Research interests

As a large and diverse group, TARG have a number of research interests. Here you can find out about each workstream and what we are studying.

TARG is structured around four interlinked workstreams:

Workstream 1: Epidemiology and Causal Inference (Professor Marcus Munafò),
Workstream 2: Mechanisms, Measurements, and Intervention Development (Dr Angela Attwood),
Workstream 3: Field Trials and Intervention (Dr Olivia Maynard),
Workstream 4: Meta-Research (Professor Marcus Munafò).

 

Workstream 1: Epidemiology and Causal Inference

Workstream Leads: Dr Hannah Sallis and Dr Liam Mahedy

The Epidemiology and Causal Inference workstream is broadly focused on the associations between health behaviours and mental health. We use secondary data sources including the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and the UK Biobank. As well as classic epidemiology methods, we also use genetic epidemiology, and in particular Mendelian randomisation, to infer causality. 

List of members

Ms Laura Schellhas (Marie Curie Individual Fellow)
Ms Elis Haan (Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher)
Ms Jasmine Khouja (PhD Student & Teaching Assistant)
Mr Gareth Griffith (Senior Research Associate - ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow)

Collaborators

MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit

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Workstream 2: Mechanisms, Measurements, and Intervention Development

Workstream Leads: Dr Jennifer Ferrar and Dr Maddy Dyer

The Mechanisms, Measurements, and Intervention Development workstream is broadly focused on data collection in controlled laboratory settings. We aim to: (a) identify mechanisms underlying mental and physical health, (b) develop/refine self-report, physiological, and behavioural measures, and (c) identify targets for intervention and assess their feasibility in the real world.

List of members

Dr Claire Braboszcz (Senior Research Associate)
Dr Caroline Skirrow (Research Associate)
Mr Andy Eastwood
 (PhD Student & Teaching Assistant)
Ms Steph Suddell (PhD Student & Teaching Assistant)

Collaborators

Cambridge Cognition

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Workstream 3: Field Trials and Intervention

Workstream Leads: Dr Anna Blackwell and Dr Laura Brocklebank

The Field Trials and Intervention workstream research and investigate the impact on behaviour of both targeted and population-level interventions. Data collection is conducted in a range of settings, including the Psychological Science research laboratories, local schools, nightclubs and festivals, and field studies examine interventions in naturalistic settings, including shops and bars. This research uses quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods.

List of members

Dr Abigail Jackson (Senior Research Associate)
Ms Katie De-Loyde (Research Associate)
Ms Zoe Reed (EBI Postgraduate Fellow)
Ms Vicky Carlisle (PhD Student)
Ms Jana Lutus (Masters Student)
Ms Madeleine Svenson (Visiting Placement Student - The University of Bath)

Collaborators

Behaviour Change by Design – University of Cambridge

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Workstream 4: Meta-research group

Workstream Leads: Dr Robert Thibault and Dr Jacqueline Thompson

The Meta-research group workstream focus on improving the robustness, transparency, and efficiency of scientific research. Topics include Registered Reports, preregistration, prediction markets, incentives in academia, statistical practice, reporting standards, checklist and guidelines, open research and transparency, and research culture more broadly. We prioritise developing and testing solutions aimed at improving research outputs and the research ecosystem.   

List of members

Mr Robbie Clark (Research Assistant)
Ms Katie Drax (PhD student)
Mr Mark Gibson (PhD student)

Placements (both lab alumni):

Kyle Dack (PhD mini-project)
Frankie Langeland (MSci)

Collaborators

The UK Reproducibility Network (UKRN)

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Data capture

Workstream lead: Dr Andy Skinner

Data Capture is a cross-cutting theme developing novel approaches to capturing the variety of data of interest to researchers in the IEU – everything from molecules to behaviours. It supports a wide and varied portfolio of research projects across the IEU, while at the same time horizon scanning and collaborating with other world leading teams to bring innovative data capture technologies and techniques into the Unit. The Theme’s research interests include sensing health behaviours using wearable digital devices, crowd-sourcing of cognitive and behavioural data collection, continuous bio-sensing, low energy sensing technologies, on-body video capture, novel dietary assessment and technologies for behaviour change interventions.

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