Mitchell Lab Research Overview



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The Unit for Energetic Behavior Research is structured to support multidisciplinary epidemiological studies using a) sensors to measure locomotor activity, b) advanced imaging to measure body composition, c) detailed nutritional assessment to measure energy intake and dietary behavior, d) geospatial methods to measure the neighborhood environment, and e) DNA collection for gene-behavior interaction analyses.


Sleep and Growth Study
NIH/NHLBI, K01HL123612

This career development award supported the Sleep and Growth Study. The primary objective was to determine if shorter sleep associated with changes in fat mass in adolescence.

Sleep and Growth Study 2
NIH/NICHD, R01HD100421

The overall objective is to determine if sleep duration, timing, and quality associate with changes in bone density and strength in early adolescence (ages 12 to 15 years), a key developmental period when sleep patterns and bone accretion are highly dynamic.

The Unit for Optimizing Behavioral Interventions uses the Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST) framework to design digital interventions to improve energetic behavior profiles in childhood. MOST is an engineer-inspired framework for developing multi-component interventions consisting of three phases: 1) preparation phase, to pilot test intervention components; 2) optimization phase, to determine the optimal candidate component settings using optimization trials; and 3) evaluation phase, to determine if the final optimized intervention package is effective using randomized controlled trials.


Mobile Sleep and Growth Study
CHOP and NIH/NCATS, UL1 TR001878 (UPenn ITMAT)

This mobile health project used the University of Pennsylvania's Way to Health platform to conduct sleep promotion pilot studies in children. In study No. 1, we explored whether providing financial incentives for achieving or exceeding sleep goals helped children to increase their sleep duration. In study No. 2, we explored whether providing normative feedback, with and without a loss-framed financial incentive, in relation to achieving or exceeding sleep goals could encourage children to increase their sleep duration.

Sleep Extension and Enhancement Possibilities in Youth (SLEEPY)

This mobile health study used the University of Pennsylvania's Way to Health platform to conduct an optimization trial. The goal was to determine the optimal component settings needed for sleep promotion in pediatric primary care.

Sleep Extension and Enhancement Possibilities in Youth 2.0 (SLEEPY 2.0)
NIH/NICHD, R01HD108243

The objective of this study is to engineer a mobile health platform for the pediatric care setting to promote longer sleep duration for childhood obesity prevention. Our central hypothesis is that we will identify an optimal set of intervention components to increase sleep duration and prevent excess weight gain, with equitable effectiveness across sociodemographic backgrounds.