Past Projects

WIN Study

(Weight Loss Intervention on Neuronal Health) The main objective of this study is to examine the impact of physical activity and weight loss on brain health outcomes.  In collaboration with the Health and Physical Activity Department we will be exploring the effects of a one year aerobic and diet intervention on cognitive function. Study procedures include: fitness testing, physical activity monitoring, neuroimaging, blood draw, DEXA, pulse wave velocity and a few cognivitve computer tasks.


(Multi-level life-span characterization of adult depression and effects of medication and exercise) This is a pilot study evaluating how depression and thought processes change over the course of treatment with Venlafaxine XR (Effexor).  Half of study participants will be assigned to a walking program in conjunction with the Venlafaxine treatment.  Study is recruiting subjects between the ages of 25 -39 or 65 -79 who are currently depressed.  Study procedures include clinical evaluation, blood draw, MRI, paper / pencil tasks, computer tasks, fitness testing and physical activity monitoring.

FAB Study

(Assessment of Physical Activity in youth at risk for Bipolar Disorder) This is a pilot study aiming to assess the feasibility of assessing fitness and physical activity levels in an adolescent population at risk for Bipolar Disorder along with assessing the relationship between physical activity, executive function, and emotion regulation.  Study subjects are between the ages of 13 – 17 who are offspring of a parent diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder.  Study procedures include fitness testing (bike), physical activity monitoring, acute bout of exercise and computer tasks.


(Retaining Cognition While Avoiding Late-Life Depression) This research project tests whether problem-solving therapy is successful in preventing major depression for those living with mild cognitive impairments.  It also examines the effect of exercise on mood.  Study participants are aged 60 and older with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).  The procedures of the study include evaluations of thinking, memory and mood along with other health assessments.  There is a blood draw and physical activity monitoring as part of the project.

Parkinson’s Study

This pilot study aims to establish whether aerobic fitness positively relates to frontal-striatal functioning and executive function in adults with Parkinson’s disease. Participants were adults diagnosed with early stage PD, aged 55-80, and age-matched, neurologically-healthy controls. Study procedures included neuropsychological evaluations, mobility and balance assessments, VO2 submax exercise testing, and MRI scans.

FLEX Brain Study

(Fun, Lifestyle, EXercise, and the Brain) Was a study for teens between 12 and 17 who were interested in becoming more fit. FLEX-Brain is a program run by internationally known experts from the University of Pittsburgh and UPMC who are interested in understanding the relationship between the brain and weight.