UNLV Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science

The Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science promotes and facilitates biobehavioral, interdisciplinary research-supported activities.

About

The Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science promotes and facilitates biobehavioral, interdisciplinary research-supported activities dedicated to (a) preventing and managing chronic illness and health disparities, (b) understanding biobehavioral and genetic bases of health and illness, and (c) developing innovative approaches to enhance science and its translation to practice.

Mission/Goals

The mission of the Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science is to advance research activities that make bench-to-bedside research useful for real-world applications toward improving human health and well-being. Congruent with the mission of UNLV, the Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science is committed to improving the health and quality of life for the people of Nevada and others.

The goals of the Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science are to:

  • Facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships related to chronic diseases and the needs of vulnerable populations across the lifespan.
  • Promote team science.
  • Enhance research skills and opportunities to develop, implement, and disseminate biobehavioral research.

Services

The center provides the following services to those partnering with the School of Nursing:

  • Shared Resources – Pre-award, Post-award, Grant Writer/Editor.
  • Applied Biomedical Research Laboratory with all equipment and laboratory space therein, including services of the Laboratory Manager.
  • Workshops and training opportunities, or symposiums, grant retreats, boot camps, round tables, writing groups, journal clubs, research proposal review.
  • Pilot grant funding.
  • Consulting.
  • Searches for references and key articles, and budget review available to affiliated faculty.

Request for Applications (RFA)

The center provides competitive seed funds to affiliated faculty in support for pilot studies.

Org Chart

The organizational structure for the Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science is led by the associate dean for research.

Advisory Board

Members of the advisory board guide the center’s mission and goals toward making bench-to-bedside research useful to real-world applications, and furthering the university’s efforts toward its top tier endeavors.

  • Dr. Ronald T. Brown, Dean, School of Allied Health Sciences, UNLV
  • Kirsten Connelly, Center Project Manager, UNLV
  • Dr. Catherine Dingley, Research Strategic Planning, School of Nursing, UNLV
  • Dr. Jeffrey L. Ebersole, Professor of Biomedical Sciences and Associate Dean for Research, School of Dental Medicine, UNLV
  • Dr. Du Feng, Center Director, UNLV
  • Dr. Margaret Heitkemper, Chair, Department of Biobehavioral Nursing and Health Systems, School of Nursing, University of Washington
  • Dr. Jennifer Kawi, Center Coordinator, UNLV
  • Tom McCoy, Nevada Government Relations
  • Dr. Linda Silvestri, nursing community partner
  • Dr. Francisco Sy, Professor and Chair, School of Community Health Sciences, UNLV
  • Dr. Mohamed Trabia, Associate Dean for Research, School of Engineering, UNLV
  • Dr. Carolyn Yucha, Dean, School of Nursing, UNLV

Informational Flyer

The attached flyer contains details about the center.

Awarded Grants

Using Mobile Ecological Momentary Assessment to Assess Dietary and Physical Activity Patterns: A Feasibility Study

Principal Investigator: Reimund Serafica, PhD, MSN, RN

Co-Investigator: Brendan Morris, PhD

Funding Agency: Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science

Amount Funded: $2,295

Period: July 11, 2017 – March 31, 2018

Goals: The purpose is to examine the feasibility of using wearable device and the use of mobile ecological momentary assessment to assess the context and momentary correlates of physical activity and dietary patterns on multiple occasions each day.

Healthier Seniors Through Lifelong Learning

Co-Principal Investigators: Catherine Dingley, PhD, RN, FNP (School of Nursing) and Robert Levrant, MA (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute)

Funding Agency: Dignity Health Community Grants

Amount Awarded: $45,000

Period: July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

Goals: This program is intended to target medically underserved seniors residing in low-income areas who are suffering from chronic conditions.

Testing the use of a CBT and MI Intervention Program to reduce the Risk of Gestational Diabetes Among Overweight/Obese Pregnant Women

Principal Investigator: Tricia Gatlin, PhD, RN, CNE

Co-Investigators: Michael Johnson, PhD, RN and Cheryl Perna, MSN, RN

Coordinator: Marcia Clevesy, MSN, RNC, APRN

Awarded Amount: $2,500

Period: 03/01/2017-10/31/2018

Goals: The primary goal of this study is to assess the feasibility and acceptability of a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational interviewing (MI) intervention program to help pregnant women who are overweight/obese reduce the risk for developing gestational diabetes (GDM) by maintaining a healthy weight gain during the first 24-28 weeks of pregnancy.

Influence of Epigenomics on Pain Impact and Relevant Variables in Nonspecific Chronic Low Back Pain

Principal Investigator: Jennifer Kawi, PhD, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, CNE

Funding Agency: American Association of Nurse Practitioners

Amount Awarded: $2,500

Project period: 06/01/16 – 12/31/17

Goals: To (1) evaluate the associations between epigenomic alterations (i.e., global DNA methylation) and pain impact among adult females with nonspecific chronic low back pain; (2) identify contributions of behavioral risk factors (exercise and smoking) to epigenomic alterations among individuals with chronic low back pain; and (3) explain the relationships between epigenomic alterations and biomedical risk factors (Basal Metabolic Index and opioid use) in chronic low back pain.

Acculturative Stress, Quality of Life, and Dietary Indicators Among Filipino Older Adults

Principal Investigator: Reimund Serafica, PhD, MSN, RN

Funding Agency: Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association, Inc.

Amount Awarded: $1,000

Project period: 03/01/17 – 02/28/18

Goals: To (1) assess the quality of life among older Filipino Americans with different levels of acculturation and acculturative stress, and (2) assess the relationships of acculturative stress on dietary indicators among older Filipino Americans.

Neurodegenerative Changes After Traumatic Brain Injury

Principal Investigator: Hyunhwa Lee, PhD, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Funding Agency: Asian American/Pacific Islander Nurses Association, Inc.

Amount Awarded: $5,000

Project period: 03/01/17 – 02/28/18

Goals: To associate leukocyte telomere length and global methylation to changes in cognitive performance among retired Asian American professional fighters with traumatic brain injury, and (2) compare genome-wide peripheral DNA methylation profiles among cognitively declined and non-declined retired fighters with traumatic brain injury and healthy controls matched on age.

Epigenetic Markers of Neurodegenerative Changes in Traumatic Brain Injury

Principal Investigator: Hyunhwa Lee, PhD, APRN, PMHNP-BC (School of Nursing) and Charles Bernick, MD, MPH (Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health)

Funding Agency: Sigma Theta Tau International

Amount Awarded: $5,000

Project period: 06/01/17 – 05/31/18

Goals: To (1) associate leukocyte telomere length and global methylation to changes in cognitive performance among retired professional fighters with TBI, and (2) compare genomewide peripheral DNA methylation profiles among cognitively declined and nondeclined retired fighters with TBI and healthy controls matched on age.

Directory

Staff

Affiliate Faculty

Collaborators

The center emphasizes interdisciplinary collaborations and provides training not available within individual departments. Ultimately, the center facilitates research activities that make bench-to-bedside research useful to real-world applications, especially those improving human health and well-being.

Current collaborators are:

Support the Center

Along with UNLV's Top Tier initiative to become one of the nation’s best public research universities, the Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science aims to drive health and economic activities through increased research and community partnerships. Our mission is to advance research activities from the bench to the bedside in order to make these useful for real-world applications toward improving human health and well-being.

Congruent with the mission of UNLV, the Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science is committed to improving the health and quality of life for the people of Nevada. As part of the sustainability plan for the Center we are seeking donors to support research grants or other center services (e.g., workshops, symposiums, boot camps, training). Currently, our faculty have been investigating various areas, such as technology for health promotion and disease prevention, end of life and chronic illness assessment and management, health services research, health data analytics, human genetics, epigenetics among others.

Through your gift, you can enhance health care in Nevada and other communities. You will be informed of the outcomes of your gift, invited to activities of the Center, and your name and affiliation will be listed on our website and publications.

Donations can be made online.

If you are interested in discussing ways to make a donation to the Center for Biobehavioral Interdisciplinary Science, please contact:

Patrice Hester-Harper

Director of Development
Schools of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences
702-895-1230 (or 1232)
[email protected]

Contact