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Jeff Huang And Colleagues Receive An NIH R01 Grant For Predicting Mental Health Issues From Social Data

Assistant Professor Jeff Huang of Brown University's Department of Computer Science (Brown CS) has just received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Project Grant (R01) and two smaller NIH grants as a Co-Investigator with a team of clinical researchers from Rhode Island Hospital. The original and historically oldest grant mechanism used by NIH, the R01 provides support for health-related research and development. Jeff and his colleagues' new research aims to predict mental health issues from naturally-occurring social data, mostly extracted from people's mobile phones.

Sochiatrist starts with a social extractor that automatically dumps and anonymizes social communication data (like texting and Facebook messages), and combines it with biomarker data and qualitative interviews done by clinical researchers to find correlations. Next, it predicts whether problems of depression, trauma, non-suicidal self-injury, or cyberbullying are likely to reoccur in the future, and whether an intervention can help. The project is in collaboration with clinical psychiatrists from Rhode Island Hospital, who are collecting other forms of biomarker data like heart rate, galvanic skin response, and psychiatric data.

The team at Brown University includes Research Assistant Adrienne Tran, who recently graduated from Brown, and undergraduate students in computer science who are helping out with the development.

For more information, please click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communication Outreach Specialist Jesse C. Polhemus.