Current Research Projects

COMET: COVID-19 on Maternal Experience and Temperament

How does the pandemic affect stress in families? Do the ways that mothers talk to their kids about the pandemic affect their or their kids’ resilience to stress? What other factors might affect their stress during this unprecedented time? In this NSF-funded study from the Berger Institute, we are remotely conducting surveys, interviews, and hair sample collections with families to assess stress, health, well-being, and various other factors at multiple time points.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Stacey Doan (CMC), Dr. Pat Smiley, (Pomona College), Dr. Cindy Liu (Harvard Medical School)

ARCH: Advancing Research on College Health

How do early life experiences impact the transition to college? What are some individual and social factors that may aid in the development of identity, purpose, and well-being? In this study from the Berger Institute, Advancing Research on College Health (ARCH), we will be recruiting students to visit our lab for a comprehensive assessment of their physical health and psychological well-being. In addition, students will fill out surveys that will help us to understand the transition to college and factors affecting health adaptation.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Stacey Doan (CMC), Dr. Pat Smiley (Pomona College)

STAR: Stress, Temperament And Regulation

How do parents with cope with stress? How does stress in parents influence their health behaviors and how these behaviors get transmitted from one generation to the next?  What is the role of positive and negative emotions? Do they influence stress biology and children’s emotional well-being and physical health? These are some of the questions which we hope to answer in this study. We are interviewing and conducting assessments on 120 families with young children.

Principal Investigators: Dr. Stacey Doan (CMC), Dr. Pat Smiley (Pomona College), Dr. Jessie Borelli (University of California, Irvine)

Rural Poverty and Children’s Development

Children growing up in poverty face unique challenges. What are potential risk and protective factors? This project is a longitudinal project that tracks children since they were 9 years (they are now 24!). We are currently investigating how early experiences in life shape adjustment in early adulthood.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Gary W. Evans (Cornell University)

Mindfulness and Health Behaviors 

With funding from NIH, we are exploring whether improving adolescents’ emotion regulation abilities would influence health behaviors.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Michael Otto (Boston University)

Mechanisms of Health Disparities

In this project, we examine racial and ethnic differences in health disparities, as well as their mechanisms.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Tom Fuller-Rowell (Auburn University)

MIND: Mapping Intelligence and Neural Development

We are investigating the physiological and neurobiological underpinnings of self-control abilities, as well as examining parenting practices which may influence the abilities in children.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Amanda Tarullo (Boston University)

ERCS: Emotion Regulation as a Complex System 

Are there cultural differences in children’s self-control? Do you children from different cultures respond to stress different? Understanding these cultural differences may help to further our understanding of culturally sensitive interventions  to improve children’s well-being.

Collaborator: Dr. Twila Tardif (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)


We are recruiting research assistants! If you are interested in volunteering in our lab and interested in learning about how the social environment affects health and well-being, please contact us!