Research projects, programs and laboratories

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


Health systems reform and health policy

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

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 major goals of this project funded by the National Institute of Mental Health are to (1) examine whether improvements in community mental health resources, including the expansion of Federally Qualified Health Centers, reduce racial disparity in children's psychiatric ED visits; and to (2) determine the extent to which the county-level health system affects this racial disparity in repeat psychiatric ED visits for youth.

OSU PI: Jangho Yoon, Ph.D.
UC-Irvine PI: Tim A. Bruckner
UC-Berkeley PI: Lonnie R. Snowden

Examine causes, effects, and solutions of the boarding of psychiatric patients in emergency departments (EDs) in Oregon. This mixed-method research collected and analyzed data from stakeholder interviews; and linked and analyzed several administrative databases such as Oregon Medicaid claims and enrollment data, Emergency Department Information Exchange (EDIE), and hospital discharge records.

PI: Jangho Yoon, Ph.D.
Co-I: Jeff Luck, Ph.D., MBA

The main goals of this project are to examine the extent of within and cross-system impacts of investment in public mental health. Major outcomes include return on investment (ROI) through improved population mental health and criminal justice outcomes.

PI: Jangho Yoon, Ph.D.
Co-I: Jeff Luck, Ph.D., MBA

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Healthy developmental processes and transitions across the lifespan

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.

Director: Carolyn Aldwin, Ph.D.

The F.L.O.W. (Family Life, Occupations, and Well-being) Research Laboratory focuses on understanding how the daily ebb and flow of families' experiences, including in leisure, at work, and in the home, are related to individual and family health and well-being.

Director: Kelly Chandler, Ph.D.
F.L.O.W. Laboratory website

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.
SEARCH Research Laboratory Website

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 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, Ph.D., MA
2CW Research Group Website

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.
The Connect Research Group Website

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.
The Social Mobility Laboratory Website

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, Ph.D.
OHSU Co-Director: Bethany Sloane, DPT
The Go Baby Go Oregon Website

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.
The Kindergarten Readiness Research Program Website

This study examines asset poverty between and within Canada and the United States.

PI: David Rothwell, MSW, Ph.D.

The study builds an alternative measure of poverty and examines the extent to which child poverty in Oregon is affected by the Oregon Earned Income Credit.

PI: David Rothwell, MSW, Ph.D.

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
The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative Website

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.
The Oregon Child Care Research Partnership Website
Oregon Early Learners Facts & Findings Website

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Impact of environmental and occupational hazards on human health

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.
The Spatial Health Laboratory Website

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
The Environmental Exposure and Biomarker Laboratory

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
The 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.
The Occupational Safety and Health Laboratory website

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

Director: Sarah Rothenberg, D.Env.
The Methylmercury Lab

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Optimal health through nutrition and physical activity

Psychosocial and sociocultural scholarship aimed at generating new knowledge and synthesizing existing knowledge to advance inclusive physical activity practices. Communicating physical activity information in a manner that narrows the gap between what people know and what people do. Program ranked 9th in the nation in September of 2016

Director: Bradley J. Cardinal, Ph.D.

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.
Emily Ho's profile at Linus Pauling Institute

The Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory investigates the efficacy of food sources of dietary nitrate, nitrite and polyphenols to address risk factors for atherosclerotic heart disease and human performance.

Director: Norm Hord, Ph.D., MPH, RD

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, Ph.D.
Children & Youth with Disabilities Lab website

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.
Translational Metabolism Research Laboratory (TMRL) website

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.

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.
Oregon State University Human Performance Laboratory website

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, Ph.D., MS
FORCE Lab website

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

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.
Skeletal Biology Laboratory website

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Predictors and consequences of chronic diseases and the promotion of healthy behaviors

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

Director: Jessica R. Gorman, Ph.D., MPH
Webpage: Survivorship: Promoting Reproductive and Sexual Health after Cancer

To generate, support and disseminate research that improves understanding of diverse factors affecting sexual and reproductive health equity. Our research areas include promoting reproductive and sexual health after cancer; preventing infectious diseases among racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender minorities; and preventing unintended pregnancy and evaluating access to contraceptive and abortion services.

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

Sexual and Reproductive Health Equity Consortium

In this longitudinal study we examine the influence of relationship dynamics on sexual risk perceptions, intentions, and behaviors among heterosexual women and men of reproductive age at high-risk for STIs.

PI: S. Marie Harvey, DrPH, MPH
Post Doc: Lisa Oakley, Ph.D., MPH

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, Ph.D., MPH

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

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.
Donald Jump's profile at Linus Pauling Institute

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, Ph.D.
OHSU Co-I: Melinda Davis, 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
New and Emerging Tobacco Study website

The goal of this research program is to identify and understand how factors such as discrimination in health care and stigma contribute to health-related behavior, health care utilization, health outcomes, and health disparities, with a focus on disadvantaged populations, using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. Dr. Thorburn is currently Principal Investigator on an NCI-funded study designed to characterize the nature and role of stigma in the experience of survivorship, as well as identify modifiable factors that could lessen stigma’s negative impact, from the perspective of survivors of breast, prostate, and lung cancer living in rural areas.

Director: Sheryl Thorburn, Ph.D., MPH

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