Center for Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Behavior

Center for Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Behavior CoBRE

Researching Eating Behavior
The Center for Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Behavior (CBM-EB) allows Sanford Research, along with its partners, North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota, to develop a unique and comprehensive clinical research center focused on identifying the factors and mechanisms that promote the development of serious eating disorders and related conditions.

The fundamental objective of this center is to develop the research and clinical infrastructure to support cutting-edge research on the processes that lead to serious eating behaviors. In addition, the center develops a comprehensive training and education plan for early-career scientists to empower them to develop research expertise in factors related to disordered eating. The center also conducts critical scientific studies on the mechanisms of eating behaviors, which hopefully will advance the field and lead to more effective treatments and better care for individuals with eating disorders and their families.

How We Are Funded
The NIH National Institute of General Medical Sciences’ Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence (CoBRE) are awarded to establish and develop innovative, state-of-the-art biomedical and behavioral research centers. The Sanford Center for Biobehavioral Research received a CoBRE award to support the establishment of the CBM-EB.

What We Research
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 or perpetuation of obesity.

To learn more about the research center, see published research since the CBM-EB CoBRE inception.

Read All Publications

How We Support the Scientific Community
The CBM-EB supports the scientific community in our health system and local universities. We offer a Clinical Research Training Program, provide funds for Pilot Projects in the area of maladaptive eating behaviors and support a variety of research Cores emphasizing biostatistics, biobehavioral assessment laboratories and human subject research.

To consult with one of the research Cores or to learn more about our programs, contact Research Project Manager Kathryn Bentley, RN, at or call (701) 365-4916.

The center also supports the following cores:

Our Programs

Clinical Research Training Program

The CBM-EB hosts a Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP) to utilize ongoing instruction, mentoring and scientific consultation to assist our Project Directors in becoming independent investigators.

This program includes a monthly seminar series and a quarterly colloquium series. These talks invite distinguished scientists in the field of eating disorder research to present a lecture and meet with our center’s scientists and discuss shared research interests and potential collaborations. Finally, the CRTP sponsors an annual half-day research grant writing workshop. All training activities are focused on clinical research associated with eating disorders and eating behavior and many are open to interested colleagues across the country.

For more information on the CRTP, contact:
Kathryn Bentley, BSN, RN
(701) 365-4916

Pilot Projects Program

Each year, the CBM-EB invites proposals for pilot projects to support promising research that fits the scientific theme of the center. We anticipate awarding 1-3 new Pilot Projects per year. The goal of this program is to engage early career investigators in the research of eating disorders and eating behavior.

Research areas eligible for funding within this CoBRE include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Risk factors or predictors of eating disorder behavior
  • Illness-related mechanisms for the onset and maintenance of eating disorders
  • Intervention-related mechanisms regarding treatment or prevention of eating disorders
  • Factors that moderate the influence of risk factors or mechanisms of eating disorder behavior
  • The prevalence of eating disordered behaviors in different populations
  • The association between eating behaviors and other health-related behaviors

For more information about the Pilot Projects program, contact:
Kathryn Bentley, BSN, RN
Research Project Manager for Pilot Projects
(701) 365-4916


2024 Events

Register Here


2024 CBM-EB Seminar Series


Second Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 AM CST

Location:  WebEx


February 8, 2024
Ecological Momentary Assessment: Real-time Data Capture Methods

March 7, 2024
An Overview of the Competence Approach to Successful Living

April 4, 2024
Clayton Hilmert, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University

May 2, 2024
Kristine Steffen, PharmD, Ph.D., Professor Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, North Dakota State University

July 11, 2024
Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, Ph.D. Vice Chair of Research/Professor and Research Director, Military Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Program (MiCOR), Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

August 8, 2024
Laura Berner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

September 12, 2024
Ulrike Schmidt, Ph.D., Professor, Eating Disorders and Director of the Centre for Research on Eating and Weight Disorders, King’s College London

October 10, 2024
Sarah Fischer, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Clinical Psychology, George Mason University

November 14, 2024
Stephen Touyz, Ph.D., Director, InsideOut Institute for Eating Disorders, Sydney Local Health District/ Charles Perkins Centre


2023 Events

2023 CBM-EB Seminar Series

Second Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 AM CST

Location:  WebEx







January 12

Assessment of Eating Behaviors using the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE 17.0D)

Christine Peat, Ph.D.


February 9

Data Management 101- Cleaning your dataset, formatting your dataset, and running simple prediction models

Ross Crosby, PhD.

Leslie Laam, Ph.D.


March 9

Team Management-

Study Staffing and Teamwork

Kathy Lancaster, B.A.

Stephen Wonderlich, Ph.D.



April 13

Human Subjects Research-

NIH Policy Updates

Ben Balas, Ph.D.

HSC Team


May 11

ED Risk/Maintenance Constructs-

Reward Processes

Lauren Schaefer, Ph.D.



June 8

Summer Break – No Seminar



July 13

TBD- ED Risk/Maintenance Constructs- Inhibitory Control



August 10

ED Risk/Maintenance Constructs-


Leah Irish, Ph.D.


September 14

ED Risk/Maintenance Constructs- Attention Bias

Jeff Johnson, Ph.D.


October 12

ED Risk/Maintenance Constructs-

Blood Glucose

Gail Kerver, Ph.D.


November 9

Eating Disorder Treatment Overview

Stephen Wonderlich, Ph.D.

Guest Clinician- TBD


December 14

Severe and Enduring Eating Disorders

Stephen Wonderlich, Ph.D.

Guest Clinician- TBD


2022 Events

For more information about past events or to access the recordings, contact:
Kara Woodbury Fladland, MEd, LPCC

Past Seminar Series Events:

Professional Organizations
Stephen Wonderlich, PhD
December 8, 2022

Networking Ross Crosby, PhD
Kathryn Gordon, PhD
November 10, 2022

Open Science Jeff Johnson, PhD
Ross Crosby, PhD
October 13, 2022

November 3, 2022
Theories of Eating Disorders
Stephen Wonderlich, PhD
Gail Kerver, PhD

September 8, 2022
Theories of Obesity
Leslie Heinberg, Ph.D.

August 11, 2022
Bariatric Surgery 101
Scott Engel, PhD
Kristine Steffen, PharmD, PhD
Gail Kerver, PhD

July 14, 2022
Eating Disorders 101
Stephen Wonderlich, PhD
Lauren Schaefer, PhD

May 12, 2022
Latent Structure Analysis in Eating Disorder Research
Ross Crosby, PhD

April 14, 2022
Moderators and Mediators in the Research of Eating Disorders
Ross Crosby, PhD

March 10, 2022
Longitudinal Mixed-Effects Regression
Models in ED Research
Ross Crosby, PhD

Past Colloquium Series Events:

Jan. 13, 2022
Developments, Challenges and Recent Advancements in the Treatment of Binge-Eating Disorder
Carlos Grilo, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Yale University

Jan. 18, 2022
Why People Die by Suicide
Thomas Joiner, PhD

May 10, 2022
Noon CST – virtual
Guido Frank, MD
Professor in Residence, Psychiatry
University of California San Diego

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

Kathryn Lancaster
Human Subjects Core Director

External Advisory Committee

John Sladek, Jr., M.S., Ph.D., FAAA

Professor Emeritus -Neurology, Pediatrics & Neuroscience

University of Colorado School of Medicine


Founding Vice Chancellor for Research (ret.)

University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center


Kelly Allison, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders


Dale Bond, Ph.D.

Director of Research Integration, Hartford Hospital


Kyle De Young, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Psychology at University of Wyoming


CoBRE Projects

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