Research news

Initiative takes advantage of existing data to solve community problemsIowa State University researchers are lending their expertise to help Iowa communities access and analyze solutions to some of the pressing problems these communities have been facing, by tapping into data the cities are already collecting.


Megan Gilligan receives funding to study the impact of familial death: Megan Gilligan, associate professor in human development and family studies, was awarded $33,377 from Purdue University. This award was funded by the National Institute on Aging for the third wave of data collection for the Within-Family Differences Study-Bereavement. This phase of the study will focus on the deaths of members of the oldest generation and the effects those deaths have on the health and well-being of their adult children and adult grandchildren.

Kere Hughes-Belding awarded funding to evaluate Iowa’s Project LAUNCH program
Kere Hughes-Belding, associate professor in human development and family studies, received $87,203 for her first year of her LAUNCH program evaluation. Project LAUNCH in Iowa is a five-year program that will improve mental health consultation and services to children and families in six counties in Iowa. It is a collaboration between the Iowa Department of Public Health, Drake University Head Start, and several collaborating mental health agencies. Mental health consultation will be provided to a variety of Head Start and cooperating preschool classrooms, and will increase access to clinical mental health services for children and caregivers. Funding comes from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration to the Iowa Department of Public Health.. The five-year project will have a total funding of $464,600.

Kere Hughes-Belding receives continued funding for PEER home visitor communities
Kere Hughes-Belding, associate professor in human development and family studies, received $215,392 of additional funding from the Iowa Department of Public Health. This funding will cover continued development of Partnering to Enhance Effective Reflection (PEER) home visitor communities of practice. This year, Hughes-Belding, Carla Peterson, and their research team are specifically focusing on building support for facilitators of the PEER groups to improve the quality of home visiting services for young children and their families in Iowa.

Jeong Eun Lee awarded grant for research on intergenerational care in custodial families
Jeong Eun Lee, assistant professor in human development and family studies, received $87,000 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture for her five-year project. She will help ISU Human Science Extension and Outreach implement an evidence-based program, “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)” for custodial grandparents and their grandchildren. As there has been an increasing need for a program dedicated to custodial grand-families, the ACT program will provide tools and skill sets these families will benefit from, helping custodial grand-families cultivate psychological flexibility and develop caring and supportive family relationships.
Study examines biomarkers, economic factors that may increase risk for cognitive declineA team of Iowa State University researchers, including associate professor of human development and family studies Tricia Neppl, is collaborating with other universities' researchers and community programs to explore the idea that retina scans may reveal...

Grant to improve firefighters and first responders' protective glovesThe heat-protective gloves firefighters and first responders wear are thick, bulky and limit dexterity. That's why a team of Iowa State University researchers is working to improve the safety and function of the gloves as part of the personal protective equipment system.


Tricia Neppl receives funds to research cognitive function in older adults
Associate professor in human development and family studies, Tricia Neppl, received $438,780 from the National Institute on Aging to conduct research on cognitive function in audiences of men and women 70 years of age or older. The research, titled “Predicting Cognitive Function: Biomarkers and Economics in a Rural Aged Cohort”, has broad public health implications as it tests the effectiveness of technology and assessment tools that would be appropriate for screening thousands of individuals at minimal cost as a means of determining early-stage treatments and interventions for cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.

Tricia Neppl receives grant to research couple relationships and health in late adulthood: Tricia Neppl, associate professor in human development and family studies, received $22,000 from the University of Georgia Research Foundation to research continuity and change in couple relationships and health from middle to later years. This grant is in an extension year, meaning the project is in a sixth year of a five-year grant award, and will end in the spring of 2020. This research will add on to the current understanding of marital interactions, relationship quality, and vulnerability endurance.

Megan Gilligan receives grant for research on how Alzheimer's disease and related dementia affects families
Megan Gilligan, an associate professor in human development and family studies, was awarded a five-year $620,005 grant from the National Institute on Aging for research on Alzheimer's disease affects families. For the project, "Sibling Relations in the Context of Dementia Parental Care: Implications for Health and Well-Being," Gilligan's team will use a mixed-method approach, combining survey, biological, and observational data to examine associations between adult sibling relations and health and well-being outcomes in the context of caring for an older parent with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD). Insights from this study can help shape future prevention and intervention efforts aimed at improving sibling interaction strategies and the overall health and well-being of adult children caring for older parents with ADRD.