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Research Groups and Centers

IPR Fellow-Led Labs and Research Organizations

Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health

Faculty in IPR’s Cells to Society (C2S): The Center on Social Disparities and Health are forging new paths to create better understanding of, and improvement in, human health and social outcomes. They recognize that such an effort requires complex modeling of the interplay between biological processes and environmental influences. IPR anthropologist Thomas McDade directs C2S and many IPR faculty including IPR developmental psychologists Emma Adam and Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, IPR health psychologists Edith Chen and Greg Miller, and IPR anthropologists Christopher Kuzawa and Sera Young are part of C2S.  

Corners: The Center for Neighborhood Engaged Research & Science

Corners is co-directed by IPR sociologist Andrew Papachristos and IPR research professor Soledad McGrath. Corners is an incubator for new ways that faculty, experts, and students at Northwestern can engage communities, civic partners, and policy makers to address core problems facing the residents of Chicago and surrounding communities.  Specific projects and types of engagement will be linked by a focus how the social relationships among networks, geographic communities, and the constellation of groups, organizations, and civic partners affect what we feel, think, and do—and how understanding, building, and leveraging this sort of network-thinking can improve neighborhoods, the city, and our region.

C.O.A.S.T. (Contexts of Adolescent Stress and Thriving) Lab

The C.O.A.S.T. Lab, led by IPR developmental psychobiologist Emma Adam, studies how everyday life factors such as school, family, and peer relationships influence levels of stress, health, and well-being in children and adolescents. Adam and her colleagues try to trace the pathways by which stress “gets under the skin” to contribute to poor health and to affect behavioral, academic, and emotional development.

Chicago Research Data Center

The Chicago Research Data Center (CRDC) provides an opportunity for researchers to perform statistical analyses on non-public microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies. The center is a collaboration between the Census Bureau and a consortium consisting of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Destin Psychology Lab

Led by IPR psychologist Mesmin Destin, the Destin Psychology Lab investigates how social environments shape people’s identities, and the consequences this has for motivation, behaviors, and trajectories in life. In particular, the lab focuses on how socioeconomic resources come to influence young people’s academic outcomes. 

Development Early Education Policy Lab (DEEP)

The Development Early Education Policy Lab (DEEP), is led by IPR developmental psychologist Terri SabolThe DEEP lab applies developmental theory, psychological measurement, and advanced quantitative methods to pressing social policy issues that affect low-income children and families. Their goal is to generate dynamic theories of change, measure complex social processes, and analyze data with advanced statistical techniques to produce innovative, functional scholarship aimed at improving the lives of children living with economic hardship. 

Development of Identities in Cultural Environments (DICE) Lab

Led by IPR social psychologist Onnie Rogers, the Development of Identities in Cultural Environments (DICE) Lab conducts research on the development of identities and intersectionality among children and adolescents in diverse cultural environments. Their current projects explore research-related questions such as: How do children understand what it means to be White, to be a boy, to be Black girl? How do adolescents make sense of racial and gender stereotypes, and can we help them to resist or challenge these stereotypes? Where does intersectionality show up in youth’s identity narratives and experiences?

Infant and Child Development Center

IPR psychologist and early cognition expert Sandra Waxman directs the Infant and Child Development Center, a developmental laboratory that welcomes parents and their children from birth to age 6. Projects focus on how infants and young children acquire language and how they acquire core cognitive capacities, and how these two come together in the developing mind.

Foundations of Health Research Center

The Foundations of Health Research Center at Northwestern University is led by health psychologists Edith Chen and Greg Miller. Their research is aimed at exploring the relationship between psychological stress and physical health in both childhood and adulthood, with a particular emphasis on understanding how socioeconomic status contributes to health disparities.

Laboratory for Human Biology Research

The Laboratory for Human Biology Research at Northwestern University houses 1,500 square feet of wet-lab space and data-analysis tools and is led by IPR biological anthropologist Thomas McDade. Anthropologists Christopher Kuzawa and Sera Young, and anthropologist and IPR associate Katherine Amato are also members. It is one of a handful in the country that is fully equipped to support high-capacity analysis of biomarkers in human blood, saliva, and urine, as well as assessing body composition, energy expenditure, and cardiovascular function.

Migration and Fertility Group

IPR sociologist Julia Behrman leads the Migration and Fertility Group with Abigail Weitzman of UT Austin focusing on a major concern to society: How can women fulfill their desires either to get pregnant or to avoid it? It is often society’s most vulnerable women who face the greatest challenges in trying to manage their fertility. The group's findings will have important implications not only for scholarly knowledge, but also for understanding the policy and reproductive healthcare needs of migrant populations.  

Northwestern University Two-Generation Research Initiative

The Northwestern University Two-Generation Research Initiative examines the implementation and effectiveness of two-generation interventions. These programs link intensive, high-quality education, job training, and career-building programs for low-income parents with early childhood education services for their young children. IPR developmental psychologists P. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale and Terri Sabol and research professor Teresa Eckrich Sommer, and their research team are at the forefront of developing two-generation theory and programmatic design, as well as studying the implementation and effectiveness of model two-generation programs. 

Social Cognition and Intergroup Processes (SCIP) Laboratory

The Social Cognition and Intergroup Processes (SCIP) Laboratory is a social psychological science research lab utilizing experimental, descriptive, survey, online, and laboratory methods. IPR psychologist Sylvia Perry runs the SCIP lab. Their most recent work seeks to better understand how people think about, interact with, and talk to each other about other groups of people who are different from them. SCIP also investigates the positive and negative consequences of racial bias awareness.  

Statistics for Evidence-Based Policy and Practice (STEPP)

The STEPP Center was founded in 2019 to facilitate collaboration between statisticians, researchers, policymakers and practitioners using evidence to guide decisions, with a focus on education and the applied social sciences. Led by IPR statisticians  Larry Hedges and Beth Tipton, STEPP believes in a scientific approach to transform the social world and a practice-driven approach to advance science. STEPP evolved from the IPR’s Q-Center, and this expansion was made possible by the 2018 Yidan Prize for Education Research awarded to Larry Hedges.

Young Research Group for Maternal and Child Nutrition

Led by IPR anthropologist Sera Young, the Young Research Group seeks to better understand the determinants of healthy mothers and children across diverse geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic contexts. The group specifically focuses on household water insecurity, food insecurity, and pica—the consumption of non-food substances such as clay.

Water Insecurity Experiences (WISE) Scales Group

IPR anthropologist Sera Young and a group of over 50 scholars and practitioners published the 12-item Water Insecurity Experiences (WISE) Scales in 2019 to measure water access and use around the globe. The Water Insecurity Experiences (WISE) Scales are simple survey tools to quantify how often people around the world encounter problems with the access, use, and reliability (stability) of water for domestic use. They are changing the way the world measures water security, and are generating valuable data for research, policy, and investments.


Labs and Research Organizations Led by IPR Associates and/or Affiliated with IPR

Center for Advancing Research and Communication

The Center for Advancing Research and Communication (ARC) is an initiative of the National Science Foundation aimed at supporting education researchers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Center is headquartered at the NORC at the University of Chicago. IPR education researcher and statistician Larry Hedges is co-principal investigator.

Center for Communication and Public Policy

Led by communications scholar and IPR associate Eric Nisbet, the mission of the Center for Communication and Public Policy is to advance interdisciplinary and collaborative communication scholarship informing public policy across a variety of social, political, international, health, science, and environmental policy domains. CCPP organizes and encourages research projects within Northwestern University and other institutions around the world aimed at advancing and informing public policy. IPR faculty Olga Kamenchuk, Stephanie Edgerly, and Michelle Shumate are part of the center. It is housed in the School of Communication.

Center for Native American and Indigenous Research (CNAIR)

The Center for Native American Indigenous Research was established as Northwestern University’s primary institutional space dedicated to advancing scholarship, teaching, learning, and artistic or cultural practices related to Native American and Indigenous communities, priorities, histories, and lifeways. Founded in 2017, CNAIR operates as a hub for multi-disciplinary, collaborative work informed by and responsive to Native American and Indigenous nations, communities, and organizations. IPR sociologist Beth Redbird is an affiliated faculty member. 

Center for Reproductive Science

The Center for Reproductive Science works to enhance and coordinate research in the reproductive sciences at Northwestern, to promote the application of this research toward human welfare, and to optimize the training of future researchers, educators and clinicians in the reproductive sciences. IPR anthropologists Christopher Kuzawa and Thomas McDade are affiliated faculty. 

Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy

The mission of the Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy is to stimulate research, dialogue, and civic engagement about the relationship between diversity and democratic politics. IPR political scientists Tabitha Bonilla,  Daniel Galvin, James Druckman, Laurel Harbridge-Yong, Mary McGrath, and Chloe Thurston are all affiliated faculty, along with several IPR associates. 

Global Poverty Research Lab

The Global Poverty Research Lab uses empirical evidence to address the challenges of overcoming poverty and improve well-being in the developing world. Housed at the Buffett Institute for Global Studies, the lab is co-directed by economists and IPR associates Dean Karlan and Christopher Udry. IPR economists Lori Beaman  is also affiliated with the lab.

The Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM)

Directed by IPR associate and professor of medicine Ron Ackermann, the Institute for Public Health and Medicine (IPHAM) is the nexus of all public health activities at the Feinberg School of Medicine. With more than 600 members across 51 departments and divisions, it acts as a hub for investigators to find resources for innovation, collaborators across disciplines and training and career development opportunities. IPHAM’s 16 thematic centers, each with their own members and robust research portfolio, are all dedicated to impacting the community through their unique lens. IPR faculty participate in IPHAM as center leaders and researchers.

Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing (ISGMH)

The Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, or ISGMH, was founded in 2015 and is the first university-wide institute in the country focused exclusively on research to improve the health of the sexual and gender minority (SGM) community. Professor of medical social sciences and IPR associate Brian Mustanski directs ISGMH and associates Michelle Birkett and Gregory Phillips II are both part of the group. Several other IPR faculty are also affiliated. As a university-wide institute, their mission is to connect scholars from numerous disciplines with the SGM community to forge collaborations and stimulate innovative research to improve SGM health and wellbeing.

National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER)

CALDER, housed at the American Institutes of Research, conducts research on how teacher policies, government policies, community conditions, and socioeconomic conditions affect student outcomes. The center provides information for education policy development through data analysis of individual students and teachers over time. IPR labor economist Kirabo Jackson is associated with CALDER. 

Northwestern-Evanston Education Research Alliance (NEERA)

The Northwestern Evanston Education Research Alliance (NEERA) is a research-practice partnership supported by the Lewis-Sebring Family Foundation and the Spencer Foundation. The partnership, which brings together Evanston schools, their administrators, and Northwestern researchers from the School of Education and Social Policy and the Institute for Policy Research works to improve the lives of Evanston students by implementing practical research findings.

Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness

The Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE) brings together individuals interested in the use of causal inference to improve educational practice. SREE provides a forum to engage with a community of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and students united in a desire to advance education research. IPR education researcher and statistician Larry Hedges was a founding president of the society and also co-editor of the society’s Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness (JREE). IPR statistician Beth Tipton is also affiliated with SREE. 

Time-Sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS)

Supported by the National Science Foundation, TESS conducts general population experiments for investigators throughout the social sciences. It uses a well-respected, Internet survey platform, which captures internal validity. For successful proposals, TESS is free, allowing researchers to concentrate more on idea production and less on funding. IPR political scientist James Druckman is a co-principal investigator.

Urban Education Lab

Housed at the University of Chicago, the Urban Education Lab was founded in 2011 and is currently led by IPR economist Jonathan Guryan and University of Chicago economist Jens Ludwig. It aims to generate knowledge to help improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged children growing up in some of the most distressed urban neighborhoods in America and overseas. IPR developmental psychologist Emma Adam and IPR labor economist Kirabo Jackson are affiliated with the lab