Research

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:



Eating, Dieting, and Obesity

  • How does technology use influence our eating behaviors? What physiological processes mediate this?
  • Why do diets fail? Do certain personality traits make a good dieter? Do our friends help or hurt our dieting efforts?
  • Is obesity related to how the stress-responsive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis functions? What psychosocial factors are involved?
  • What does the food of the future look like? Can we use 3D printing to create products with the same psychophysiological properties as traditional food?

Weight Stigma Stress

  • What are the psychological biological, and behavioral consequences of experiencing weight stigma? How might weight stigma perpetuate inequality?
  • Can weight stigma affect people who are not overweight? What happens when a thin person embodies weight stigma (for example by wearing a fat suit)?
  • How does weight stigma intersect with other stigmatized identities such as race, gender, or sexuality?
  • How does weight stigma create barriers to education?
  • How do we even measure weight stigma? Which instruments work best?

Maternal Stress & Health

  • What unique barriers and stigmas do pregnant women face throughout societies, 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?

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:
  • Chronic Pain
  • Health Disparities
  • Addictive Behaviors
  • Learning and Education
  • Healthcare Policy

Interdisciplinary Collaborators

Centers & Groups