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Biobehavioral Shared Resource


Cheryl Rock, PhD, RD
Professor of Medicine
Phone: 858-822-1126, E-mail:


Dorothy Sears, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Phone: 858-534-8898, E-mail:

Noe Crespo, PhD
Assistant Professor; Division of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science 
San Diego State University


For laboratory analysis:
Huong Thien Nguyen, PhD, CPT1
Phone: 858-822-1127, Fax: 858-822-1497, E-mail:
Location: 3855 Health Sciences Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-080

For dietary assessment and counseling:
Christine Zoumas, MS, RD
Senior Dietitian and HS Instructor
Phone: 858-822-6161, Fax 858-822-6166; E-mail:
Location: 3855 Health Sciences Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0901

For physical activity and body composition assessment:
David Wing, MS Telephone: 858-534-9315, Fax: 858-534-9404, E-mail:
Location: Qualcomm Institute (CALIT2), 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0811


This Shared Resource provides services in the specialized disciplines of diet and physical activity to a broad range of investigators who have training in general behavioral, social, and medical sciences.

The Biobehavioral Shared Resource (BBSR) provides services in four areas:

  • Dietary assessment and monitoring, including the collection and analysis of dietary data using a variety of approaches, and the development of food content databases and biomarker/biochemical laboratory analysis
  • Behavioral/lifestyle coaching and intervention-related services targeting diet, physical activity, and weight loss
  • Physical activity and sedentary behavior assessment including objective measurement of physical activity and sedentary behavior, using accelerometers and other state-of-the-art tools and technologies
  • Body composition analysis, including regional fat and lean mass, using dual energy x-ray technology

In addition to these specific services, the BBSR also provides consultative services relevant to diet and physical activity assessment, assistance with the development of feasible methods of assessment and intervention, and operational advice, training and guidance to assist in the development of research proposals and interpretation of findings.

Service Profile

Dietary assessment and monitoring:

  • Collection and analysis of telephone-based dietary recalls
  • Collection and analysis of food frequency and dietary screener data
  • Web-based technologies, including the NCI Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour dietary recall (ASA24) and the Diet History Questionnaire (DHQ), providing assistance to researchers as they integrate this approach to dietary data collection into study protocols, including training in use and in the interpretation of data
  • Food content database development
  • Biomarker development and analysis, including isothiocyanates, curcumin, isoflavones, phenolics, flavonoids, anthocyanins, tocopherols, carotenoids, vitamin D, retinoids, malondialdehyde, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), glutathione, coenzyme Q10, homocysteine, lipids, and substrates

Behavioral/lifestyle coaching and intervention-related services, targeting diet modification, physical activity, and weight loss:

  • Telephone counseling intervention, using a computer-assisted structured counseling protocol
  • Intervention communications using Skype and alternate modalities
  • Consultation and assistance with establishing social media components of follow-up interactions
  • Assist researchers in study designs involving diet, physical activity and weight loss behavioral counseling interventions

Physical activity and sedentary behavior assessment:

  • Collection and analysis of 24-hour objective physical activity and sedentary behavior patterns using accelerometry
  • Collection and analysis of geolocation data to precisely characterize type and context of physical activity
  • Collection, analysis, and interpretation of metabolic measurements using indirect calorimetry to determine resting energy expenditure (RMR) and/or maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max)
  • Consultation and assistance with design, implementation, and analysis of physical activity interventions, including consultation and staff training to assist researchers using wireless devices to gather data on physical activity and sedentary behavior in free-living individuals

Body composition measurement:

  • Assessment of body fat, lean tissue mass, and whole body bone density using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA)