We conduct interdisciplinary research on the use of digital communication technology to understand, predict and improve lifestyle behaviours and wellbeing. Our current research falls under the following three areas:

Digital Health Interventions

Healthy lifestyle behaviours such as regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential for well-being. The wide adoption of digital communication technology (e.g. internet, smartphones, wearables) presents an incredible opportunity to use these technologies to deliver scalable lifestyle behaviour programs. We are currently conducting studies to understand how to use smartphones and wearable devices to promote a healthy lifestyle.

The Impact of Digital Technology Use

Smartphones offer both benefits and risks for students’ learning and well-being. Benefits include using smartphones as a learning tool and increased opportunities for social contact and support. However, smartphones can also be a source of distraction as they provide students with access to texting, games, and social media. We are currently conducting studies to understand the impact of smartphone use on students’ well-being and learning. As digital communication technology continues to be more integrated into our lives, it will be increasingly important to understand ways to develop healthy boundaries. Our research in this area can help provide information about best practices for smartphone usage in schools and communities (parents, teachers, administrators, and policy-makers) across Canada.

Monitoring and Infodemiology

Infodemiology is a new area of science research that focuses on using user-generated health-related data, with the ultimate goal of improving public health. Millions of people use smartphones, wearables and social media (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook). Data extracted from these sources can be used to provide valuable insight into health behaviours on both individual and population levels. We collaborate with computer scientists and statisticians to find new methods to analyze smartphone, wearable and social data to monitor and predict health related outcomes. 

More information about our current research projects can be found here.