Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Department of Preventive Medicine

Spring Laboratory

Our Research

The Spring Lab 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 

To design and optimize innovative technology-supported interventions that catalyze healthy behavior change.

Our Vision

Better health through the science of health behavior change.

Ongoing Studies

Opt-In and the current clinical trail 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 (BD2K) 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 US and internationally and encourage needed cross-talk among diverse stakeholders. Thanks to support from the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Science Institute (NUCATS), 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.

For an overview of the ongoing research and work within Bonnie Spring’s Center for Behavior and Health, visit

Our Team


Bonnie Spring, PhD, ABPP

Bonnie Spring

Please see Dr. Spring's faculty profile here.

Angela Pfammatter, PhD

Angela Pfammatter

Please see Dr. Pfammtter's faculty profile here.


Graduate Student

Sara Hoffman

Sara Hoffman

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. Sara works primarily on the Opt-IN and SMART interventions in the Spring Lab. 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 coordinates and supports the Team Science Program's efforts to advance transdisciplinary science by studying and training diverse research teams. Prior to joining the Team Science Program, 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 M.S. 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 B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Anthropology. During her time at Lawrence, she worked under Dr. Beth A Haines researching 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.

Susan Hood

Susan Hood

Susan has a longstanding interest in the intersection of psychology and biology. She earned her B.A. at Colorado College in Biology and Psychology, after which she researched changes in evoked potentials in Schizophrenic and Parkinson’s patients under Dr. Adolf Pfefferbaum and Dr. Judith Ford at Stanford University. She went on to earn her PhD in Neuroscience under Dr. Neena Schwartz in Northwestern University’s Institute for Neuroscience, conducting research in sex differences in the control of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Currently she is an assistant coordinator for the NUYou study about the cardiovascular health of college students that uses a mobile App.

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 B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and as a certificate in Neuroscience; she also completed an M.A. in Global Health from Northwestern University. Her primary interests are health management, human behaviors, and brain health.


 Alejandra Povedano

Ale Povedano

Alejandra has worked with the Spring lab since 2016. She was born and raised in South Florida and majored in English and Philosophy at Providence College. Since moving to Chicago, she has volunteered with Second Sense, Lincoln Park Village, and the Lincoln Park Community Shelter.


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 B.S. 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 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 B.S. in Integrative Biology and Psychology with a minor in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While at UIUC, 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 at UIUC and the Urology department at UChicago Medicine. He is currently a graduate student at The University of Chicago pursuing a M.S. in Biomedical Informatics with the hopes of one day attending medical school.


Alexa Mitsos

Alexa Mitsos

Alexa is a recent graduate from the University of Iowa with a Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Human Physiology and minors in Spanish and Sociology. She joined the Spring Lab in May 2016 as a Research Study Assistant and hopes to gain valuable experience in the research field. Her top interests are in obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. 


Hannah Rumsey

Hannah Rumsey

Hannah Rumsey 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 Dr. Bonnie Spring’s lab. 


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 the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) using mobile devices and wireless sensors. In addition, he had 3 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.


Joseph C. Subida

JC 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


Dr. Bonnie Spring, a clinical health psychologist in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Feinberg, is currently seeking volunteers for her lab. Volunteers will have the opportunity to engage in a variety of research experiences within her multidisciplinary lab. Click here for the current volunteer positions available, prerequisites and requirements, and contact information.


For additional informatio contact:
Alejandra Povedano, Program Coordinator
Bonnie Spring

Bonnie J Spring, PhD, ABPP

Dr. Spring is a Professor of Preventive Medicine, Psychology, & Psychiatry and also the Director of Northwestern University’s Center for Behavior and Health.  She also serves as the Chief of Behavioral Medicine in Preventive Medicine, Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Director of Team Science, NUCATS. Find Dr. Spring's faculty profile here.  For more information, visit