Research Projects

 
Prof. dr. Greet Cardon


Prof. Dr. Greet Cardon has a master degree in Physical Education and in Physical Therapy, and a PhD in Movement Sciences. She is full professor and supervises the research group. Her research focuses on understanding the determinants of physical activity, as well as identifying the most effective ways to promote physical activity in different age groups, with a main focus on children and adolescents.. She is and has been involved as work package leader in several European projects (e.g. Toybox, DEDIPAC, Feel4Diabetes, Smartlife) and leads the Interdisciplinary consortium "Ghent University Research on Aging Young (GRAY)"
Research interests: physical activity, sedentary behavior, children, youth, prevention, aging 

Prof. dr. Delfien Van Dyck

Delfien Van Dyck obtained a Master in Physical Education and Movement Sciences and a PhD in Physical Education and co-supervises the research group. Her research focuses on the determinants of physical activity and sedentary behavior in (older) adults, with specific attention to the importance of ‘walkable’ environments (parks, neighborhoods and the use of Virtual Reality in this research domain). Furthermore, she supervises the PhD research regarding theory-based interventions through eHealth and mHealth to promote an active lifestyle in adults and a PhD study regarding the use of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to identify the dynamic determinants of physical activity and sedentary behavior in older adults. She is or has been involved in two NIH projects: the IPEN Adult and IPEN Adolescent studies.

Prof.dr. Sebastien Chastin

Prof. Dr. Sebastien Chastin has a BSc in metrology, a Master in Rehabilitation Sciences and a PhD in Non-linear physics. He is a Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University. His research focuses on human movement behaviour. Understanding why, when and how people decide to move or not, is crucial to promoting healthy movement behaviour. At the moment, he is guest professor in the research group, with a specific focus on research.
Research interests: 24 hour movement behavior across the life span;  cocreation of physical activity intervention

 

Dr. Melanie Beeckman

Education: Master in Clinical Psychology;  PhD in Psychology – Ghent University
Supervisor: Prof. dr. Greet Cardon


Research Project(s): Melanie is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher on an FWO-funded research project with the central objective to develop a cognitively enriched walking program for older adults to prevent cognitive decline, a collaboration between Ghent University and KU Leuven. This walking program will enable older adults to train their brain while walking, which is expected to boost neuroplasticity. The project specifically examines the feasibility of the cognitively walking intervention by matching it as much as possible with the needs and preferences of older adults with the help of co-creation methods such as focus groups. Before this, Melanie used to work at the Ghent Health Psychology Lab where she obtained her doctoral degree in psychology on a research project on the role of psychological risk and resilience factors in adolescents with chronic pain. Beside her work as a researcher, she currently also works as a part-time psychologist in a community health center and a general practice in Ghent.
Research Interest: Active Ageing, Cognitive Function, Chronic Diseases (e.g., chronic pain, neurodegenerative diseases), Health Psychology, Resilience, Prevention, Primary Health Care

Dr. Ruben Brondeel

Education: PhD in Epidemiology – University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Greet Cardon, Prof. dr. Frank Witlox


Research project(s): Urban interventions in the physical environment (e.g. improved sidewalks) to promote active transport are powerful tools to increase physical activity levels. However, urban interventions are not under the control of the evaluating researchers, making the evaluations very challenging to design. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of simulated urban interventions on transport-related physical activity with agent-based simulation models. Complementary to evaluations of urban interventions, simulations of such interventions can provide crucial information for transport planning and public health. The simulation models will be based on data collected in Ghent, Belgium.
Research interests: Active transport, simulation models, machine learning, GPS and accelerometer data 

Dr. Sofie Compernolle

Education: Master in Physical Education and Movement Sciences – PhD in Health Sciences  
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Greet Cardon and Prof. dr. Delfien Van Dyck


Research project(s): The research of Sofie focuses on sedentary behavior in adults and older adults. During her PhD, Sofie examined the socio-ecological determinants of sedentary behavior in adults. Currently, she works as a postdoctoral researcher on the Stand Up, Stay Top project. The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an eHealth intervention aimed at the reduction of sedentary behaviour in older adults.  During this project, the realist methodology will be used.
Research interests: Sedentary behaviour, older adults, e- & mHealth interventions, self-monitoring, user engagement, realist methodology

dr. Lieze Mertens

Education: MSc in Physical Education and Movement Sciences, MSc in Health Education and Health Promotion in 2012, PhD in Health Sciences
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Delfien Van Dyck, Prof. dr. Benedicte Deforche


Research project(s): Lieze has expertise in the association between the physical environment and active transportation. Her PhD project used manipulated photographs to study those relationships. Currently, she is working on a project aimed to identify critical environmental street characteristics influencing the safety and appeal for active transport by manipulations of virtual reality 3D walk/cycle through environments.
Research interests: Active transport; Physical environment; Cycling; Micro-environment 

Marga Decraene

Education: Master of Science in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences – Main Subject Audiology & Master of Science in Health Education and Health Promotion
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Greet Cardon and Prof. dr. Marieke De Craemer


Research project(s): Marga studies 24-hour movement behaviors (physical activity, sedentary behavior and sleep) in preschoolers with overweight. The aim of her project is two-fold. First, Marga will co-create an intervention targeting parenting practices with parents of preschoolers with overweight. The aim of the intervention is to increase preschoolers with overweights´ compliance with the new WHO 24-hour movement behavior guidelines. Second, Marga will evaluate the different intervention components using a Multiphase Optimization Strategy (MOST). In the first phase, Marga will look at which components have the largest effect. In the second phase Marga will study which implementation duration is most optimal. After this project, Marga aims to test the intervention using an RCT (phase 3 of MOST).
Research interests: Health promotion, Prevention, Intervention strategies and mechanism, Physical activity, Sedentary behavior, Sleep, Overweight, Preschoolers, 24-hour movement behavior, co-creation

Julie Delobelle

Education: Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences – major Neurosciences, Master of Science in Health Promotion
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Delfien Van Dyck, Prof. dr. Geert Crombez and dr. Femke De Backere


Research project(s): Julie’s PhD will focus on the dynamic nature of individual and environmental determinants of physical activity in older adults using e- and mHealth. During the first phase of the project, the underlying dynamic mechanisms (i.e. time and context dependency) for the determinants for physical activity in older adults will be investigated, taking into account the individual and environmental factors. This will be executed using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) in an observational study involving repeated sampling of behavior in a natural setting. In the second phase, this information will be used to examine how behavioral changes can be initiated, while considering the interaction with the environment. To do so, micro-randomized trials will be carried out. The ultimate goal of these micro-randomized trials is to find out which intervention is most effective for whom under which circumstances.
Research interests: Health Promotion, Physical activity, Prevention, e- and mHealth, Just-inTime adaptive interventions


dr. Julie Latomme

Education: Master of Science in Experimental and Theoretical Psychology at Ghent University
Supervisors: Prof. Greet Cardon


Research project(s): Currently, Julie is working on her FWO-funded research project (“Run Daddy Run”) aiming to develop and implement a multicomponent eHealth lifestyle intervention for fathers and their children, in order to prevent overweight and obesity in the family. More specifically, the intervention aims to increase co-physical activity (i.e. father and child engaging together in physical activity) and limit the time fathers and children spend together on watching TV through (inter-)active father-child sessions and an online (website) component.
Research interests: overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes, prevention, intervention, physical activity, sedentary behaviour, men, fathers, children.

 

Elien Lebuf

Education: Master in Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Graduation Option: Musculoskeletal Therapies - Sports Physiotherapy
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Delfien Van Dyck, Dr. Jelle Van Cauwenberg and Dr. Femke De Backere
Research project(s): During her PhD, Elien will focus on the development of individualised interventions to reduce sedentary behavior in older adults, using e- and mHealth. During the first phase of Elien’s research, the underlying dynamic mechanisms (i.e. time and context dependency) of individual and environmental determinants of sedentary behavior in older adults will be investigated. In the second phase, this information will be used to examine how behavioral changes can be initiated by means of an e-  and mHealth approach, where the interaction between the individual and his/her dynamic environment will be an essential aspect.
Research interests: Health Promotion, Sedentary Behavior, Prevention, Chronic Conditions

Laura Maenhout

Education: Master of Educational Sciences, Main Subject Special Education, Disability Studies and Behavioral Disorders (Ghent University)
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Greet Cardon, Prof. dr. Geert Crombez & dr. Ann DeSmet
Research project(s): Laura is involved in the MOV-E-STAR project. This is a project aimed at promoting mental health of adolescents (12-15 years) via healthy lifestyles (more exercise, less sitting, daily breakfast intake and sufficient sleep). By focusing on healthy lifestyles that they can tackle in their daily lives, this project supports the empowerment and social inclusion of youth, without barriers to professional care, and with great social health benefits as a result. The intervention will consist of three integrated components:

  • a storyline or 'health narrative' (Youtube videos),
  • a chatbot,
  • a mobile app that supports self-regulation.
    Her PhD will focus on special target groups (adolescents from lower SES families).

Research interests: Mental health, adolescents, vulnerable target groups, healthy lifestyles, e- & mHealth, elaboration likelihood model (ELM)

Iris MaesIris Maes

Education: Master of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences – Main Subject Audiology, Master of Health Education and Health Promotion
Supervisors: Prof. Greet Cardon and Prof. Delfien Van Dyck
Research project(s): The research project of Iris focuses on the determinants of physical activity in older adults (65+). In the first phase of her PhD, Iris will concentrate on capturing the dynamic nature of the psychosocial determinants of physical activity in older adults. This will be carried out by using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA). EMA is a relatively novel monitoring strategy to assess behaviour and its determinants at the moment they occur in a natural setting. In a later phase, small experiments will be conducted, to examine for example the experiences of older adults with receiving notifications to encourage them to be physically active, delivered through a smartphone application.
Research interests: Health Promotion, Prevention, Interventions, Physical Activity, EMA

Pieter-Jan Marent

Education: Master of Science in Physical Education and Movement Sciences – Research in Biomedical Kinesiology
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Greet Cardon and Prof. dr. Jannique van Uffelen
Research project(s): Pieter-Jan’s research aims to prevent cognitive decline in older adults. Therefore, his project focuses on the development and effectiveness of a cognitively enriched walking program. For the intervention development, he uses co-creation methods in order to optimally match the program with the needs and preferences of the end users. Afterwards, he will investigate the effects of the newly developed intervention on cognitive and physical functioning. For this project, he collaborates with Arwen Vangilbergen and dr. Melanie Beeckman.
Research interests: physical activity, sedentary behavior, promotion of physical activity, older adults, active ageing

Carmen Peuters

Education: Master in Clinical and Health Psychology, specialization: Children and Adolescents (KU Leuven), Master in Research in Psychology Applied to Health Sciences, specialization: Sports and Health Psychology (UAB, Spain)
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Geert Crombez, Prof. dr. Greet Cardon and dr. Ann DeSmet (ULB, Belgium)
Research project(s): Carmen is working on the MOV-E-STAR project, a two-year research project funded by the Flemish Government. The aim of the project is to promote mental health by encouraging youth (12 – 15 years) to adopt healthy lifestyles. Specifically, the project will focus on improving physical activity, daily breakfast intake, sufficient sleep and reducing sedentary behaviour. By means of participatory development with adolescents and stakeholders, an intervention is being created including a mobile app, a chatbot, and a narrative in the form of short video clips. The intervention will be evaluated in a group-RCT and user feedback will be used to optimize the programme for future implementation.
Research interests: Mental health promotion, preventive healthcare, positive psychology, healthy lifestyles, self-regulation, mHealth, stress- and emotion regulation 

Helen Schroé

Education: Master in Physical Education and Movement Sciences
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij and Prof. dr. Geert Crombez
Research project(s): The aim of Helene’s PhD project is to evaluate an e- and m-Health intervention ‘MyPlan 2.0’ (website and app) to promote physical activity and to reduce sedentary behaviour in adults. She uses self-regulation theory to guide people in their behaviour change process. More specifically, Helene aims to investigate which self-regulation techniques determine the effectiveness of the e- and m-Health intervention. Furthermore, she will evaluate the effect of the e- & m-Health intervention on behaviour change in an ecologically valid setting.
Research interests: Health promotion; E- & mHealth; Physical activity; Sedentary behaviour; Self-regulation theory

 

Flore De VylderFlore De Vylder

 

Education: Master of Science Sports Nutrition – Bachelor Nutrition and Dietetics – Postgraduate FODMAPs at IBS
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Delfien Van Dyck, Prof. dr. Greet Cardon, Prof. dr. Lien Goossens and dr. Lieze Mertens

Research project(s): In her PhD, Flore investigates the individual and contextual determinants (e.g. emotions, environment, physical activity) of food cravings in overweight adults. In a first phase of the research, Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) will be used to determine these determinants. This technique consists of repeated measurements in the natural environment of the subject. In the second phase of the doctoral research, the collected data will be used to develop an mHealth intervention. The aim is to use this application to examine how behavioral change in food cravings can be initiated.
Research interests: Health promotion, Nutrition, Prevention, mHealth, Obesity, Food cravings

Evelien IlianoEvelien Iliano

Education: Master of Science in Physical Education and Movement Sciences – Physical Activity, Fitness and Health
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Greet Cardon and dr. Melanie Beeckman

Research Project(s): The project of Evelien focuses on the development and evaluation of an intergenerational movement program for grandparents and their grandchildren. This program will be developed using a co-creation approach, which means that all participants will be actively involved in its development. As a result, they will have a great influence on the process and outcome of the program and it will meet the needs and preferences of the target population. The aim of the project is on the one hand to develop an evidence-based program theory based on co-creation and on the other hand to investigate whether physical activity of both generations is improved by doing activities together. Evelien will work closely with Julie and Melanie, who will focus within this project on cognitively enriched physical activity and the psychosocial well-being of grandparents and grandchildren.
Research interests: Movement Promotion, Physical Activity, Older adults, Children, Intergenerational, Co-creation

Pauline HotterbeexPauline Hotterbeex

Education: Master in Clinical Psychology - specialization in Biological Psychology (VUB)
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Greet Cardon and Prof. Dr. Jannique van Uffelen

Research project(s): Pauline's research is aimed at the prevention of cognitive decline in older adults. More specifically, she focuses on cognitively enriched walking interventions for older adults (65+), in which the older adults perform cognitive exercises while walking to train their brain. This project explores the added value of combining physical activity with cognitive exercises on the cognitive functioning of older adults. This research aims to create a feasible and enjoyable real-life intervention. Older adults will be closely involved in the process of creating the walking program, in order to match it as much as possible with their needs and wishes. This project is a collaboration between Ghent University and KU Leuven.
Research interests: Older Adults, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Healthy & Active Ageing, Cognitive Functioning, Prevention, Intervention, Health Psychology

Lea DelfmannLea Delfmann

Education: Research Master in psychology (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) – major in clinical psychology, minor in brain and cognition
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Maïté Verloigne, Prof. dr. Benedicte Deforche, Prof. dr. Greet Cardon, Prof. dr. Simon Hunter (Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland)

Research Project: In her doctoral project, Lea aims to develop, implement, and evaluate a co-created school-based intervention to promote healthy sleep and mental wellbeing in adolescents. During this project, an existing intervention will be scaled to another location and another context. In the first phase (the co-creation process), the intervention will be scaled with a special focus on mental wellbeing related to COVID-19. In the second phase, an effect analysis and a process analysis will be conducted in order to empirically establish the effectiveness of the intervention. This project is a component of the European ITN project Health CASCADE.

Janneke de BoerJanneke de Boer
 

Education: Master Social and Organisational Psychology (Utrecht University, The Netherlands), Bachelor European Public Health (Maastricht University, The Netherlands), Bachelor Health Sciences (Maastricht University, The Netherlands)
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Greet Cardon, Prof. dr. Maïté Verloigne, Prof. dr. Benedicte Deforche and Asst. Prof. dr. Teatske Altenburg (Amsterdam UMC, The Netherlands)

Research Project(s): Janneke’s PhD is part of the European ITN project Health CASCADE that focuses on evidence-based co-creation in public health. Her research aims to investigate the involvement of teachers within school-based interventions. Janneke will conduct a qualitative study in which teachers, who previously participated in school-based intervention studies using a co-creational approach, will be interviewed to explore how they experienced the intervention and what could have been done to improve it. Based on the results of this study a protocol will be developed. This protocol will contain information about how to successfully adopt a co-creational approach with teachers. Afterwards, a school-based intervention focusing on promoting health behaviour in adolescents will be developed, implemented and evaluated, using a co-creation approach with teachers.
Research interests: co-creation, health promotion, healthy lifestyles, behaviour change, interpersonal relationships, group behaviour

 
Amber Van PuyveldeAmber Van Puyvelde

Education: Master of Science in Health Promotion
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Benedicte Deforche, Prof. dr. Delfien Van Dyck

Research project(s): Amber researches features of parks that may or may not motivate older adults aged 65 years or older to visit a park and be physically and socially active there. In the first phase of the PhD project, the current habits regarding park visitation and park-based activities among older adults will be explored. In addition, older adults will be asked about which specific park features they prefer. In the second phase of the project, specific plans for the renewal of the Meulestede-Noord park will be developed in close collaboration with older local residents. These plans for park renewal will then first be tested and evaluated in a virtual environment.
Research interests: health promotion, prevention, healthy ageing, physical activity, elderly, environment

Yafei YueYafei Yue

Education: Master in Urban Planning-specialization in Urban Environments and Health (WHU, China)
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Delfien Van Dyck, Prof. dr. Greet Cardon and Prof. dr. Dongfeng Yang (DUT, China)

Research project(s): Yafei works on the project that aims to promote older adults’ health by intervening in the urban built and natural environments, taking physical activity, social cohesion and well-being as the pathways. He explores the effects of streetscape metrics measured by machine learning on perception in older adults and verifies indirect pathways between them. He contrasts the benefits of multi-perspectives green space and blue space on health. Furthermore, he will propose the exercisable intervention measures for urban environments to promote the healthy and active ageing. This project is a collaboration between Ghent University and Dalian University of Technology.
Research interests: Health promotion, older adults, green space, healthy ageing, intervention, health psychology

Fien De BlockFien De Block

Education: Master of Science in Movement and Sports Sciences — Physical Activity, Fitness and Health
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Delfien Van Dyck, Prof. dr. Benedicte Deforche, Prof. Dr. Geert Crombez and dr. Louise Poppe

Research Project(s): Fien is working on a project that will examine whether increased physical activity (PA) has a positive impact on daily cognitive functioning in older adults and whether this impact is mediated by improved sleep and mental well-being. In the first part of the project, PA, cognitive functioning, sleep and mental well-being will be registered daily by the elders. Next, they will participate in the MyDayPlan intervention for several weeks, during which they will be encouraged to be more physically active. They will keep registering PA, cognitive functioning, sleep and mental well-being, which will then demonstrate how these parameters influence each other.
Research interests: health promotion, physical activity, older adults, sleep, mental well-being, cognitive function, m-health

Benjamin BeirensBenjamin Beirens

Education: MSc in physical education and movement science, sportmanagement (Ghent University)
Supervisors: Prof. dr. Delfien Van Dyck, dr. Lieze Mertens

Research: The project of Benjamin focuses on creating a safe and inviting environment for walking and cycling by means of virtual reality (3D). Firstly, the association of environmental perceptions, and motor (cycling)skills with invitingness of will be investigated. Thereby, it will also be examined how realistically the participants perceive the virtual reality environment. Finally, this research aims to create an ideal (cf. safe and inviting) environment based on feedback of the participants gathered through the thinking out loud method.
Research interests: physical activity, virtual reality, physical environment, active transport

Laura Van de VeldeLaura Van de Velde

Education: Master of Science in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences, Main subject Audiology - Master of Science in Health Promotion.
Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Greet Cardon & Dr. Sofie Compernolle

Research project: Laura's project focuses on sedentary behavior in older adults by using the realist methodology. In a first phase, the current evidence on interventions concerning sedentary behavior in this population will be compiled into a 'realist review'. This way, we want to gain a deeper understanding of how, why, and in which circumstances mHealth interventions aimed at the reduction of older adults’ sedentary behavior work. Based on the findings from the realist review, an mHealth application will be developed and empirically evaluated by using a realist evaluation. The overall aim of this project is to gain insight into the underlying mechanisms, in relationship to the context, that influence older adults’ sedentary behavior and therefore contribute to the development of future mHealth interventions.
Research interests: Sedentary Behavior, Older adults, mHealth, Health Promotion, Healthy & Active ageing, Behavioral Change