BRHFC Sunset 600 pxThe REACH Lab focuses on identifying modifiable factors that are associated with response to treatment for obesity and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Current projects are focused on elucidating the role of executive function in obesity development, maintenance, and intervention outcomes across the lifespan. Additional projects focus on assessing the role of diet and physical activity in the development of lean body mass and bone health for youth diagnosed with IBD.

Current Projects

Using executive function to predict outcomes and adherence in family-based behavioral weight management

Funding: UAB’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center Pilot & Feasibility Grant Program
PI: M. Gowey
The overarching goal of this project is to provide preliminary data demonstrating the effects of child and parental executive function on body composition change and adherence in the context of family-based treatment for pediatric obesity.

Addressing healthcare disparities in pediatric obesity treatment: Development of a novel, patient-centered intervention targeting executive function

Funding: K12 funded by AHRQ/UAB
PI: M. Gowey
The goal of this patient-centered outcomes career development award is to involve children aged 8-12 with obesity and their caregivers in developing, refining, and pilot-testing a new family treatment model targeting executive function for weight management.

Biomarkers of Executive Function Impairment in Pediatric Obesity

Funding: UAB Department of Pediatrics
PI: M. Gowey
This is an exploratory study of the associations between pediatric cardiovascular disease risk factors and executive function in a group of school-aged children with and without obesity.

Mediational Analysis of Diet, Physical Activity, and Lean Mass in Youth with IBD

Funding: UAB’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center Pilot & Feasibility Grant Program and the Kaul Pediatric Research Institute
PI: M. Barnes
The main goal of this project is to provide preliminary data elucidating the relations between dietary intake, engagement in moderate to vigorous physical activity, and lean body mass for youth aged 8-17 diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis.

Molecular Mechanisms of Stress and Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Funding: The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation
PI: R. Lorenz
Co-I: M. Barnes, T. Jester, R. Dimmitt
The overall goal of this project is to elucidate mechanistic pathways that are sensitive to Early Life Stress (maternal separation with early weaning in mice or childhood adversity in pediatric patients with IBD) and lead to enhanced IBD risk over time.


  1. Kinsey, A.W., Gowey, M.A., Tan, F., Zhou, D., Ard, J., Affuso, O., & Dutton, G.R. Similar Weight Loss and Maintenance in African American and White Women in the Improving Weight Loss (ImWeL) Trial. Accepted for publication in Ethnicity and Health.
  2. Dutton, G.R., Gowey, M.A., Tan, F., Zhou, D., Ard, J., Perri, M.G., & Lewis, C. (2017). An alternative schedule of extended care contacts to improve weight loss maintenance. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(1), 107.
  3. Gowey, M.A. & Chandler-Laney, P. (2018). Children’s food and satiety responsiveness in association with post-prandial glucose following a standardized liquid meal. Clinical Obesity, 8(1), 39-42.
  4. Gowey, M.A., Lim, C.S., Dutton, G.R., Silverstein, J., Dumont-Driscoll, M., & Janicke, D.M. Executive function and dysregulated eating behaviors in pediatric obesity. (2017). Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 1-12. DOI:
  5. Reiter-Purtill, J., Gowey, M.A., Austin, H., Rofey, D., Smith, K., & Zeller, M. (2017). Peer victimization and weight-related teasing in adolescents with severe obesity: The roles of self-worth and social support in associations with adjustment. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 42(3), 272-282.
  6. Utzinger, L., Gowey, M.A., Zeller, M., Jenkins, T., Engel, S., Rofey, D., Inge, T., & Mitchell, J. on behalf of the Teen Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (Teen-LABS) Consortium. (2016). Loss of control eating and eating disorders in adolescents before bariatric surgery. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 49(10), 947-952.
  7. Lim, C.S., Gowey, M.A., Cohen, M.J., Silverstein, J., & Janicke, D.M. (2016). Unhealthy weight control behaviors mediate the association between weight status and weight-specific health-related quality of life in obese youth. Eating and Weight Disorders, 1-8. DOI: 10.1007/s40519-016-0262-z
  8. Gowey, M.A., Reiter-Purtill, J., Becnel, J., Peugh, J., Mitchell, J., & Zeller, M. for the TeenView Study Group. (2016). Weight-related correlates of dysregulation in adolescent and young adult (AYA) females with severe obesity. Appetite, 99, 211-218DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2016.01.020
  9. Gowey, M.A., Stromberg, S., Lim, C.S., & Janicke, D.M. Epub 02 Oct 2015. The moderating role of body dissatisfaction in the relationship between ADHD symptoms and disordered eating in pediatric overweight and obesity. Children’s Health Care. DOI:10.1080/02739615.2015.1065745
  10. Armstrong, B., Gowey, M.A., Dumont-Driscoll, M., & Janicke, D.M. (2015). The moderating effects of gender on paternal encouragement to diet and body dissatisfaction in youth. Children's Health Care, 44(4), 353-367. DOI: 10.1080/02739615.2014.979920
  11. Lim, C.S., Gowey, M.A., Silverstein, J., Dumont-Driscoll, M., & Janicke, D.M. (2015). Depressive symptoms, ethnic identity, and health-related quality of life in obese youth. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, jsv014DOI: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsv014
  12. Lim, C.S., Gowey, M.A., & Janicke, D.M. (2014). Behavioral family treatment of pediatric obesity in an underserved community-based setting: A case study demonstrating barriers to treatment effectiveness. Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology2(3), 236.
  13. Gowey, M.A., Lim, C.S., Clifford, L.M., & Janicke, D.M. (2014). Disordered eating and health-related quality of life in overweight and obese children. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39(5), 552-561.

  1. Lynch, M.K., Barnes, M.J., Dimmitt, R.A., Martin, L, Rothenberg, M. E., Goodin, B. R. (2017) Disease-related predictors of health-related quality of life in youth with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, jsx 128.
  2. Barnes, M. J., Plaisance, E. P., Hanks, L., & Casazza, K. (2016). Pre-habilitation: Promoting exercise in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors for improving lifelong health. Cancer Research Frontiers, 2(1), 22-32.
  3. Barnes, M. J., Davis, K., Mancini, M., Ruffin, J., Simpson, T., & Casazza K. (2016). Setting adolescents up for success: Promoting a policy to delay school start times. Journal of School Health, 86(7), 552-557.
  4. Hensler, M., Wolfe, K., Lebensburger, J., Nieman, J., Barnes, M. J., Nolan, W., King, A., & Madan-Swain, A. (2015). Social skills and executive functions among youth with Sickle Cell Disease: A preliminary investigation. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 39(5): 493-500.
  5. Gardner, M, Barnes, M. J., Bopanna, S., Davis, C., Cotton, P., Heron, B., Henninger, A., Alva, E., Gleason, M., Whelan, K., Madan-Swain, A. (2015) Barriers to the use of psychosocial support services among adolescent and young adult survivors of pediatric cancer. Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology, 3(3): 112-116.
  6. Barnes, M. J., Pressey, J. G., Hensler, M., Adams, J. M., and Madan-Swain, A. (2014). Physician and nurse beliefs of Phase I trials in pediatric oncology. Cancer Nursing, 37(5), E48-52.
  7. Gilliam, M. B., Madan-Swain, A., Whelan, K., Tucker, D. C., Demark-Wahnefried, W., & Schwebel, D. C. (2013). Cognitive mediators of social influences on child and adolescent survivors’ physical activity. Psycho-Oncology, 22, 1361-1368.
  8. Gilliam, M.B., Madan-Swain, A., Adams, J. M., and Pressey, J. G. (2013). Physician perceptions and beliefs of Phase I trials in pediatric oncology. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 60(8), E67-E69.
  9. Gilliam, M. B., Madan-Swain, A., Whelan, K., Tucker, D. C., Demark-Wahnefried, W., & Schwebel, D. C. (2012). Social, demographic, and medical influences on physical activity in child and adolescent cancer survivors. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 37, 198-208.
  10. Madan-Swain, A., Hankins, R., *Gilliam, M. B., Ross, K., Reynolds, N., Milby, J., Schwebel, D. C. (2012). Applying the cube model to pediatric psychology: Development of research competency skills at the doctoral level. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 37, 136-148.
  11. Gilliam, M. B., Ross, K., Walsh, A., Klapow, J., Futch, L., Davis, D., Whelan, K., Madan-Swain, A. (2011). Healthy Heroes: A token economy to increase adherence with a community-based exercise intervention for childhood cancer survivors. Rehabilitation Oncology, 29, 16-22.
  12. Gilliam, M. B., & Schwebel, D. C. (2011). Physical activity in child and adolescent cancer survivors: A review. Health Psychology Review, 7, 92-110.
  13. Hocking, M., Barnes, M., Shaw, C., Madan-Swain, A., Saeed, S., Lochman, J. (2011). Executive Function and Attention Regulation as Predictors of Coping Success in Youth with Functional Abdominal Pain. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 36, 64-73.

Useful Links

UAB Department of Pediatrics
UAB Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Children's of Alabama
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) MyPlate


The REACH Lab is actively seeking to add individuals to join an exciting team of scientists. Dr. Gowey and Dr. Barnes are seeking a full-time graduate student to begin Fall 2020. Currently, Dr. Gowey is also seeking undergraduate research assistants as well as M.D. or Ph.D. students seeking research experience with a background in psychology, neuroscience, public health, exercise science, nutrition sciences, and medicine (encouraged but not required). For undergraduates, M.D./Ph.D. students, or others interested in joining the lab, please send an email and your CV to our lab manager, Caroline Keller. Graduate students interested in applying to work with Dr. Gowey or Dr. Barnes in Fall 2020 should contact them directly via email.