I am currently a Clinical Research Scientist at Meru Health where I research how we can use high quality, real-world, and ethical research to guide the refinement and scalability of evidence-based digital mental health interventions in order to lower barriers to care and provide more equitable treatment.
Previously, I worked as a postdoctoral Scholar at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill where I workied on the Wifi Initiative to study digital health using wearable and smartphone devices to identify and monitor the emergence and co-occurance of psychopathology and physical health disorders across adolescence.
I received my Ph.D from the University of Oregon where I worked in The Center for Digital Mental Health and the Adolescent Development and Psychopathology Team (ADAPT) Lab. I also completed my Psychology Residency at the University of Washington Medical School in Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Broadly, I study how close relationships modify the physiological mechanistic pathways between psychopathology and subsequent intermediate physical health outcomes (i.e., cardiac psychophysiology, inflammation, cortisol, and telomere length). In addition, I utilize mobile, wearable, and smart home technologies in order to quantify digital phenotypes by continuously indexing, in real-time, individual-level data in an unobtrusive and ecologically valid manner.
Digital Health: Assessment
Passive Sensing with Wearables, Smartphones, and Smart Home Devices
I use existing mobile, wearable, and smart home technologies in order to quantify digital phenotypes by continuously indexing, in real-time, individual-level data in an unobtrusive and ecologically valid manner.
The ADAPT Lab, through The Center for Digital Mental Health, is currently working on numerous projects that are passively collecting heart rate, physical activity, sleep, GPS, text message content, selfie pictures, voice, and social network data from clinical and non-clinical populations.
Digital Health: Interventions
Digital Mental Health Interventions
I study how we can use high quality and ethical research to guide the refinement and scalability of evidence-based digital mental health treatments that lower barriers to care and provide more equitable treatment.
Relationships, Mental Health, and Disease Mechanisms
Relationships as Moderators of Psychopathology-Disease Comorbidity
I study how close relationships modify the physiological mechanistic pathways between psychopathology and subsequent intermediate physical health outcomes (i.e., cardiac psychophysiology, inflammation, cortisol, and telomere length). Methodologies include clinical diagnostic interviews, psychophysiology, and salivary collection of various biological markers including inflammation, cortisol, and telomere length.
Publications in Peer Review Journal
Nelson, B. W., Flannery, J. E., Flournoy, J., Duell, N., Prinstein, M. J., Telzer, E. (2021). Concurrent and Prospective Associations Between Fitbit Wearable Derived RDoC Arousal and Regulation Constructs and Adolescent Internalizing Symptoms. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Forman-Hoffman, V. L., Nelson, B. W., Ranta, K., Nazander, A., Hilgert, O., Quevedo, J. (2021). Significant reduction in depressive symptoms among patients with moderately-severe to severe depressive symptoms after participation in a therapist-supported, evidence-based mobile health program delivered via a smartphone app. Internet Interventions.
Nelson, B. W., Low, C., Jacobson, N. C., Arean, P., Torous, J., & Allen, N. B. (2020). Guidelines for Wrist-Worn Wearable Assessment of Heart Rate in Biobehavioral Research. Nature Digital Medicine. 3, 90.
Nelson, B.W., Pettitt, A., Flannery, J., Allen, N.B. (2020). Rapid assessment of psychological and epidemiological correlates of COVID-19 concern, financial strain, and health-related behavior change in a large online sample. PLoS ONE. 15(11): e0241990.
Nelson, B. W., Sheeber, L., Pfeifer, J. H., & Allen, N. B. (2020). Psychobiological Markers of Allostatic Load in Depressed and Non-Depressed Mothers and Their Adolescent Offspring. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Barendse, M.E.A., Vijayakumar, N., Byrne, M.L., Flannery, J.E., Cheng, T.W., Flournoy, J.C., Nelson, B.W., Cosme, D., Mobasser, A., Chavez, S.J., Hval, L., Brady, B., Nadel, H., Helzer, A., Shirtcliff, E.A., Allen, N.B., and Pfeifer, J.H. (2020). Study Protocol: Transitions in Adolescent Girls (TAG). Front. Psychiatry.
Nelson, B.W., Bernstein, R., Allen, N.B., Laurent, H. (2019). The Quality of Early Infant-Caregiver Relational Attachment and Longitudinal Changes in Infant Inflammation Across 6 months. Developmental Psychobiology.
Nelson, B.W. & Allen, N.B. (2019). Maternal Stress and Social Support Prospectively Predict Infant Inflammation. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
Nelson, B.W. & Allen, N.B. (2019). Accuracy of Consumer Wearable Heart Rate Measurement During an Ecologically Valid 24-Hour Period: Intraindividual Validation Study. JMIR mHealth and uHealth. 7(3):e10828.
Allen, N.B., Nelson, B.W., Brent, D., & Auerbach, R.P. (2019). Short term prediction of Suicidal thoughts and behaviors: Can recent developments in technology and computational science provide a breakthrough? Journal of Affective Disorders.
Nelson, B.W. & Allen, N.B. (2018). Extending the Passive Sensing Toolbox: Utilizing Smart Home Technology in Psychological Science. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13(6), 718–733.
Nelson, B.W., Allen, N.B., Laurent, H. (2018). Infant HPA Axis as a Potential Mechanism Linking Maternal Mental Health and Infant Telomere Length. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 88, 38-46.
Nelson, B. W., Byrne, M. L., Simmons, J. G., Whittle, S., Schwartz, O. S., O'Brien‐Simpson, N. M., Walsh, K., Reynolds, E., & Allen, N. B. (2018). Adolescent temperament dimensions as stable prospective risk and protective factors for salivary C‐reactive protein. British Journal of Health Psychology, 23(1), 186-207.
Horn, S. R., Long, M. M., Nelson, B. W., Allen, N. B., Fisher, P. A., & Byrne, M. L. (2018). Replication and reproducibility issues in the relationship between C-reactive protein and depression: A systematic review and focused meta-analysis. Brain, Behavior and Immunity.
Laurent, H., Goodman, S. H., Stowe, Z. N., Halperin, M., Khan, F., Wright, D., Nelson, B.W., Newport, J., Ritchie, J.C., Monk, C., & Knight, B. (2018). Course of ante-and postnatal depressive symptoms related to mothers’ HPA axis regulation. Journal of abnormal psychology, 127(4), 404.
Nelson, B.W., Byrne, M., Simmons, J. G., Whittle, S., Schwartz, O.S., Reynolds, E.C., O’Brien-Simpson, N.M., Sheeber, L., & Allen, N.B. (2017). Adolescent Sympathetic Activity and Salivary C-Reactive Protein: The Effects of Parental Behavior. Health Psychology. 36(10), 955-965.
Nelson, B. W., Byrne, M. L., Sheeber, L., & Allen, N. B. (2017). Does Context Matter? A Multi-Method Assessment of Affect in Adolescent Depression Across Multiple Affective Interaction Contexts. Clinical Psychological Science, 5(2), 239-258.
Nelson, B.W., Laurent, S.M., Bernstein, R., Laurent, H.K. (2016). Perspective-Taking Influences Autonomic Attunement Between Partners During Conflict Discussion. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 34(2), 139-165.
Laurent, H. K., Hertz, R., Nelson, B.W., & Laurent, S. M. (2016). Mindfulness during romantic conflict moderates the impact of negative partner behaviors on cortisol responses. Hormones and Behavior, 79, 45-51.
Laurent, H. K., Laurent, S. M., Lightcap, A., & Nelson, B. W. (2016). How Situational Mindfulness During Conflict Stress Relates to Well-Being. Mindfulness, 7(4), 909-915.
Bernstein, R. E., Laurent, S. M., Nelson, B. W., & Laurent, H. K (2015). Perspective-taking induction mitigates the effect of partner attachment avoidance on self-partner overlap. Personal Relationships, 22(2), 356-367.
Laurent, H. K., Laurent, S. M., Nelson, B.W., Wright, D. B., & Sanchez, D. A. (2015). Dispositional Mindfulness Moderates the Effect of a Brief Mindfulness Induction on Physiological Stress Responses. Mindfulness, 6(5) 1-9.
Baldini, L., Parker, S. C., Nelson, B. W., & Siegel, D. J. (2014). The clinician as neuroarchitect: The importance of mindfulness and presence in clinical practice. Clinical Social Work Journal, 42(3), 218-227.
Nelson, B.W., Sheeber, L, Pfeifer, J., & Allen, N.B. (Preprint). Affective and Physiological Reactivity in Depressed and Non-Depressed Mothers and Their Adolescent Offspring.
Nelson, B.W., Massing-Schaffer, M., Prinstein, M. (2020). Youth Suicide. In Hitching, R, ABCT Briefing Book on Suicide.
Allen, N.B. & Nelson, B.W. (2018). Emotion Regulation Development from Childhood to Adolescence: Regulation of What and Regulation for Whom? In Pamela M. Cole & Tom Hollenstein (Eds.), Emotion Regulation: A Matter of Time. Taylor and Francis Publishing.
Parker, S.C., Nelson, B.W., Epel, E.S., & Siegel, D.J. (2015). The science of presence: A central mediator of the interpersonal benefits of mindfulness. In K.W. Brown, J.D. Creswell, & R.M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of Mindfulness: Theory and Research. New York: Guilford Press.
Nelson, B.W., Parker, S.C., & Siegel, D.J. (2014). Interpersonal neurobiology, mindsight, and the triangle of well-being: The mind, relationships & the brain. In E. Tronick, B. Perry, & K. Brandt (Eds.), Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health. Washington, D.C., American Psychiatric Publishing.
2019 - 2020
I previously completed my Psychology Residency at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Behavioral Medicine. Here I worked with patients exhibiting comorbid mental and physical health problems and provided behavioral medicine interventions with diverse populations including those dealing with extreme physical trauma (e.g., accidents), organ transplants, burns, stroke, cancer, homelessness, chronic health conditions, substance abuse, rehabilitation, and transitions back to daily living.
I previously worked as a clinical neuropsychology practicum student receiving specialty training in neuropsychological assessment of mild traumatic brain injury in a sports medicine outpatient hospital.
Prior to my current position, I completed practicum in general pediatric neuropsychological assessment with children 4-18 years old in an outpatient hospital. In this position I worked as part of an interdisciplinary team that consisted of a neuropsychologist, social worker, speech language pathologist, occupational therapist, and developmental pediatrician.
I have been trained in the following neuropsychology batteries:
General Intelligence Testing Batteries
-Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS)
-Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)
-Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI)
-Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI)
-Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS)
-California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT)
-California Verbal Learning Test- Child (CVLT-C)
-Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning (WRAML)
-A Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment (NEPSY): Memory for Designs Subscale
-Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM)
-Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS)
-Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)
-Conners Continuous Performance Test (CPT)
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
I have completed a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) practicum for internalizing disorders. This included seeing 18-75 year old individual adult clients for anxiety and mood-related disorders as well as complicated grief.
I have been trained in the following diagnostic tests:
-Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-5 (SCID-5)
-Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (K-SADS)
-Diagnostic Interview Schedule for Children (DISC)
I have completed practicum training in both Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). This work included two 8-week therapy groups of clients 18-70 years old.
I have privately practiced samatha/concentration and vipassana/insight meditation for 8 years.
Industry and Consultation
Clinical Research Scientist
2021 - Present
- I work as a research scientist using high quality and ethical research to guide the refinement and scalability of evidence-based digital mental health treatments.
Oregon Research Institute
2020 - Present
- Providing electrocardiogram and impedance cardiography psychophysiology consultation for an NIH funded study.
Data Analyst Consultant
2020 - 2021
- Provided descriptive big data analyses on over 88,000 subjects and 300 variables spanning medical conditions and mental health.
- Translated big data into digestible and actionable information.
© 2017-2021 Benjamin Nelson