Research news

Singing may reduce stress, improve motor function for people with Parkinson's diseaseThe results from a recent pilot study done by Iowa State researchers shows that singing may lead to improvements in mood and motor function for people with Parkinson's disease. While the data is only preliminary, assistant professor of kinesiology Elizabeth Stegemöller says that the improvements...


Janet N. Melby receives matching funds from two CPPC Allied Agencies
Janet Melby, adjunct professor in human development and family studies and director of the Child Welfare Research and Training Project, received matching funds for the AmeriCorps Partnering to Protect Children (APPC) from two separate Community Partnerships for Protecting Children (CPPC) Allied Affiliate sites, Art Force Iowa ($3,000) and Community Youth Concepts ($1,500). Funds will supplement support for the program obtained through Volunteer Iowa and the Iowa Department of Human Services. The overarching aim is to strengthen families and protect children by building capacity of local communities to implement evidence-informed and evidence-based prevention strategies to prevent child mental, physical, and sexual abuse and neglect.

Janet N. Melby receives funding from Rush University Medical Center
Janet Melby, adjunct professor in human development and family studies, received a $79,768 subcontract from Rush University Medical Center, funded by the National Institutes of Health, for Steps to Effective Problem Solving. Funds for the third year of this four year project support observational services and consultation performed through Iowa State's Center for Survey Statistics and Methodology.

Raise the visibility of your research by establishing a CHS individual faculty research webpage
As the College of Human Sciences aims to increase communication about scholarly research, faculty now have the opportunity to establish a website that focuses on their research work. Sites may focus on an individual researcher's work or a research team's work. Review some of the new sites or request yours now.


Tricia Neppl receives award for relationship development research
Tricia Neppl, associate professor in human development and family studies, received a year five subcontract of $180,011 from the University of Georgia as part of a five-year $1,956,680 grant. This award, funded by the National Institute on Aging, is to study continuity and change in the marital relationships of retirement-age couples and to link relationship development to changes in physical and emotional health.

Elizabeth Shirtcliff awarded funding for puberty research project
Elizabeth, "Birdie" Shirtcliff, an associate professor in human development and family studies, was awarded a $103,482 subcontract from the Pennsylvania State University on a National Institutes of Health research grant. This is the first of five years of an award estimated at $525,276 in direct costs. Shirtcliff will investigate the influence of pubertal maturation on biobehavioral development and mental health and risk for drug use in adolescents. The project examines the Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS) which is a longitudinal study designed to understand the relationship between heredity and the family environment by examining children adopted at birth. The current funding aims to clarify how heritable risks and prenatal or postnatal environments work together with hormonal changes to influence adolescent development. Shirtcliff and her team wil serve as the project’s biocore for novel hair hormone assessments and study design.

Greder and Woods receive $140,000 installment toward $648,750 grant over five years to promote college access and affordability
HDFS associate professor Kimberly Greder and HSEO program specialist Barbara Woods received a grant for a project called Juntos
Together for a Better Education and Success for At-Risk Youth in Iowa Communities. The project provides family-based learning to help youth successfully transition to and complete high school and explore opportunities to participate in higher education. Juntos brings Latino families who have youth in middle school together to participate in a series of five two-hour workshops focused on working together as a family to set educational goals, communicate within the family and with school staff, understand expectations and requirements for high school graduation and entrance to college, and learn about strategies for financing higher education. Following the workshop series, families meet monthly to gain more information and to support each other, youth receive information and mentoring via success coaching, families visit colleges, and are linked to additional learning opportunities via 4-H and human sciences extension and outreach. The grant is from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and this is the fifth year of the project.

Consider applying for Helen LeBaron Hilton funds of up to $2500 per special project
The Helen LeBaron Hilton Fund supports a wide variety of projects that promote leadership, philosophy, and service. Human Sciences Extension and Outreach program specialists are encouraged to apply by October 15, as are students, faculty, and staff in food science and human nutrition; human development and family studies; or apparel, events, and hospitality management.


Elizabeth Shirtcliff awarded funding for puberty research project
Elizabeth, "Birdie," Shirtcliff, an associate professor in human development and family studies, was awarded a $70,000 subcontract from the University of California Berkeley on a National Institutes of Health research grant. Shirtcliff will investigate the influence of pubertal maturation and stress exposure on biobehavioral development and mental health. The project examines the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas study which is the longest running longitudinal birth cohort study of environmental exposures among children in a farmworker community. Shirtcliff and her team will continue to serve as the project’s biocore for hormone assessments and study design.
Link between divorce and graduate education a concern as more jobs require advanced degreeChildren of divorce are less likely to earn a four-year or graduate degree, according to new research from Iowa State University.

The study, published in the Journal of Family Issues, is one of the first to look specifically at divorce and graduate education. Researchers — including Iowa State University alumna Camron Devor, Cassandra Dorius in human development and family studies, and Susan Stewart in sociology  — say it is important to understand this relationship as more jobs require a graduate or professional degree.