Department of Psychiatry

Penn Behavioral Health

Ongoing Research

Currently Recruiting

The mHealth Nutrition Study

Dr. Emily Kuschner

Doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the University of Pennsylvania are seeking families to participate in a research study to learn more about how to help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) make healthy food choices. The study will test two treatments: one involving a mobile nutrition application and one involving nutrition education.

We are asking children with ASD between the ages of 6 and 10 years and their caregiver to be in the study. If you and your child agree to be in the study, you/your child will be asked to:

  • Complete a phone interview
  • Promote healthy eating in your child over a 3-month period
  • Participate in two visits at home or at CHOP
  • Participate in a total of 6 short phone-based dietary interviews

All families are compensated for their time and effort.

Contact Lauren at 215-746-2427 or lomal@pennmedicine.upenn.edu for more information.

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Behavioral Weight Intervention and Social Experiences Study (Be WISER)

Dr. Rebecca Pearl

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are offering a 16-month, group weight loss program for individuals who have had negative experiences related to weight.

You may be eligible to participate if you are:

  • 18 years old or older
  • Overweight
  • Interested in losing weight

AND

  • Your weight affects how you feel about yourself

If interested, please call (215)746-5030 for the Be WISER Study.

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A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Liraglutide for the Treatment of Binge Eating Disorder (The BELIEVE Study)

Dr. Kelly Allison

We are seeking volunteers for a research study examining the efficacy of an FDA-approved medication as compared to placebo for the treatment of binge-eating disorder.  You may be eligible if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Are between the ages of 21 and 70
  • Meet criteria for Binge Eating Disorder
  • Are willing to use an FDA-approved medication
  • Are free of type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  • Are available for study-related visits and assessments over the course of 20 weeks (3 weeks of study related visits and 17 weeks of treatment)

If eligible, you will receive medical evaluations and visits to the clinic at no charge.  Compensation will be provided.

For more information, please email Liz at ejonesa@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

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Volunteers Needed for Inpatient Study of Biological Factors and Night Eating Syndrome

Dr. Kelly Allison and Dr. Carsten Skarke

Doctors at the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics and the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, University of Pennsylvania are studying the influence of day and night on the patterns of fatty acids in blood.

We are seeking healthy volunteers as well as volunteers experiencing night eating episodes (getting up at night to eat) for a research study.  You may qualify to participate if you are:

  • Between the ages of 18 and 65 years old
  • Overweight (BMI of 27-32 kg/m2)
  • Non-smoking
  • For healthy volunteers eating less than 25% of daily caloric intake after dinner

OR

  • For volunteers with night eating experiencing multiple nocturnal eating episodes per week

This research study involves two outpatient assessments followed by a 3 night/ 2 day continuous stay in the hospital to test differences in biological factors between patients with night eating syndrome and healthy volunteers. Volunteers will be compensated for their participation.

For more information, call Maddie at (215) 573-5502 or email at mrugg@pennmedicine.upenn.edu.

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Meal Timing and Metabolism Study

Dr. Kelly Allison and Dr. Namni Goel

We are seeking volunteers for a research study. You may qualify to participate if you are:

  • Overweight
  • Between the ages of 21 and 50 years old
  • Non-smoking
  • Not working a night shift
  • Not going to bed regularly after midnight or waking up regularly after 9:00 am
  • Willing to eat food provided by the study for up to 16 weeks

Volunteers will be compensated for their participation.

For more information, please contact Liz at (215) 573-5502 or ejonesa@pennmedicine.upenn.edu

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Binge Eating and the Brain

Dr. Ariana Chao

Do you eat large amounts of food and feel out of control? We are looking for volunteers who are:

  • Female
  • 21-45 years of age
  • Right-handed
  • Meet criteria for binge eating disorder
  • Interested in participating in a research study that is evaluating brain responses to food.

The study includes a screening visit and a study visit that includes questionnaires and a brain scan. You will be compensated $100 for your participation. For information call Dr. Ariana Chao at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at 215-746-7183 or email arichao@nursing.upenn.edu

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Binge Eating and Neural Treatment Outcomes (BENTO) Study

Dr. Ariana Chao

We are currently recruiting research participants for a research study examining how brain responses to food change before and after cognitive behavioral therapy for binge eating disorder. Participants will be randomized to either a 16-week, one-on-one, cognitive behavioral therapy intervention or to a wait-list control. Both groups will have functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans at baseline and after 16-weeks.

Research procedures (no cost) for qualified participants include:

  • 16 weeks of cognitive behavioral treatment
  • Study-related medical examinations
  • Two fMRI brain scans
  • Compensation up to $280

Participants that meet the following criteria may be eligible for this study:

  • Female between 18-45 years of age
  • Body mass index>30 kg/m2
  • Right-handed
  • Meet criteria for binge eating disorder

For more information please contact the Binge Eating and Neutral Treatment Outcome (BENTO) Study team at BentoStudy@gmail.com or (215)746-7183

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Ongoing Research (Closed to recruitment/recruiting from direct referrals)

Lifestyle Modification and Medication for Weight Loss

Dr. Thomas A. Wadden

We are seeking participants for a long-term weight loss trial that includes a behavioral weight loss program and the possibility of receiving an FDA-approved weight loss medication. You may be eligible if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Are at least 21 years of age
  • Want to lose weight
  • Are available for study-related visits and assessments for 12 months
  • Are free of type 1 and type 2 diabetes

For more information, call the study team at (215) 746-5030 or email zayna@mail.med.upenn.edu.

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A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Lifestyle Modification and Lorcaserin for Weight Loss Maintenance

Dr. Thomas A. Wadden

A long-term weight loss trial that includes a behavioral weight loss program and an FDA-approved weight loss medication. This study is no longer recruiting.

For more information about this study, email zayna@mail.med.upenn.edu.

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Obesity and Weight Loss among Endometrial Cancer Survivors

Dr. Kelly Allison and Dr. Ashley Haggerty (Ob/Gyn)

This is a study funded by the Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (TREC) center grant at Penn Medicine. We are examining the efficacy of two technology based weight loss interventions as compared to enhanced usual care among endometrial cancer survivors, and the impact of weight loss on biomedical markers of cancer.  Participants are recruited from the Jordan Center for Gynecologic Cancer at the Abramson Cancer Center at Penn Medicine and at Pennsylvania Hospital's Gynecology Oncology clinic.  For more information about this study, please contact Becki Dilks rdilks@mail.med.upenn.edu.

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Look AHEAD (Action for Health in Diabetes)

Dr. Thomas A. Wadden

This 16-site, NIH-funded study will examine the benefits of a lifestyle intervention on overweight men and women with Type 2 Diabetes over 11 years (until 2012). The study is closed to new enrollment.

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Study of the Timing of Eating

Dr. Kelly C. Allison

Doctors at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania are studying the influence of the timing of eating on weight and metabolism. 

We are seeking healthy volunteers for a research study.  You may qualify to participate if you are:

  • Between the ages of 21 and 45 years old
  • Normal weight 
  • Non-smoking 
  • Not working a night shift  
  • Not going to bed regularly after midnight or waking up regularly after 9:00 am 
  • Willing to eat food provided by the study for up to four months

This research study involves two outpatient assessments for screening.  You will be assigned time frames to eat the food we provide you for a total of four months, with a two week break mid-way through.  You will have a total of 4 overnight inpatient assessment visits during the study. Volunteers will be compensated for their participation.

For more information, call Maddie at (215) 573-5502 or email at mrugg@mail.med.upenn.edu.

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Behavioral Weight Intervention and Social Experiences Study

Dr. Rebecca Pearl

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are offering a 6-month, group weight loss program for individuals who have had negative experiences related to weight.

You may be eligible to participate if you are:

  • 18 to 65 years old
  • Overweight
  • Interested in losing weight

AND

  • Your weight affects how you feel about yourself

If interested, please call (215)746-5030 for the Be WISE Study.

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The Child Nutrition Research Study

Dr. Tanja Kral

We are seeking children (ages 7-9) and their mother to participate in a nutrition research study.  Children will be asked to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner in our Center once a week for two weeks. 

Each visit will last from 8:00am until 5:30pm. Children will also be  asked to have their body measurements assessed on two separate occasions. 

Call (215) 746-7188 for the Child Nutrition Research Study. 

All meals and compensation ($355) are provided.

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