Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Preventive Medicine

Pellegrini Laboratory

Our lab is driven by a passion for improving the health of the general population. Through studying how general health can be influenced by different interventions, we strive to help people stay physically fit and maintain a well-balanced nutritional diet. The aim of our research studies is to implement interventions focused on engaging participants in wellness through monitoring their daily activity and dietary intake.

My background is in psychology and exercise physiology with additional training in disability. My expertise is in the development and implementation of technology-based behavioral interventions targeting physical activity, sedentary behavior, and weight loss. I have utilized a wide variety of innovative technologies including smartphones, Fitbits, and other accelerometers or activity monitors during behavioral interventions to conduct clinical research. The technologies used have helped to deliver, facilitate, or enhance effective behavior change techniques including self-monitoring, behavioral feedback, motivational interviewing, and social support. Some of the populations targeted in these interventions have included overweight or obese adults and adults with diabetes, osteoarthritis, or systemic lupus erythematosus.

Current Research Projects

Patient-Centered Weight Loss Program for Knee Replacement Patients (PACE)

PACE is a 14-session behavioral weight loss research study taking place in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University. The purpose of this study is to determine if a weight loss program designed specifically for knee replacement patients can help patients lose or maintain weight over an 18 week period of time. Patients who are interested in volunteering for this free weight loss research study will be randomly assigned to either start the PACE program up to 6 weeks before your surgery or 12 weeks after your surgery. This means that you cannot choose when you start the program, but instead it will be determined by a method similar to flipping a coin. All participants will have regular contact with a lifestyle coach and receive personalized diet and activity goals. There are no medications involved.

In order to be eligible for the PACE study, you must be between 40 and 79 years old, have a body mass index (BMI) between 25 to 45 kg/m2 and have primary total knee replacement scheduled within the next 3 months. In addition to the PACE program, we'll complete 3 in-person assessments. The first one will be done up to 6 weeks before your surgery. The 2nd one will be 12 weeks after your surgery and the last one will be 26 weeks after your surgery. Participants will also receive $20 for completing each assessment at 12 and 26 weeks after the surgery. We can also provide parking vouchers if you drive.

If you would like to learn more about this research study, please email or call Dr. Christine Pellegrini at 312-503-1395. If you are interested in volunteering for this study, please visit our website.


Additional Study information:

Title: PACE – Patient Centered Weight Loss Program for Knee Replacement Patients
PI: Christine Pellegrini, PhD
IRB #: STU00201543
Study funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality K12HS023011

Influence of momentary mood and pain on post-operative physical activity levels following knee replacement (EMA PACE)

Many patients undergo knee replacement however it is unclear how pain and mood influence physical activity and rehabilitation after surgery. Thus, the purpose of this study being conducted at Northwestern University is to learn more about how the level of pain and mood among patients having their knee replaced is related to levels of physical activity after surgery. 
If you would like to learn more about this research study, please email or call Dr. Christine Pellegrini at 312-503-1395,. If you are interested in volunteering for this study, please visit our website

Additional Study information: 

PI: Christine Pellegrini, PhD 
IRB #: STU00201543 
Study funded by NUCATS (National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, Grant Number UL1TR001422) 


To view a listing of publications, please visit Dr. Pellegrini’s faculty page.

Contact Us

If you are interested in more information about our research and the opportunities available, please contact Dr. Pellegrini.