RESEARCH

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RESEARCH is paramount to our mission and purpose as a department in the field of Behavioral Health and Nutrition: it reveals what we can do better to improve our health, and identifies the contributing factors of illness that we need to address. Through research we can better understand the changing world in which we live, work, play, and learn so that we can more effectively prepare our students for their future roles as health professionals.

Our research at BHAN is both revolutionary and exciting. Our faculty work tirelessly to find innovative ways to promote healthy behaviors, from community-based program interventions and social marketing and media campaigns to innovative use of new and emerging technologies and techniques in mindfulness, yoga, and health coaching. We confront important and difficult issues, such as childhood obesity, by working with large data sets to find the factors that are driving illness and health care use and to better understand the role nutrition and dietary behaviors in addressing chronic disease.

BHAN research serves to improve the lives of individuals from cradle to grave among both the abled and disabled communities, and it continues to grow as it rapidly becomes the focus of 21st century health care and public health. We invite you to join us in this important work.

CURRENT RESEARCH STUDIES

Infant feeding and biomarkers of satiation and satiety in healthy term infants

Infant feeding and biomarkers of satiation and satiety in healthy term infants

Purpose: Examine the effect of diet composition and feeding rate in formula fed infants on satiation
Eligibility: At birth, Infants must be healthy, term (≥37 and ≤42 week gestation at birth), singleton, appropriate for gestational age infant. At time of enrollment, infants must be:

  • ≥30 days and ≤120 days old (Date of birth = day 0)
  • Be formula fed
  • Be primarily receiving a standard (intact protein) cow’s milk infant formula and have no allergies to cow’s milk formula.
  • Must not have ever received an extensive protein hydrolysate formula (Nutramigen, Alimentum, Pregestimil or PurAmine).

Mother must be:

  • ≥18 years of age.

Requirements (e.g. time commitment, number of sessions): Mother-infant pairs will complete three, 3-hour visits to the lab. No more than 7 days between each study visit.
Compensation: Participants will receive $75 per visit, for a total of $225 if all 3 visits are completed.
Principal Investigator: Jillian Trabulsi, PhD RD
Other Investigators: Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD and Dan Feldman, Graduate Student, Nutrition
Contact Information: Email: trabulsi-lab@udel.edu / Phone: 302.831.2241

Breastfeeding in Infants with Congenital Heart Disease

Breastfeeding in Infants with Congenital Heart Disease

Purpose: To identify factors that affect breastfeeding duration and exclusivity in infants with congenital heart disease.

Principal Investigators: Rachelle Lessen, MS, RD, IBCLC, LDN and Jillian Trabulsi, PhD, RD

Other Investigators: Elsey Weisberg, BS, Graduate Student, Human Nutrition

 Contact Information: Email: lessen@email.chop.edu  / Phone: 215.590.1089

Shop n' Talk: Parents with a child 2-5 years old and enrolled in WIC participant in the state of Delaware

Real-Time Decision Making of WIC Participants while Food Shopping: Use of Think Aloud Methodology (Shop N’ Talk)

Purpose: To understand the shopping behaviors of parents enrolled in WIC

Eligibility: Parents with a child 2-5 years old and enrolled in WIC participant in the state of Delaware.

Requirements (e.g. time commitment, number of sessions):

  • The parent and child will attend one 45-minute sessions at the WIC office in Newark DE to complete questionnaires and have height and weight measured.
  • One grocery shopping trip.

Compensation: Participants can receive up to $60 for completion of the study.

Principal Investigator: Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD

Other Investigators: Sandy Baker, EdD, RD; Jillian Trabulsi, PhD, RD

Contact Information: Email:  ebnl-robson@udel.edu  / Phone: 302-831-2241

SHiP: Children 3-6 years old with a parent who has a body mass index equal to or greater than 25kg/m2.

Snacking Healthfully in Preschoolers (SHiP)

Purpose: To understand how a snacking program designed for parents and children impacts diet quality and eating behaviors in preschool-aged children.

Eligibility: Children 3-6 years old with a parent who has a body mass index equal to or greater than 25kg/m2.

Requirements (e.g. time commitment, number of sessions): SHiP involves two visits to the Energy Balance and Nutrition Laboratory (EBNL) lasting 30-45 minutes, one prior to the study start and one after the study ends. Families in the snacking condition will also attend five, 45-minute sessions with each session occurring weekly over the five weeks.

Compensation: For completion of measures at baseline parents will receive $10 and for final measures parents will receive $15.  

Principal Investigator:  Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD

Other Investigator: Amanda Kopetsky, MS, RD

Contact Information: Email:  ebnl-robson@udel.edu / Phone: 302-831-2241

Healthy Me!: Children 4-8 years-old with a body mass index equal to or greater than the 85th

Skills Training in Stimulus Control of Meals and Snacks within a Family-based Obesity Treatment Intervention (Healthy Me!)

Purpose: To learn more about the incorporation of skills training into family-based treatment programs for children with overweight and obesity.

EligibilityChildren 4-8 years-old with a body mass index equal to or greater than the 85th

Requirements (e.g. time commitment, number of sessions)This study involves two visits to the Energy Balance and Nutrition Laboratory (EBNL) lasting 45-60 minutes before the study starts, 10 visits (over three months) to the University of Delaware campus with each visit each lasting 60 minutes, and one final EBNL visit after the study.

Compensation: Participants can receive up to $50 for completion of the study.

Principal Investigator: Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD

Contact InformationEmail:  ebnl-robson@udel.edu   /    Phone: 302-831-2241

Time Jr: Children 6-10 years-old with a body mass index equal to or greater than the 85th percentile;

Timing of Energy Consumption on the Circadian Timing System in Children (Time Jr.)

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to understand how timing of eating and the amount eaten impact sleep and wake times and occurrence of physical activity in children.

Eligibility: Children 6-10 years-old with a body mass index equal to or greater than the 85th percentile;

Requirements (e.g. time commitment, number of sessions): The study will last five weeks. After an initial baseline visit to the Energy Balance and Nutrition Laboratory there will be 11 visits as follows:

  • Week 1: Saturday and Sunday morning and evening (4 visits)
  • Week 2: Saturday morning (1 visit)
  • Week 3: Saturday and Sunday morning and evening (4 visits)
  • Week 4: Saturday morning (1 visit)
  • Week 5: Saturday morning (1 visit)

Compensation: Parents can receive up to $135 for completion of the study. Children can receive up to a $50 gift card to Toys R-Us.

Principal Investigator: Shannon Robson, PhD, MPH, RD

Other Investigators: Hollie Raynor, PhD, RD, LDN; Brandy Roane, PhD, CBSM; Chistopher Modlesky, PhD

Contact Information: Email:  ebnl-robson@udel.edu / Phone: 302-831-2241

Self-weighing’s Psychological Effects: College aged females between the ages of 18-26 who live on campus at the University of Delaware

Self-weighing’s Psychological Effects: A randomized controlled trial using Ecological Momentary Assessments

Purpose: To determine if daily self-weighing in a college aged female population has a positive or negative psychological effect.  Half of the fifty participants in the study will be weighing themselves to assess this, while the other half will be taking their temperature to provide a control group.

Eligibility: College aged females between the ages of 18-26 who live on campus at the University of Delaware

Requirements (e.g. time commitment, number of sessions): The participants are asked to complete either daily self-weighing or temperature taking on Wi-Fi enabled scales and thermometers provided to them.  They are also asked to answer questions through out the day when prompted by an app on their smart phones.

Compensation: The participants can make up to $250 over the course of the 3-month commitment. They will only receive compensation for the tasks that they complete.

Investigator: Dr. Carly Pacanowski, PhD RD

Contact Information:  Email at cpacanow@udel.edu

PUBLICATIONS

Current Publications

Mason, T. B., Pacanowski, C. R., Lavender, J. M., Crosby, R. D., Wonderlich, S. A., Engel, S. G., … & Peterson, C. B. (accepted pending revision). Evaluating the ecological validity of the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire among obese adults using ecological momentary assessment. Assessment.

Baker S, Trabulsi J, Evans T, Smith E. Improving nutrition students’ knowledge and perceived competence to provide nutrition education to adults with disabilities via experiential learning.Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.12.009

Stark LJ, Filigno SS, Bolling C, et al. Learning about activity and understanding nutrition for child health (LAUNCH): Rationale, design, and implementation of a randomized clinical trial of a family-based pediatric weight management program for preschoolers. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2017;52:10-19. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2016.10.007. 10.1016/j.cct.2016.10.007

Filigno SS, Robson SM, Szczesniak RD, et al. Macronutrient intake in preschoolers with cystic fibrosis and the relationship between macronutrients and growth. Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. 2017. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2017.01.010

Goldschmidt AB, Crosby RD, Cao L, et al. Contextual factors associated with eating in the absence of hunger among adults with obesity.Eating Behaviors. 2017;26:33-39. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2017.01.005

McCullough MB, Janicke D, Odar Stough C, et al. Barriers to recruitment in pediatric obesity trials: Comparing opt-in and opt-out recruitment approaches. Journal of Pediatric Psychology.2016:jsw054. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsw054

Perkett M, Robson SM, Kripalu V, et al. Characterizing cardiovascular health and evaluating a low-intensity intervention to promote smoking cessation in a food-assistance population. Journal of Community Health. 2016. doi: 10.1007/s10900-016-0295-2

Robson SM, Bolling C, McCullough MB, Stough CO, Stark LJ. A preschool obesity treatment clinical trial: Reasons primary care providers declined referrals. The Journal of pediatrics. 2016;177:266.e1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27453375. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.06.027

McCullough MB, Robson SM, Stark LJ. A review of the structural characteristics of family meals with children in the united states. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.). 2016;7(4):627-640. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27422500. doi: 10.3945/an.115.010439

Robson SM, Couch SC, Peugh JL, et al. Parent diet quality and energy intake are related to child diet quality and energy intake. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016;116(6):984-990. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221226721600157X. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2016.02.011

Robson SM, Stough CO, Stark LJ. The impact of a pilot cooking intervention for parent-child dyads on the consumption of foods prepared away from home. Appetite. 2016;99:177-184. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26779887. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.01.021

Robson SM, Crosby LE, Stark LJ. Eating dinner away from home: Perspectives of middle-to high-income parents. Appetite. 2016;96:147-153. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26386299. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.09.019

Papas MA, Trabulsi JC, Axe M, Rimmer JH. Predictors of obesity in a US sample of high school adolescents with and without disabilities.Journal of School Health. 2016;86(11):803-812. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josh.12436/abstract. doi: 10.1111/josh.12436

Papas M, Trabulsi J, Dahl A, Dominick G. Food insecurity increases the odds of obesity among young hispanic children.J Immigrant Minority Health. 2016;18(5):1046-1052. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26377352. doi: 10.1007/s10903-015-0275-0

Ehrenthal DB, Wu P, Trabulsi J. Differences in the protective effect of exclusive breastfeeding on child overweight and obesity by mother’s race.Maternal and child health journal. 2016;20(9):1971. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27178429. doi: 10.1007/s10995-016-2015-z

Mennella J, Trabulsi J, Papas M. Effects of cow milk versus extensive protein hydrolysate formulas on infant cognitive development.Amino Acids. 2016;48(3):697-705. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26497857. doi: 10.1007/s00726-015-2118-7

Pacanowski CR, Pisetsky EM, Berg KC, et al. Self-weighing behavior in individuals with eating disorders.International Journal of Eating Disorders. 2016;49(8):817-821. doi: 10.1002/eat.22537

Pacanowski CR, Diers L, Crosby RD, Neumark-Sztainer D. Yoga in the treatment of eating disorders within a residential program: A randomized controlled trial.Eating Disorders. 2017;25(1):37-51. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10640266.2016.1237810. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2016.1237810

Robson SM, Khoury JC, Kalkwarf HJ, Copeland K. Dietary intake of children attending full-time child care: What are they eating away from the child-care center? Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115(9):1472- 1478. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25908440. doi: 10.10.1016/j.jand.2015.02.029

Trabulsi J, Irving S, Papas M, et al. Total energy expenditure of infants with congenital heart disease who have undergone surgical intervention.Pediatr Cardiol. 2015;36(8):1670-1679. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26092599. doi: 10.1007/s00246-015-1216-3

Riley AW, Trabulsi J, Yao M, Bevans KB, DeRusso PA. Validation of a parent report questionnaire.Clinical Pediatrics. 2015;54(12):1167-1174. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0009922815574075. doi:10.1177/0009922815574075

Fullmer S, Benson-Davies S, Earthman CP, et al. Evidence analysis library review of best practices for performing indirect calorimetry in healthy and non-critically ill individuals.Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2015;115(9):1446.e2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26038298. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2015.04.003

Masullo L, Papas MA, Cotugna N, Baker S, Mahoney L, Trabulsi J. Complementary and alternative medicine use and nutrient intake among individuals with multiple sclerosis in the united states.Journal of community health. 2015;40(1):153-160. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24981322. doi: 10.1007/s10900-014-9913-z

GRADUATE AND UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

Graduate Assistants
Undergraduate Assistants

RESEARCH FACULTY

Sheau Ching Chai

Sheau Ching Chai

Assistant Professor

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Gregory M. Dominick

Gregory M. Dominick

Associate Professor

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Marie Kuczmarski

Marie Kuczmarski

Professor

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Laura Lessard

Laura Lessard

Assistant Professor

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Michael Mackenzie

Michael Mackenzie

Assistant Professor

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Freda Patterson

Freda Patterson

Associate Professor

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Carly Pacanowski, PhD, RD

Carly Pacanowski, PhD, RD

Assistant Professor

P. Michael Peterson

P. Michael Peterson

Professor

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Shannon M. Robson

Shannon M. Robson

Assistant Professor

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Kelebogile Setiloane

Kelebogile Setiloane

Associate Professor

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Jillian Trabulsi

Jillian Trabulsi

Associate Professor

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Yukiko Washio

Yukiko Washio

CONTACT

Carpenter Sports Building

26 N College Ave, 004, Newark, DE 19717

P: (302)-831-2079 | F: (302)-831-4261
bhan-info@udel.edu