The SEED Lab’s research integrates biopsychosocial factors to study multidirectional links between stress and health. Here are some of the questions we seek to answer:

Social Stress & Health

  • What are the psychological biological, and behavioral consequences of experiencing weight stigma? How might weight stigma perpetuate inequality?
  • How do different stigmatized domains intersect across weight, race, culture, and gender to influence lived experience and health outcomes?
  • What are the pathways through which structural inequity gets under the skin to influence biopsychosocial health? And how do we measure “structural inequity” and “biopsychosocial health” integratively?
  • How do stigma and discrimination create barriers to education?

Maternal Stress & Health

  • What unique barriers and stigmas do pregnant women face, and how can we design policies to better accommodate them?
  • Most women gain weight over pregnancy. Does this increase their risk of being targets of weight stigma? Does weight stigma in the context of pregnancy harm maternal and child health?
  • How does stress disproportionately affect physical and mental health for underrepresented minority mothers?  What physiological processes (e.g., HPA activity, inflammation, DNA methylation) underlie these relationships?

Technology & Health

  • How do we improve digital health user experience to create digital interface that promote overall health and wellbeing?
  • What can we learn about someone’s health (or lack thereof) from sensed data?
  • How does technology use influence our eating behaviors? What physiological processes might mediate this?
  • What does the food of the future look like? Can we use 3D printing to manufacture food products with the same psychophysiological properties as traditional food?

Eating & Obesity

  • Why is healthy eating so hard? Do certain personality traits matter? Do our friends help or hurt our healthy eating efforts?
  • Is obesity related to how the stress-responsive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functions? What psychosocial factors are involved?
  • What is the relationship between weight and health, and what is the proper role for BMI in healthcare?

Collaborative Work

The SEED Lab is also collaborates with researchers and labs both at WPI and across the country and the world. In these interdisciplinary teams, we fuse our expertise with other disciplines to address pressing societal issues related to:
  • Digital Health and Healthcare Delivery
  • Chronic Pain
  • Health Disparities
  • Addictive Behaviors
  • Learning and Education
  • Healthcare Policy

Interdisciplinary Collaborators

Centers & Groups