Recent Publications

A sample of our research papers. 

Ades PA & Gaalema DE. Geographic Variations in Cardiac Rehabilitation Use: Regional Variations in Medical Care or Patient Behaviors? 2018. Circulation.

Ahern TP, Veres K, Jiang T, Farkas DK, Lash TL, Sorensen HT, Gradus JL. Adjustment disorder and type-specific cancer incidence: A Danish cohort study. Acta Oncol. 2018 Apr 24:1-6 doi: 10.1080/0284186X.2018.1465586.

Gaalema DE, Savage PD, Rengo JL, Cutler AY, Elliott RJ, Priest JS, Higgins ST, Ades PA. Patient characteristics predictive of cardiac rehabilitation adherence. J Cardiopulm Rehabil Prev. 2017;37(2):103-110.

Higgins ST, Heil SH. Continuing efforts to improve cessation outcomes with pregnant cigarette smokers. Addiction. 2015;110(4):690-692.

Kurti AN, Bunn JY, Villanti AC, Stanton CA, Redner R, Lopez AA, Gaalema DE Doogan NJ, Cepeda-Benito A, Roberts ME, Phillips JK, Quisenberry AJ, Keith DR, Higgins ST. Patterns of single and multiple tobacco product use among US women of reproductive age. Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Kurti AN, Redner R, Bunn JY, Tang K, Nighbor T, Lopez AA, Keith DR, Villanti AC, Stanton CA, Gaalema DE, Doogan NJ, Cepeda-Benito A, Roberts ME, Philips J, Parker MA, Quisenberry AJ, Higgins ST. Examining the relationship between pregnancy and quitting use of tobacco products in a US national sample of women of reproductive age.

Harraz OF, Longden TA, Dabertrand F, et al. Endothelial GqPCR Activity Controls Capillary Electrical Signaling and Brain Blood Flow through PIP2 Depletion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2018, March 26

Villanti AC, Gaalema DE, Tidey JW, Kurti AN, Sigmon SC, Higgins ST. Co-occurring vulnerabilities and menthol use in U.S. young adult cigarette smokers: Findings from Wave 1 of the PATH Study, 2013-2014. Prev Med. 2018. PubMed PMID:  29890187.

Villanti AC, Niaura RS, Abrams DB, Mermelstein R. Preventing Smoking Progression in Young Adults: the Concept of Prevescalation. Prev Sci. 2018. PubMed PMID:  29525899.


Our Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) project is funded by the NIH’s National Institute on General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). The project focuses on investigating relationships between personal behaviors and risk for chronic disease and premature death. Unhealthy personal behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, physical inactivity) account for 40% of premature deaths in the U.S. annually and substantially increase healthcare costs and health disparities.

There is a tremendous need for (a) greater scientific understanding of the mechanisms underpinning vulnerability to these risk behaviors and (b) more effective interventions to promote behavior change.

We approach these challenges using the concepts, principles, and methods of behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology.  This effort involves key interdisciplinary collaborations (a) across multiple academic departments and colleges within UVM, (b) with key Vermont community healthcare leaders, and (c) with other universities, including Brown University and University of Kentucky.

                                           Image of Thomas Ahern     Image of Andrea Villanti           Kurti_Allison (1)         
Longden            Brady
Click here to meet our project directors and learn about their research. 

Overall Summary

The overarching goal of this application for a Phase 2 Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) award is to further develop the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH) at the University of Vermont (UVM). This multidisciplinary research center focuses on investigating relationships between personal behavior patterns (e.g., substance abuse, physical inactivity, poor food choice, non-adherence to medicalregimens) and risk for chronic disease and premature death.

The overarching scientific priorities of the VCBH are (a) increasing scientific understanding of the mechanisms underpinning vulnerability to these unhealthy behavior patterns, including the contribution of biases in decision making and socioeconomic disadvantage, and (b) developing and evaluating the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of behavior-change interventions to promote health. Advances in each of those areas are essential to improving U.S. population health, reducing health disparities, and curbing spiraling health care costs. The VCBH has made considerable progress during Phase 1 towards establishing a vibrant, multidisciplinary center of research excellence that is already having local, national, and international impact. Phase 2 funding will allow the VCBH to further establish and develop a productive, sustainable presence in this important area of biomedical research.