Research projects, programs and laboratories

Research projects, programs and laboratories

College of Health's Office of Research

Research projects, programs and laboratories are grouped by the college's signature research areas

The Child Welfare and Child Well-being (2CW) research group seeks to generate knowledge and utilize evidence to better support children, adolescents and their families, especially those facing adversity.  The ultimate goal, therefore, is to improve Child Welfare and enhance Child Wellbeing.

Director: Brianne Kothari, PhD, MA

 Website: 2CW Research Group

This project assesses the relationship between aging and acculturation in order to document the ethnic differences among various health indicators and health outcomes using large, secondary datasets of the older population in the U.S. and globally.

Director: Veronica Irvin, PhD, MPH

The Children and Youth with Disabilities Laboratory is focused on improving quality of life for children and youth with and without disabilities through physical activity.

Director: Megan MacDonald, PhD

 Website: Children & Youth with Disabilities Lab

The goal of this project is to implement a policy, system or environmental change to increase awareness and promotion of the HPV vaccine among OSU college students.

PI: Cynthia M. Mojica, PhD

This multi-year project, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, will develop an intervention to increase the uptake of no-cost Oral Self-Implemented HIV testing (Oral-SIT) and facilitate Oral-SIT distribution through LGBTQ businesses, cultural events and community-based organizations in Portland, Ore. This approach, guided by the Push-Pull Infrastructure Model, addresses barriers to venue-based testing and poor Oral-SIT retail sales.

PI: Peggy Dolcini, PhD
Co-I: Joseph Catania, PhD

The Connect Research Group aims to identify ways to support children, families, and communities to overcome adversity and build resilience through connection.

Director: Shannon Lipscomb, Ph.D.
 Website: The Connect Research Group

We believe that mobility is a fundamental human right and a radical paradigm shift removing the mobility disparity for children with disabilities is imperative. Our mission is to provide children with disabilities with equitable, equal, and inclusive access to mobility and play.

Director: Sam Logan, Ph.D.

 Website: Disability and Mobility Do-it-Yourself Co-Op

This project examines variations in colorectal cancer screening among Medicaid patients and explores practice-level workflows associated with colorectal cancer screening.

OSU PI: Cynthia Mojica, PhD
OHSU Co-I: Melinda Davis, PhD

The Environmental Exposure and Biomarker Laboratory measures metal concentrations in environmental and biological samples in order to determine personal exposure to contaminants. We also examine molecular biomarkers that may be generated by exposure to environmental contaminants. We collaborate closely with other laboratories and programs at Oregon State University and elsewhere.

Director: Molly Kile, ScD

 Website: Environmental Exposure and Biomarker Laboratory

The Environmental Health Literacy and Translation Lab evaluates the role of environmental health literacy in helping communities better frame and respond to environmental health hazards.  Current projects incorporate disaster research, asthma and air pollution, and Indigenous environmental health.

PI: Diana Rohlman, PhD

  Website: Environmental Health Literacy and Translation Lab

The Family Policy Group is a network of faculty and students who seek to advance the study of family policy at Oregon State University.

PI: David Rothwell, MSW, PhD

 Website: Family Policy Group

Family and work are significant influences in our lives.

The Family, Work, & Well-Being Research Laboratory studies diverse family, work, and work-family integration experiences to improve the health and well-being of people and their families.

We envision a world where everyone, regardless of race, gender, age, sexuality, or zip code, can thrive both while with their families and while working.

Director: Kelly Chandler, PhD

Website: Family, Work, & Well-Being Lab

Using analysis with configurational comparative methods, we will assess the relationships between gastroenterology practice structures and processes (individually or in combination) to identify core organizational components associated with successful and timely completion of follow-up colonoscopies.

Co-PI: Cynthia M. Mojica, PhD
Co-PI: Gloria Coronado, PhD (Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research)

The FORCE Laboratory provides cutting-edge research and intervention strategies for injuries, "especially knees, ankles and hips,“ creating a perfect match with Central Oregon's population of elite and recreational athletes. We seek to optimize musculoskeletal function and performance, prevent injury, and promote general well-being through the study of human movement.

Director: Christine D. Pollard, PhD, MS

 Website: FORCE Lab

The Coast to Forest project engages communities in solution-building for educational, preventive and systems-level approaches to the opioid and mental health crisis. Funding for these state and level initiatives is provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

PI: Allison Myers, PhD, MPH
Co-PI: Marion Ceraso, MHS, MA
Co-PI: Sandi Cleveland Phibbs, PhD, MPH

Website: Coast to Forest: Mental Health Promotion in Rural Oregon

Go Baby Go is a national, community-based research, design and outreach program that provides modified ride-on cars to children birth to age 3 who experience limited mobility.

OSU Co-Director: Sam Logan, PhD

OHSU Co-Director: Bethany Sloane, DPT

  Website: Go Baby Go Oregon

The Health and Healthcare Outcomes Research Program carries out research related to evaluation and innovation in health care to improve health outcomes (i.e., access, quality of life, satisfaction, health related social needs, costs) for people with specific chronic conditions. Current projects examine the uptake and outcomes of care coordination services and impacts of the pandemic on health care use and health related social needs.

PI: Denise M. Hynes, PhD, RN

 Website: Health and Healthcare Outcomes Research Program

This project provides insights into health care workforce needs in communities across Oregon as well as general guidance on how to expand and diversify the health care workforce to meet the needs of patients and communities throughout Oregon and eliminate health inequities.

Towards this end, the project develops a biennial Health Care Workforce Needs Assessment that informs Oregon’s efforts to ensure culturally and linguistically responsive care for all.

PI: Tao Li, MD, PhD
 Website: Health Care Workforce Needs Assessment

The OSU Human Performance Lab has research interests involving (1) the translation of laboratory tests of human performance to the field, (2) quantitative models of training load to optimize adaptation and minimize illness/injury, and (3) the physiology of pacing strategy in multisport athletes.

The Lab also provides tests of aerobic fitness (maximal oxygen consumption), resting metabolic rate, and body composition (percent body fat) for a fee.

Director: Jay Penry, Ph.D.

 Website: Oregon State University Human Performance Laboratory

Utilizing Oregon Medicaid claims and eligibility data from 2008-2016, this study will: 1) describe Oregon abortion rates among women of reproductive age enrolled in Medicaid; 2) compare abortion rates in Oregon before and after the implementation of Coordinated Care Organizations; and 3) investigate how abortion rates in Oregon were affected by Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

PI: S. Marie Harvey, DrPH, MPH
Co-I: Lisa P. Oakley, Ph.D., MPH

The Kindergarten Readiness Research Program is dedicated towards helping young children enter school ready to learn. As a research lab, our team works to develop ways to measure and improve self-regulation skills in young children.

Director: Megan McClelland, Ph.D.

 Website: The Kindergarten Readiness Research Program

Our research aims to identify nutritional and other modifiable factors for lung cancer prevention and survival using large-scale longitudinal observational study data or medical record data. Current projects focus on a variety of nutritional factors and statin use.

PI: Yumie Takata. Ph.D.

This CDC funded project examines the impact of both the implementation of Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) and Medicaid expansion on the use of health services and health outcomes among low-income Oregon women of reproductive age (15-44 years) and their infants.

PI: S. Marie Harvey, DrPH, MPH
PI: Jeff Luck, Ph.D., MBA

My laboratory is focused on mercury cycling in the environment, and mitigating human methylmercury exposure.

Director: Sarah Rothenberg, D.Env.

 Website: Methylmercury Lab

The overall aim of the Milk Protein Digestion Laboratory's research is to improve the health of premature infants, a population with poor health outcomes (including early mortality, developmental disorders, and high risk of infection) in comparison with term-delivered, breast milk-fed infants. We apply peptidomics, proteomics and enzyme analyses to examine how milk proteins are degraded in infants and functional assays to examine the antimicrobial and immunomodulatory actions of milk peptides.

Director: David Dallas, Ph.D.

  The Dallas Lab website

Undestanding dietary and nutritional determinants in health and disease via genetic and epigenetic control processes. Recent projects include identifying novel mechanisms by which phytochemicals and micronutrients modulate the genome, the epigenome and/or the microbiome and affect development processes, inflammation, cancer and the aging process.

Director: Emily Ho, Ph.D.

The Molecular Nutrition and Diabetes Research lab investigates the molecular and metabolic basis of complications associated with obesity and diabetes. Our current focus is on the role diet plays in the onset and progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a major global health problem.

Director: Donald B. Jump, Ph.D.

Research in the Neuromechanics Laboratory focuses on clinical and ergonomic applications of biomechanics and motor control, with an emphasis on injury prevention. Both experimental and modeling approaches are used.

Co-Director: Marc Norcross, Ph.D., ATC
Co-Director: Mike Pavol, Ph.D.

We identify the patterns of use and perceptions of new and emerging tobacco products by high risk populations. We are interested in understanding race/ethnic health disparities and designing health communications to reduce the impact of tobacco on those communities.

Director: Kari-Lyn Sakuma, Ph.D., MPH

 Website: New and Emerging Tobacco Study

We use a variety of bioinstrumentation to characterize work-related physical exposures and investigate their relationships with adverse health outcomes with an ultimate goal of promoting health and well-being at workplaces. We conduct both laboratory and field-based research studies to investigate underlying musculoskeletal injury mechanism in various work environment from computer work to heavy equipment operation.

Director: Jay Kim, Ph.D., MS

 Website: Occupational Ergonomics and Biomechanics Laboratory

The Occupational Safety and Health Laboratory conducts a broad range of research into measuring the factors related to disease and injury. Our goal is to develop and test targeted interventions that create healthy communities and workplaces, and to improve worker safety in high risk industries.

Director: Laurel Kincl, Ph.D., CSP

 Website: Occupational Safety and Health Laboratory

Researchers in the Optimal Aging Laboratory examine how psychosocial factors affect health, especially in later life. We are particularly interested in risk and resilience factors, including childhood environments; stress, coping, and emotion regulation; and the long-term effects of military service.

Interim Co-Director: Emily Ho, Ph.D.
Interim Co-Director: Karen Hooker, Ph.D.

  Website: Center for Healthy Aging Research

The Child Care Research Partnership ensures that basic information about child care and early education in Oregon is current, accurate, and available on local, regional, and state levels and is accessible to all decision-makers. The Partnership's work informs state and national early learning policy.

Director: Megan Pratt, Ph.D.

 Website: Oregon Child Care Research Partnership

 Website: Oregon Early Learners Facts & Findings

The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative (OPEC) is a partnership between four of Oregon's largest foundations (The Oregon Community Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, and The Collins Foundation) and Oregon State University. With support from OPEC, 15 Parenting Education Hubs have been established, providing access to and coordination of parenting education in 27 counties in Oregon as well as Siskiyou County, California. OPEC supports grantees through research and evaluation, technical assistance, and professional development led by OSU.

Co-Director: Shauna Tominey, Ph.D.
Co-Director: Michaella Sektnan, MS

 Website: Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative

This research program seeks to address the multiple pathways by which individual aspects of people - their personality traits, goals, self-regulatory processes, and life histories, contribute to resilient aging. This broad approach includes studies of self-perceptions of aging, social support and life context, within-person variability, and microlongitudinal research designs to understand mechanisms underlying mental and physical health among mid-life and older adults.

Director: Karen Hooker, Ph.D.

The Poverty and Inequality Group conducts research on the extent of poverty and economic hardship with a focus on how family policies support or hinder family functionings. We aim to build knowledge on how to reduce inequalities.

PI: David Rothwell, MSW, Ph.D.

 Website: Poverty and Inequality Research Group

A collaborative team of health promotion and health behavior faculty with expertise working with diverse and underserved populations both locally, regionally and globally to 1) strategize needs and priorities with communities; 2) develop and disseminate behavior change programming; 3) create and adapt program curriculum and health communication materials; 4) design and implement evaluation plans and 5) translate science into meaningful policies.

Director: Peggy Dolcini, Ph.D.

Our college Extension team is part of a national effort called The Extension Collaboration on Immunization Teaching and Engagement (EXCITE), a partnership that includes over 70 Land Grant Universities with the ultimate goal of increasing immunizations/vaccinations for adults. We received an initial EXCITE grant to promote COVID-19 vaccinations among hard-to-reach populations, with an additional grant to expand Oregon's adult immunization efforts through door-to-door canvassing, vaccination clinics, volunteer training/recruitment, video production, media and social media campaigns, and community conversations.

PI: Roberta Riportella, Ph.D., Family and Community Health (FCH) at Oregon State University Extension Service

Co-PI: Mario Magaña, MA, 4H, Oregon State University Extension Service

Family and Community Health (FCH): Marc Braverman, Marion Ceraso, Tina Dodge, Dusti Linnell, Lauren Kraemer
Open Campus Juntos Program: Amy Young

  Website: Extension Collaboration on Immunization Teaching and Engagement (EXCITE)

Our research foci includes how to increase access to play, physical activity and sport in children and adolescents, and how to leverage play, physical activity and sport, to promote social-emotional development in children and adolescents.

PI: William V. Massey, Ph.D.

  Website: Psychosocial Physical Activity (2PLAY) Laboratory

Series of mixed-methods studies evaluating the effects of health literacy, health information seeking, and patient navigation with types of services offered or used and patient engagement.

Director: Veronica Irvin, Ph.D., MPH

We are a research laboratory at Oregon State University committed to investigating the elements of responsive, engaging, and effective adult-child interactions. Within these types of interactions, we aim to identify ways in which to support positive behaviors, emotional expression, and stress and frustration coping for parents, teachers, and young children.

Director: Bridget Hatfield, Ph.D.

 Website: SEARCH Research Laboratory Website

We generate, support and disseminate research that improves understanding of the diverse factors affecting sexual and reproductive health equity. Conducting rigorous research, we investigate  the underlying causes of sexual and reproductive health disparities.

Co-Director: Jessica R. Gorman, Ph.D., MPH
Co-Director: Jonathan Garcia, Ph.D.

  Website: Sexual and Reproductive Health Equity Consortium

The Skeletal Biology Laboratory is dedicated to improving bone health and reducing osteoporosis-related fractures. Our current research foci include: 1) neuroendocrine regulation of body weight and bone metabolism with special emphasis on the hormone leptin, 2) the dose, gender and age effects of alcohol consumption on bone, 3) etiology of parathyroid bone disease, 4) regulation of stromal (stem) cell differentiation into bone cells and fat cells, 5) skeletal actions of ionizing radiation, and 6) skeletal effects of weightlessness.

Co-Director: Russell T. Turner, Ph.D.
Co-Director: Urszula T. Iwaniec, Ph.D.

 Website: Skeletal Biology Laboratory

The Spatial Health Laboratory carries out research related to how place (i.e. where we live, work and play) influences our health. Current projects are examining the health impacts of air pollution, built environments, urban green space, and climate change.

Director: Perry Hystad, Ph.D.

 Website: Spatial Health Laboratory

SIPRG's goal is to improve sports safety and wellness for individuals and populations. We use cutting-edge laboratory instrumentation to identify factors that can be targeted in athletes/patients to prevent injury and improve performance. We collaborate with high schools, the Pac-12 Conference and community-based sports medicine clinicians to study and address problems at a population level using a variety of approaches including injury surveillance, policy development and evaluation, and implementation science.

Director: Marc Norcross Ph.D., ATC
Co-Is: Cathy Brown Crowell, Ph.D., ATC, FNATA, Mark Hoffman, Ph.D., ATC, FNATA, FACSM, Sam Johnson, Ph.D., ATC, CSCS

  Website: Sports Injury Prevention Research Group

The State of Nursing Facilities in Oregon project produces an annual report that informs stakeholders, the Legislature, and the public about skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in Oregon. It addresses topics including licensed bed capacity, admissions and discharges, resident demographics, length of stay, residents' needs for care, payment sources, and quality measures.

Funding is provided by the Aging and People with Disabilities program of the Oregon Department of Human Services.

PI: Jeff Luck, MBA, PhD
PI: Carolyn Mendez-Luck, PhD, MPH

 Website: The State of Nursing Facilities in Oregon

Our current research aims to fill the gap in supportive care for young cancer survivors, couples struggling with reproductive and sexual health concerns, and LGBTQ+ survivors and their partners/support networks. Our long-term goal is to identify and implement effective and scalable strategies to support cancer survivors and those who care for them across the cancer continuum.

Director: Jessica R. Gorman, Ph.D., MPH

  Website: Thriving After Cancer Team

The Train the Trainer project is focused on developing training curriculum and learning modules for aspiring fitness and physical activity leaders with disabilities.

PI: Jennifer Beamer, PhD

This 18-month project works toward examining and addressing the ways systemic racism and oppression show up in our policies and practices and the daily interactions within our college.

In addition, this project aims to develop a strategic plan that will help guide our change efforts to make our college a place where current and future generations of scholars who identify as BIPOC can thrive.

Co-PI: Jonathan Garcia, Ph.D.
Co-PI: Kate MacTavish, Ph.D.

 Website: Transforming Academia for Equity

The Translational Metabolism Research Laboratory investigates the molecular and cellular basis of metabolic disease and lifestyle interventions. We employ sophisticated techniques to evaluate the role of lipids, mitochondria and various cellular processes in the development of skeletal muscle insulin resistance.

Co-Director: Sean Newsom, Ph.D.
Co-Director: Matt Robinson, Ph.D.

 Website: Translational Metabolism Research Laboratory (TMRL)

Uplift is a multidisciplinary group working to improve maternity care in the United States.

Co-Director: Marit Bovbjerg, PhD, MS
Co-Director: Melissa Cheyney PhD, LDM (College of Liberal Arts)

  Website: Uplift Lab

Our research is focused on understanding the function of vitamin E in human health. We study both humans and zebrafish to unravel key mechanisms for the regulation of vitamin E bioavailability, transport and antioxidant activity.

PI: Maret Traber, Ph.D.

 news: Maret Traber honored with Medical Research Foundation of Oregon's Discovery Award

Nearly 100 years after the discovery of vitamin E, we recognize that α-tocopherol is required for human life, functions as a potent fat-soluble antioxidant, and is regulated by the human body. We are seeking to better define the functional role of α-tocopherol by studying vitamin E deficiency in embryonic zebrafish, and using biokinetic modeling of stable-isotope labeled vitamin E in humans.

Director: Maret Traber, Ph.D.

  Maret Traber's profile at Linus Pauling Institute website