Research Centers & Institutes
Center for Enhancing Quality of Life in Chronic Illness
Spotlight: Center for Enhancing Quality of Life in Chronic Illness Assistant Professor
My program of research is focused on developing and testing cognitive interventions with virtual reality technology to improve attention function and self-care among people with heart failure and identify genetic biomarkers associated with the improvements. My long-term research goal is to improve attention function and self-care to enhance the quality of life and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations among people with heart failure.
I have had wonderful outcomes from the CEQL postdoctoral fellowship training. During the 1st year, I expanded the computer-based cognitive intervention to improve attention function that was used in my dissertation study. I developed a prototype of the cognitive intervention using new technology, which is virtual reality. I am now testing feasibility of this intervention among heart failure patients. In addition, I am researching genomic biomarkers of cognitive deficits as an underlying mechanism of higher prevalence of dementia among heart failure patients. This genomics research is in collaboration with Drs. Liana Apostolova and Andrew Saykin at the Indiana Alzheimer Disease Center and uses data obtained from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC 4078262 JI, NIA U01 AG016976, NIA P30 AG010133). This project is funded through the Junior Investigator Award from NACC. To summarize, I am currently conducting 2 studies as a principal investigator. The rigorous CEQL postdoctoral training has strengthened the biobehavioral focus of my research and helped to develop my research team. I am very grateful that I had this CEQL postdoctoral fellowship and all the support that I had from IUSON and other collaborators at IUPUI. Now, I am transitioning to an assistant professor faculty position with lots of excitement. I am more than willing to put all my effort into mentoring PhD-prepared nurses and future nurse researchers.
Primary mentor: Susan J. Pressler, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN
Dr. Rebecca Ellis joined the Indiana University School of Nursing as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2013. She is focused on helping people with chronic conditions better manage their medications. Currently, she is leading a team of researchers developing and testing technology to help individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD) manage their blood pressure medication. These technologies known as the InterACT™ Pillbox and InterACT-Health™ app work together to
provide feedback to patients in real-time. The InterACT™ Pillbox has embedded sensors that recognize when pills are removed from the pillbox. This information is then sent to the phone application. Patients will be able to get feedback on ways to improve their medication-taking habits based on the information recorded from the InterACT™ Pillbox. Funding for pilot testing in the amount of $107,500 was provided by the Center for Enhancement of Quality of Life, IUPUI Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, Sigma Theta Tau and the Beverly Flynn Endowed Fund for Health Policy. Pilot funding is critical for researchers to build their programs of research. After pilot testing is complete, Bartlett Ellis hopes to expand the study with external funding to demonstrate efficacy.
Dr. Sheri Robb joined the IU School of Nursing in 2012 with a prestigious (CTSI) KL2 Young Investigator Award (KL2RR025760). Her early research laid the foundation for development/testing of theory-based interventions and subsequent examination of the psychological, sociological, and behavioral mechanisms by which music therapy interventions exert their effects on clinical outcomes. Her Contextual Support Model of Music Therapy is used in the United States and abroad as a guiding framework for intervention research and to guide clinical practice/training. Dr. Robb’s program of research focuses on development and testing of music therapy palliative care interventions to manage distress and improve positive health outcomes in pediatric/adolescent cancer patients and their parents. She has developed two music-based palliative care interventions and a parent intervention for children/adolescents with cancer and their parents. All three intervention studies are externally funded and address family interaction and communication during high risk cancer treatment. Currently, she serves as Principal Investigator for a multisite NIH funded study (R01NR015789) examining underlying mechanisms of a music-based play intervention to manage distress and improve life quality in young children (ages 3-8 years) with cancer and parents during treatment. She also served as a Principal Investigator (MPI) and Children’s Oncology Group (COG) Study Co-Chair for a National Institutes of Health and COG dual funded study (R01 CA162181; U10CA098543; U10CA095861; Haase/Robb, MPIs) examining efficacy of a parent support/communication intervention designed to companion her previously tested Therapeutic Music Video intervention for adolescents/young adults with high risk cancer (R01NR00853; NCI U10 CA098543; U10CA095861; Haase, PI; Robb, Co-PI). Dr. Robb’s work is disseminated internationally through data based and peer reviewed publications. In 2014, she first authored a publication in Cancer (120(6):909-17. PMCID: PMC3947727). She is sought as a thought and opinion leader internationally for her unique contributions to the quality of life of pediatric cancer patients and their families.