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The Biobehavioral Laboratory Research Training Program: Observational Methods, Physiology, and Salivary Bioscience


Have you seen the calls for biobehavioral methods from funding agencies like the National Institutes of Health? Have you considered using these methods in your research but wondered how to get started? Consider joining us in Chapel Hill, NC in August 2017!

The UNC School of Nursing Biobehavioral Laboratory will present a training program on observational and physiologic research methods and their integration on Monday, August 7th followed by an overview of salivary bioscience on Tuesday, August 8th.

On Monday, we will spend the morning on primary considerations in the use of observational methods of human behavior, software/hardware and analytic considerations, and exemplars of behavioral studies involving both behavior alone and the synchronous integration of behavior and physiology. In the afternoon, we will turn our attention to physiologic methods (primarily involving the autonomic nervous system), including subject preparation, instrumentation, data acquisition, and data analysis. Throughout the day, we will discuss applications of these methods in the study of human behavior and health and help you do the same.

Tuesday's focus on salivary bioscience will be to help you understand how hormones can be used to measure stress and health. We will discuss how to collect saliva accurately and see a demonstration of these methods. By the end of the day, you will have a better understanding of:

  • The practical aspects of saliva sample handling, collection, and study design
  • Sample processing and the basics of salivary enzyme immunoassay
  • Salivary cortisol as a stress biomarker: the awakening response, diurnal variation, and momentary acute stress reactivity
  • The integration of salivary analytes into behavioral, developmental, and health sciences research

For those interested in mentored in-laboratory training in collecting and analyzing their own salivary cortisol samples, a Hands-on Salivary Assay Lab in our Salimetrics Center of Excellence designated lab (limited to 4 participants; 2:1 student/instructor ratio) will be offered on Wednesday, August 9th. This lab is a full day experience.

Target Audience

Researchers, students, and anyone using biobehavioral methods in their research.

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