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Elizabeth Amy Janke, PhD, an assistant professor of behavioral and social sciences at University of the Sciences, and former faculty member C. Alix Timko, PhD, are health psychologists. Both are working with individuals around weight related behavior change. Their work is vital, since the conditions they are investigating cause expensive health crises.

They conduct research on weight regulation and dysregulated eating. Dr. Janke focuses on obesity and pain, while Dr. Timko’s research focuses on eating disorders, specifically anorexia nervosa, in adolescents.

“Anorexia nervosa is one of the most fatal of psychological illnesses, and we have very few treatment options available to teens and their families,” Dr. Timko said.

Before leaving USciences, Dr. Timko had concluded a treatment development study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that focused on developing Acceptance-Based Separated Family Treatment (ASFT) for adolescents with anorexia and their families. The study incorporated effective components of the standard family treatment and added parent skills, while focusing on increasing healthy, adaptive, and flexible behavior in both the parents and adolescent.

Dr. Janke’s work focuses on health behaviors in the areas of pain and obesity—separately and combined—and includes both clinical and basic research. She is working to understand the behavioral mechanisms of chronic pain and to develop more effective treatments for pain. She also focuses on treatment of obesity—particularly when chronic pain is present. Dr. Janke is beginning a funded clinical trial at USciences to examine novel behavioral approaches to treating comorbid obesity and chronic pain.

“People like to talk about food. Obesity gets so much play in the media; however, these other conditions that are closely tied to obesity (and are causing an expensive health crisis) are also very important to study,” said Dr. Janke.