Center for Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Disorders Research

Center for Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Disorders

The Center for Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Behavior is a comprehensive research center designed to conduct scientific studies of processes that may lead to or intensify eating disorder symptoms. Our researchers use a variety of behavioral and biological assessment strategies in longitudinal studies to examine what leads to the onset or intensification of symptoms.

We research the mechanisms that perpetuate problematic eating behaviors. These behaviors are typically seen in psychiatric syndromes such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder. Additionally, our researchers are interested in mechanisms that increase the risk of onset or perpetuation of obesity.

The Center for Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Behavior supports the scientific community in our health system and local universities. We offer clinical research training and education seminars, provide funds for pilot projects in the area of maladaptive eating behaviors, and support a variety of research courses emphasizing biostatistics, biobehavioral assessment laboratories and human subject research.

We’re funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences and the Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence program.

Meet Our Team


Stephen Wonderlich, PhD
Principal Investigator

Ross Crosby, PhD
Biomedical Statistics Core Co-Director

Daniel Friesner, PhD
Biomedical Statistics Core Co-Director

Scott Engel, PhD
Research Assessment Services Core Co-Director

Kristine Steffen, PhD
Research Assessment Services Core Co-Director

Lora Black, RN, MPH
Human Subjects Core Co-Director

Kathryn Lancaster
Human Subjects Core Co-Director

Internal Advisory Committee

Jonathan Geiger, PhD
University of North Dakota

Mark McCourt, PhD
North Dakota State University

David Pearce, PhD
Sanford Research

Project Leaders

Neural Mechanisms of Biased Attention Towards Disorder-salient Stimuli in Bulimia Nervosa
This study will examine the temporal dynamics of attention bias in women with bulimia nervosa (BN) compared to controls, using EEG; characterize the integrity of functional cortical interactions in BN using resting state (rs) fMRI; and use correlation-based statistical approaches to assess the relationship between functional connectivity and attention bias in BN.

Project Director: Jeffrey Johnson, PhD

A Longitudinal Examination of Reward, Eating Expectancies and Inhibitory Control in the Progression of Loss of Control Eating
This study proposes to examine whether a history of reinforcement from eating prospectively predicts increases in eating expectancies, loss of control eating and binge eating.

Project Director: Lauren Schaefer, PhD

A Prospective Examination of Sleep, Eating Behavior and Weight Gain Among Overweight Adults
This study proposes to examine sleep duration as a prospective predictor of binge eating behavior and the extent to which binge eating mediates the relationship between sleep duration, weight gain and body composition.

Project Director: Leah Irish, PhD

Momentary Biobehavioral Predictors of Loss of Control Eating and Weight Outcomes
This study proposes to address biobehavioral predictors of loss of control eating among those receiving bariatric surgery to improve maintenance of weight loss outcomes following surgery.

Project Director: Gail Williams-Kerver, PhD

A Longitudinal, Momentary Examination of Interpersonal Stress, Inhibitory Control, Binge Eating and Non-suicidal Self-injury
The proposed project plans to address the overlap between disordered eating behaviors and non-suicidal self-injury by evaluating the momentary effects of interpersonal stress and inhibitory control.

Project Director: Kathryn Gordon, PhD