Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Preventive Medicine
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Spring Lab

Bonnie Spring HeadshotThe Spring Lab, led by principal investigator Bonnie J. Spring, PhD, conducts research to test approaches to weight loss, smoking cessation, multiple behavior change and treatment adherence using wearable devices and apps. Our work seeks to foster healthy lifestyles and optimize interventions to reduce risk factors for disease. 

Our mission is to to design and optimize innovative technology-supported interventions that catalyze healthy behavior change.

Ongoing Studies

 

Opt-In and the current clinical trial SMART are part of the lab's work in intervention development to reduce unhealthy diet and activity behaviors related to obesity. Although employing different methodologies, both studies aim to determine the optimal combination of treatment components that will maximize weight loss while minimizing resource consumption. Our work explores the efficacy of interventions on diet, exercise and sedentary behaviors using feedback supplied via mobile technologies, including inexpensive, widely available mHealth tools.

The NUYou Study, an mHealth Intervention to Preserve and Promote Ideal Health is funded by the American Heart Association. This trial asks if we can develop a mobile health application that freshman and sophomore college students will use, and that will help them to maintain or adopt healthy behaviors. This social behavioral study is now in its second year. If you would like to learn more or participate, please follow this link: NUYou.

The Sense2Stop study evaluates whether an app and worn sensors can help smokers quit smoking and not relapse. On Oct. 9, 2014, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced awards for 11 Big Data Centers of Excellence. We're proud to be part of a team of researchers from 11 universities (Cornell Tech, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Michigan, Ohio State, Northwestern, Utah, UCLA, UCSD, UCSF, UMass) and Open mHealth that has been awarded a grant for an NIH Center of Excellence on Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (MD2K). The study evaluates the effects of a just-in-time adaptive intervention (JITAI) to manage stress and to prevent smoking relapse and overeating. You can find more details on our research agenda and learn about participating for this study and the team on the MD2K website.

Team Science and its sister project EBBP (evidence-based behavioral practices) help bridge gaps among research, policy, and health care practice in the U.S. and internationally and encourage needed cross-talk among diverse stakeholders. Thanks to support from the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Science Institute, a team of faculty and staff at the Spring Lab are now involved in building and disseminating our expertise in the science of team science by creating and evaluating practical tools and workshops that catalyze and empower high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams.

Major funding comes via grants from the National Institutes of Health, particularly NIDDK, OBSSR and NHLBI, as well as foundations, such as the American Heart Association and American Cancer Society.

Our Team

Faculty

Bonnie J. Spring, PhD

Bonnie J. Spring, PhD

Director, Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) - Center for Behavior and Health

Chief of Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Preventive Medicine

Professor of Preventive Medicine (Behavioral Medicine), Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

Angela Pfammatter, PhD

Angela Pfammatter, PhD

Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine (Behavioral Medicine)

Graduate Student

Sara Hoffman Marchese, MS

Sara Hoffman Marchese, MS

Sara graduated from Grinnell College (IA) in 2012 with a degree in psychology and worked in the Social Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Chicago under John Cacioppo and Louise Hawkley from 2012-2013. She joined the Spring Laboratory as a research assistant in 2013, and in fall 2015 was accepted into Northwestern Feinberg's Clinical Psychology PhD program. Ms. Hoffman is currently a doctoral candidate in Clinical Psychology, and is a Fall 2018 recipient of a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship (Parent F31) from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Her research interests include obesity and weight loss, social influences on health behavior change, technology-supported interventions and optimization of behavioral interventions.

Research Program Management

Leland Bardsley, MS

Leland Bardsley, MS

Leland coordinates and supports the team science program's efforts to advance transdisciplinary science by studying and training diverse research teams. Previously, he provided health coaching to participants in the SMART and Sense2Stop studies in the Spring Lab at Northwestern University. He has over 15 years of experience in a broad array of health and behavioral research. A graduate of Cornell University, he majored in human development and family studies as an undergraduate. He went on to receive an MS in psychology as well as additional graduate training in clinical psychology from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Elyse Daly

Elyse Daly

Elyse Daly graduated from Lawrence University where she received a BA in psychology and a minor in anthropology. During her time at Lawrence, she worked under Dr. Beth A. Haines, studying the effects of after-school programming on self-efficacy. She is currently a research study coordinator in the Spring Lab, for the Sense2Stop study, part of the Center of Excellence on Mobile Sensor Data-to-Knowledge (MD2K). Previously, Elyse worked with the Spring Lab as a research assistant on several other health behavior change studies. Her primary interests are health management and health behavior change.

Laura Scanlan

Laura Scanlan

Laura is currently a research project manager with the Spring Lab, working primarily on the SMART Study. She graduated from Princeton University in 2011 with a BA in ecology and evolutionary biology and has a certificate in neuroscience; she also completed an MA in global health at Northwestern University. Her primary interests are health management, human behaviors and brain health.

Data Manager

Gene McFadden

Gene McFadden

H. Gene McFadden has been data manager for Spring Lab since 2006, contributing to each of the lab’s R01-funded randomized clinical trials during that time. Gene’s research interests include health and behavioral analytics, psychometrics and assessment. Prior to coming to Spring Lab, Gene did teratology research in the Developmental Neuropsychology Laboratory of Dr. William Pizzi at Northeastern Illinois University.

Research Study Assistants

Margaret DeZelar

Margaret DeZelar

Margaret graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a BS in psychology and a minor in women’s studies and gender studies. During her time at Loyola, she worked with Dr. Amy Bohnert and the Activity Matters Lab, focusing on body image and self-worth among low-income, urban, ethnic minority girls. Currently, she is working on the Opt-IN Study as a lifestyle coach where she can pursue her interest in behavior change.

Frankie Granata

Frankie Granata

Frankie Granata joined the Spring Lab in the fall of 2018 as a research study assistant for the SMART and M-POWER studies. Prior to coming to Northwestern, Frankie received a BS in integrative biology and psychology with a minor in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While there, he worked in the Exercise Neuroscience Research Lab as an undergraduate research assistant to better understand the role exercise plays in a treatment regimen for Multiple Sclerosis. Frankie has other experience in research stemming from roles in the School of Integrative Biology there and the Urology department at UChicago Medicine. He is currently a graduate student at The University of Chicago pursuing a MS in biomedical informatics with the hopes of one day attending medical school.

Hannah Rumsey

Hannah Rumsey

Hannah received a BS in psychology and a BA in music from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014. She previously worked as a research coordinator/assistant at VCU, studying the biological and subjective effects of cigarettes and e-cigarettes. She also conducted her own research study on anxiety’s effect on muscle activation and fatigue in trumpet players, which was published in the Medical Problems of Performing Artists research journal. Currently, she works as a research study assistant for the SMART study in the Spring Lab. 

Jon Patrick Williams

Jon Patrick Williams

Patrick is currently a research study assistant for both the SMART and M-POWER studies. He received a BS in psychology and cognitive neuroscience from DePaul University in 2014. As an undergraduate, Patrick worked on the DePaul Cities Project studying stress and coping mechanisms in underprivileged adolescents. Prior to joining the Spring Lab, Patrick worked as a research assistant on the CHEERS study for Dr. Kiarri Kershaw.

Tech Team

Gleb Iakovlev

Gleb Iakovlev

Gleb is the lead software engineer, with a background in both medicine and engineering. Currently, he is involved with architecting, developing and prototyping of web, Android and iOS applications for multiple behavioral intervention studies in the Spring Lab. He graduated from Russian State Medical University, Medical Cybernetics Department with a combined track in medicine and engineering. Previously, he was involved in the research and development of an early diagnostic tool for Parkinson's disease patients at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab using mobile devices and wireless sensors. In addition, he had three years of industry experience working as a software engineer/system analyst at the Healthcare IT department at Croc Inc., the top IT integrator company in Russia.

Megha Patel

Megha Patel

Megha recently graduated from The University of Michigan with a BSE in Computer Science and Engineering. Megha joined the Spring Lab in April as a Developer and is currently working on the technical aspects of the Team Science Program and also on the COACH app.
Joseph C. Subida

Joseph C. Subida

J.C. is a software developer with a bachelor's of science in computer science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While there, he worked on a human-computer interaction research study focused on measuring a user's perceived application utility. Currently, he is contributing to the NUYou, SMART and K07 studies.

Volunteer Opportunities

We are currently seeking volunteers to engage in a variety of research experiences within our multidisciplinary lab. Visit the Global & Research Opportunities page for the volunteer positions available, prerequisites and requirements and contact information.

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