injury. She then pursued wireless health research for larger scaled community-based rehabilitation after stroke as an AHA Bugher Fellow under Dr. Bruce Dobkin in the Wireless Health Institute at UCLA. She is now a research manager and project scientist in the Center for SMART Health at UCLA under Dr. Majid Sarrafzadeh, where she develops mHealth systems for the self-management of pediatric asthma and other healthcare related community-based interventions with a team of computer scientists, physicians, and engineers.

Name: Archana Krishnan
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: University at Albany, State University of New York
Position: Assistant Professor of Communication
Research Interests: Computer-mediated communication, Impact of communication/mobile technology on health behavior, Global and public health, Media effects
Research Summary: My primary research interest is in examining the role of new media and communication technology on health outcomes and behavior. Recent projects have centered around the following themes: (1) individual differences in personality and communication traits on adoption and use of new media and communication technology; (2) health disparities and medical outcomes among vulnerable populations such as people living with HIV (PLWH) and substance users; and (3) mHealth feasibility and acceptability among PLWH or at risk of HIV. The future direction of my work will involve large-scale mHealth-based behavioral interventions to improve medication adherence and retention in care among underserved populations.

Name: Virginia LeBaron
Degree: PhD, APRN
Institution/University: University of Virginia
Position: Assistant Professor
Research Interests: oncology palliative care, provider-patient communication, cancer pain management
Research Summary: My research focuses on how to improve the quality of care provided to patients and families coping with advanced stage cancer. Specifically, I am interested in exploring how wearable sensors could help improve communication related to cancer pain management.

Name: Megan McVay
Degree: PhD
Institution/University: Duke University Medical Center
Position: Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Digital tools for behavioral weight management; Using the primary care setting to engage patients in weight management behaviors.
Research Summary: My research focuses on behavioral weight management, with an emphasis on developing and testing digital health interventions to improve engagement in weight control behaviors in adults. I am particularly interested in how digital health tools can be used to extend the patient-provider relationship outside of the clinical appointment in order to support patient health behavior change. As part of my NIH-funded career development award, I am developing and testing an intervention that aims to extend the primary care session by having patients complete an assessment and receive automated, motivational feedback prior to their primary care visit in order to increase initiation of behavioral weight loss treatment. I am also interested in developing strategies to incorporate health care providers’ feedback into patients’ experiences of using mobile self-monitoring technologies, such as dietary self-monitoring apps.

Name: Lisa K. Militello
Degree: PhD, MPH
Institution/University: The Ohio State University
Position: Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Research Interests: mHealth, pediatrics, childhood obesity, adaptive interventions
Research Summary: My current research focuses on three areas: 1) understanding the role of family preferences for receiving healthy lifestyle behavior support from their child’s primary care provider supplemented with mHealth (starting with rule-based text messaging algorithms), 2) leverage this information to gain experience in mHealth intervention research in pediatric ambulatory care, and 3) propel this evidence forward to inform design of an optimized adaptive intervention (AI) within the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST) framework capable for scalability and clinical uptake. I hope to gain and also contribute to a better understanding of evidence-based mHealth applications that promote meaningful use in pediatric populations, yet simple enough to be absorbed into clinical practice.

Name: Mia Minen
Degree: MD, MPH
Institution/University: New York University Medical School
Position: Director of the NYU Langone Headache Center
Research Interests: Improving migraine diagnosis and management across specialties using technology that incorporates evidence based behavioral therapies
Research Summary: 36 million Americans suffer from migraine. Of the 40% of migraineurs who qualify for preventive therapies, only 13% of those who qualify receive it. Behavioral headache treatments (e.g., progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)) are effective migraine treatment options that are essentially free of side effects. Behavioral treatments have enduring benefits and may be less costly than pharmacologic interventions. A systematic review of electronic behavioral interventions for headache I conducted suggested feasibility for electronically delivered behavioral interventions for headache. However, despite the increasing interest in mHealth, no studies used smartphone applications (apps) for behavioral headache intervention delivery. We propose to develop and optimize an app with a headache diary and PMR component which could then be used in a pilot and feasibility study that will evaluate the impact of introducing behavioral treatment for migraine in the Emergency Department using a smartphone app.

Name: Stacey L. Schepens Niemiec
Degree: BS and MS in Occupational Therapy; PhD in Instructional Technology
Institution/University: University of Southern California
Position: Research Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Exploring applications of mobile health and wireless technology to promote successful aging ; examining the interrelationships between activity patterns, chronic conditions, mobility, and falls in older adults in order to inform the development of health and wellness programs for the aging population.
Research Summary: Despite the well-established health benefits of physical activity, less than 10% of people aged 60+ years meet national physical activity guidelines. Currently, I am collaborating on an interdisciplinary team comprised of health professionals, engineers, and community stakeholders to develop, test, and optimize a smartphone app suite designed to overcome elders’ commonly reported physical activity barriers and thereby facilitate physical activity engagement. The app is distinct from generic fitness apps because it blends evidence-based behavior change techniques in the core app (e.g., self-regulation through activity monitoring), with three specialty features supported by constructs from social cognitive and stereotype embodiment theory that have been empirically linked to elder physical activity. Specialty features include: 1) implicit and explicit messaging functions that promote positive views and stereotypes of aging, 2) sedentary activity monitoring with motivational messaging and peer-generated suggestions, and 3) data-driven, automated remote coaching and support.

Name: Nima Nikzad
Degree: Computer Science, PhD
Institution/University: Scripps Translational Science Institute
Position: Post-doctoral Fellow
Research Interests: Non-obtrusive health monitoring; energy-efficient mobile sensing; software engineering; air quality and respiratory health
Research Summary: Technology will play an important role in making the future of healthcare both scalable and accessible to underserved communities. While personal, wearable devices can help an individual manage a disease or reach a particular health goal, sensors that are built into our phones, homes, offices, and neighborhoods will be able to provide additional insight into the health of our communities in a low-cost and low-burden manner. My primary research interests lie in (1) the development of new sensor devices that can non-obtrusively and passively monitor an individual’s environment and physiological response to exposure, (2) energy-management techniques for continuously-running smartphone applications, and (3) static and dynamic program analysis techniques that ease the development of efficient and reliable software.

Name: Kimberly H. McManama O’Brien
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School/Simmons School of Social Work
Position: Clinical Researcher/Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Intervention development for suicidal adolescents, with and without comorbid substance use, and their families
Research Summary: I am committed to a research agenda focused on the development and testing of brief interventions for suicidal adolescents and their families, with an additional specialization on adolescents who use substances. I am in the second year of a Young Investigator Grant from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to test a brief alcohol intervention for adolescents who have attempted suicide. I am also currently co-developing and testing a smartphone application intervention for suicidal adolescents and their parents, and conducting a qualitative study to examine preparatory thoughts and behaviors of adolescents who have attempted suicide. In addition, I am committed to training health professionals in suicide- and substance-related knowledge and brief interventions, as I recently co-developed a course on Understanding Suicide which is now being disseminated and taught nationally, and I am co-directing a Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment training grant at Simmons College, funded by SAMHSA.

Name: Mashfiqui Rabbi
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
Research Interests: Adaptive intervention, Mobile sensing, Health

Name: Rachelle R. Ramsey
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Position: Research Assistant Professor
Research Interests: health technology, mHealth, pediatric asthma, self-management
Research Summary: My program of research focuses on improving self-management and health outcomes in children with pediatric chronic conditions using health technology as platform for delivery and dissemination. I have recently started an independent line of research focused on the use of health technology to improve self-management in youth with asthma. My current projects include an examination of the use of and desires for health technology to aid in the improvement of asthma self-management, an assessment of the efficacy of a progressive reminder system mHealth application to improve adherence in teens with headache, and the telehealth delivery of a problem-solving intervention informed by real-time adherence as assessed by electronic inhaler sensors. I am also interested in expanding my work to the development of mHealth tools to improve self-management and health outcomes for children with chronic conditions.

Name: H. Jonathon Rendina
Degree: MPH (Biostatistics), Ph.D. (Social Psychology)
Institution/University: Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training (CHEST), Hunter College, CUNY
Position: Research Scientist
Research Interests: Social stress and health; situational variability in social, psychological, behavioral, and biological processes
Research Summary: I received my MPH in Biostatistics in 2013 from Hunter College, CUNY, and my PhD in Social Psychology in 2014 from The Graduate Center, CUNY. I completed NIMH-funded NRSA pre-doctoral research training (F31-MH0958622) at Hunter College’s Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training (CHEST; www.chestnyc.org) and currently serve as a Research Scientist at CHEST. I received a NIDA career development award (K01-DA039030) in 2015 to gain advanced training in neuroscience and behavioral intervention development. I am broadly interested in the role of social stress on health, and am currently pursuing research looking at how HIV-related stigma influences the mental, behavioral, and physical health of HIV-positive gay and bisexual men. Much of my research uses online-based methods, particularly intensive longitudinal designs such as ecological momentary assessment (EMA), and my ultimate goal is to develop and test a stress management/emotion regulation mobile health (i.e., mHealth) intervention. Through my role at CHEST, I also collaborate on a variety of formative and intervention studies on primary and secondary HIV prevention (e.g., pre-exposure prophylaxis, HIV medication adherence) as well as substance use and treatment.

Name: Kelly Ryan
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: University of Michigan
Position: Clinical Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Use of neuropsychological tests to inform functional outcomes among medical and psychiatric populations, use of technology to capture real-time measurements of functioning; impact of neuropsychological functioning on patient and caregiver well-being, and specifically cognitive and functional changes in mood disorders.
Research Summary: My research focuses on understanding the impact of cognitive impairment, and specifically executive dysfunction, and psychiatric/behavioral symptoms on real-life outcomes for those with chronic, debilitating disorders and their caregivers. This has included studying those with dementia, mild cognitive changes, multiple sclerosis, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. Most recently, my work has been focusing on those with chronic mood disorders. My goal is to understand both poor adaptive functional trajectories and successful functional recovery that may help to improve the diagnostic process and allow for accurate predictions about susceptibility, course, or response to treatment. I have been doing this by examining the longitudinal nature of cognitive and functional changes in a large, naturalistic study of bipolar disorder. Through this work, I have begun to see the need to use usable technological interfaces to provide real-time in vivo assessment of functioning behaviors. Therefore, we are using Ecological Momentary Assessment methodology with mobile technologies, along with passive mobile phone sensing, to capture daily fluctuations in mood, cognition, and daily functioning with the goal of developing better bi-directional measurement-based tools that can inform the development of personalized medicine approaches.

Name: Thomas Scherr
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: Vanderbilt University
Position: Post-doctoral Research Scholar
Research Interests: Mobile health applications for disease diagnostics, low resource healthcare, microfluidics, biotransport
Research Summary: My research focuses on the development of global health technologies. This broadly encompasses rapid diagnostic devices, infectious disease surveillance tools, and clinical sample processing equipment. Research in these fields is driven by a need for practical solutions to the challenges in global health care, and it requires a highly interdisciplinary approach: it is equal parts engineering, computer science, and biochemistry, and it utilizes both experimental and computational approaches. Most recently, I have investigated the use of mobile phones for accurate interpretation of malaria rapid diagnostic tests. This work brings together elements of digital image analysis, signal processing, biomedical informatics, and molecular diagnostic test development. Coupling this test analysis with immediate cloud-based results reporting creates a new paradigm that will enable national health officials to make informed decisions in malaria elimination campaigns. I envision this as a mobile health platform that can be readily applied to other infectious diseases.

Name: Beth A. Smith
Degree: P.T., Ph.D.
Institution/University: University of Southern California
Position: Assistant Professor of Research
Research Interests: infant neuromotor development, early intervention
Research Summary: My research interest is in understanding the relationship between infant movement, underlying neural control, and functional outcomes. To study this I use two technologies (wearable sensors and electroencephalography (EEG)) to fully capture and measure infant movement. I use wearable sensors to accurately capture and measure an infants’ full repertoire of movement through full-day monitoring. I use EEG to measure underlying neural control of movement. The overall hypothesis of my work is that quantity, type, and quality of infant limb movements represent underlying brain development, and that advances in movement skill reflect (and contribute to) underlying brain development. My interest in the mHealth Summer Training Institute is to use smartphone surveys to collect real-time, real-world information about the movement context an infant is in, in order to combine contextual information with the full-day wearable sensor data we are collecting.

Name: Ambuj Tewari
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Position: Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Machine learning
Research Summary: I am interested in using machine learning to personalize Just-in-time Adaptive Interventions (JITAIs). I am interested in questions such as: How do we design algorithms to detect appropriate opportunities to intervene, both for reducing undesirable as well as for increasing positive health behaviors? At an opportunity to intervene, how do we select among multiple available intervention options? Special consideration needs to be given to both the health outcome of interest as well as user engagement with the app. How can we intervene at the social network level to improve overall health outcomes rather than just focusing at the individual level? Can mobile health provide better access to mental healthcare in developing countries, especially India, with poor mental healthcare infrastructure?

Name: Kiara Timpano
Degree: PhD, Clinical Psychology
Institution/University: University of Miami
Position: Associate Professor
Research Interests: risk and vulnerability for anxiety and obsessive compulsive spectrum disorders
Research Summary: The focus of my program of research is on mechanisms and integrative risk models that seek to predict symptoms, explain associated features, and help inform treatments across the anxiety and obsessive compulsive (OC) spectrums. Across investigations, I strive to identify modifiable targets for treatment or prevention efforts. Currently I am an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami (UM), and the director of the Program for Anxiety, Stress, and OCD (PASO). My work to date has focused on examining cognitive and biological vulnerability factors that may contribute to anxiety and OC spectrum pathology, as well as general self-regulatory difficulties. Within my lab we have conducted experimental and translational research, with clinical, at-risk, and non-clinical samples, and routinely rely on psychophysiological assessments, including eye-tracking technology, to provide a better index of “in the moment” responding.

Name: Christine Vinci
Degree: Ph.D.
Institution/University: Rice University
Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
Research Interests: smoking cessation, alcohol use, mindfulness, health disparities, mHealth
Research Summary: My research focuses on cognitive and affective mechanisms (e.g., affect, affect regulation, expectancies) implicated in the development, maintenance, and treatment of health-risk behaviors. Key themes of my work include: 1) understanding mechanisms associated with smoking and alcohol use, 2) elucidating the role of socioeconomic status (SES) and race/ethnicity in tobacco use and cessation, and 3) understanding how mindfulness relates to key mechanisms implicated in health-risk behaviors and comorbid mental health disorders (e.g., depression, posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]). My research aims to promote health behavior change and decrease health-risk behaviors through emerging methodologies (e.g., ecological momentary assessment, human sensing technology, advanced statistics) and interventions (e.g., mindfulness).

Name: Karen L. Whiteman
Degree: Ph.D. 
Institution/University: Dartmouth College
Position: Post-Doctoral Fellow
Research Interests: Geriatric mental health services research; Developing scalable interventions for older adults with serious mental illness that maximize effectiveness and reach.
Research Summary: Karen Whiteman, Ph.D., is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Geriatric Mental Health Services (NRSA T32MH073553) at Dartmouth Centers for Health and Aging. Her primary research interest is service delivery strategies for older adults with serious mental illnesses and chronic health conditions. Dr. Whiteman has 10 years of experience in geriatric mental health services research. Dr. Whiteman is currently engaging in innovative research at the interface of medical and psychiatric self-management and the use of technology and peers (PeerTECH). Dr. Whiteman conducted two usability tests of PeerTECH, and is currently organizing a pilot study to examine the acceptability and preliminary clinical effectiveness of PeerTECH.

Name: Jasmine Zia
Degree: M.D.
Institution/University: University of Washington
Position: Acting Assistant Professor
Research Summary: Patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and their medical providers need a more efficient and effective way to identify personalized trigger foods for symptom reduction than the current pen-andpaper journal methods used. Our interdisciplinary team proposes a new process to help identify personalized IBS trigger foods: N-of-1 experiments combined with randomization as diagramed below. IBS patients will be guided through these experiments using a smartphone application, which will also serve as a data collection tool. In this example, we use lactose as the experimental trigger food (independent variable) and abdominal pain as the IBS symptom (dependent variable).

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