Research Projects




Prof. dr. Greet Cardon

Prof. Dr. Greet Cardon has a master degree in Physical Education and in Physical Therapy, and a PhD in Movement Sciences. She is full professor and supervises the research group. Her research focuses on understanding the determinants of physical activity, as well as identifying the most effective ways to promote physical activity in different age groups, with a main focus on children and adolescents.. She is and has been involved as work package leader in several European projects (e.g. Toybox, DEDIPAC, Feel4Diabetes, Smartlife) and leads the Interdisciplinary consortium "Ghent University Research on Aging Young (GRAY)"
Research interests: physical activity, sedentary behavior, children, youth, prevention, aging



Prof. dr. Delfien Van Dyck

Delfien Van Dyck obtained a Master in Physical Education and Movement Sciences and a PhD in Physical Education and co-supervises the research group. Her research focuses on the determinants of physical activity and sedentary behavior in (older) adults, with specific attention to the importance of ‘walkable’ environments (parks, neighborhoods and the use of Virtual Reality in this research domain). Furthermore, she supervises the PhD research regarding theory-based interventions through eHealth and mHealth to promote an active lifestyle in adults and a PhD study regarding the use of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) to identify the dynamic determinants of physical activity and sedentary behavior in older adults. She is or has been involved in two NIH projects: the IPEN Adult and IPEN Adolescent studies.


Prof. dr. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij

Prof. dr. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij is a clinical psychologist and obtained a PhD in Health Psychology. She is full professor and co-supervises the research group. Her research topics are the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity, including research on determinants and on developing and evaluating interventions to promote healthy behaviors in all ages. She is and has been involved as partner and/or work package leader in various European Commission funded projects including Pro Children, HOPE, ALPHA, TEENAGE, HELENA, IDEFICS, ENERGY, TOY BOX, SPOTLIGHT and DEDIPAC.
Research interests: eHealth, built environment, health promotion, interventions, tailoring


Prof.dr. Sebastien Chastin

Prof. Dr. Sebastien Chastin has a BSc in metrology, a Master in Rehabilitation Sciences and a PhD in Non-linear physics. He is a Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University. His research focuses on human movement behaviour. Understanding why, when and how people decide to move or not, is crucial to promoting healthy movement behaviour. At the moment, he is guest professor in the research group, with a specific focus on research.
Research interests: 24 hour movement behavior across the life span;  cocreation of physical activity intervention


Dr. Melanie Beeckman

Education: Master in Clinical Psychology;  PhD in Psychology – Ghent University
Supervisor: Prof. dr. Greet Cardon
Research Project(s): Melanie is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher on an FWO-funded research project with the central objective to develop a cognitively enriched walking program for older adults to prevent cognitive decline, a collaboration between Ghent University and KU Leuven. This walking program will enable older adults to train their brain while walking, which is expected to boost neuroplasticity. The project specifically examines the feasibility of the cognitively walking intervention by matching it as much as possible with the needs and preferences of older adults with the help of co-creation methods such as focus groups. Before this, Melanie used to work at the Ghent Health Psychology Lab where she obtained her doctoral degree in psychology on a research project on the role of psychological risk and resilience factors in adolescents with chronic pain. Beside her work as a researcher, she currently also works as a part-time psychologist in a community health center and a general practice in Ghent.
Research Interest: Active Ageing, Cognitive Function, Chronic Diseases (e.g., chronic pain, neurodegenerative diseases), Health Psychology, Resilience, Prevention, Primary Health Care

Dr. Ruben Brondeel

Education: PhD in Epidemiology – University Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris
Supervisors: Prof. Greet Cardon, Prof. Frank Witlox
Research project(s): Urban interventions in the physical environment (e.g. improved sidewalks) to promote active transport are powerful tools to increase physical activity levels. However, urban interventions are not under the control of the evaluating researchers, making the evaluations very challenging to design. The main objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of simulated urban interventions on transport-related physical activity with agent-based simulation models. Complementary to evaluations of urban interventions, simulations of such interventions can provide crucial information for transport planning and public health. The simulation models will be based on data collected in Ghent, Belgium.
Research interests: Active transport, simulation models, machine learning, GPS and accelerometer data


Dr. Sofie Compernolle

Education: Master in Physical Education and Movement Sciences – PhD in Health Sciences  
Supervisors: Prof. Greet Cardon and Prof. Delfien Van Dyck
Research project(s): The research of sofie focuses on sedentary behavior in adults and older adults. During her PdD, Sofie examined the socio-ecological determinants of sedentary behavior in adults. Currently, she works as a postdoctoral researcher on the Stand Up, Stay Top project. The aim of this project is to develop and evaluate an eHealth intervention aimed at the reduction of sedentary behaviour in older adults. 
Research interests: Sedentary behaviour, older adults, e- & mHealth interventions, self-monitoring, user engagement

dr. Ann DeSmet

Education: MSc in Psychology, MSc in Marketing Analysis and Planning, PhD in Health Sciences
Ann DeSmet is currently working as an assistant professor at the University of Antwerp and at the 'Université Libre de Bruxelles'. She is supporting the research group as a voluntary postdoctoral researcher. She acquired her PhD within the Friendly ATTAC project that developed a serious game against adolescent cyberbullying. Since then, she obtained an EU grant for the SmartLife project that develops an exergame tailored by the biofeedback from a smart T-shirt; and a fellowship from the Research Foundation Flanders (Healthy Worker study), in which combined patterns of sleep, physical activity and sedentary behavior are studied. She also supervises several projects in e- & mHealth.
Research interests: e-& mHealth; media psychology; serious games; wearables; mental health promotion via an active lifestyle; micro-randomized trials; Just-in-Time adaptive interventions (JITAI); Ecological Momentary Assessment  (EMA)


dr. Lieze Mertens

Education: MSc in Physical Education and Movement Sciences, MSc in Health Education and Health Promotion in 2012, PhD in Health Sciences
Supervisors: Prof. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Prof. Benedicte Deforche
Research project(s): Lieze Mertens has expertise in the association between the physical environment and active transportation. Her PhD project used manipulated photographs to study those relationships. Currently, she is working on a project aimed to identify critical environmental street characteristics influencing the safety and appeal for active transport by manipulations of virtual reality 3D walk/cycle through environments.
Research interests: Active transport; Physical environment; Cycling; Micro-environment


Laurent Degroote

Education: Master of Science in Physical Education and Movement Sciences
Supervisors: Prof. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij and Prof. Geert Crombez
Research project(s): His research focuses on the use of an e- & mHealth intervention to promote physical activity in the general adult population. More specifically, he is working on the development and the testing of an app that uses self-regulation techniques, such as action planning, coping planning and self-monitoring. This app guides people during the process towards a physically active lifestyle. The context in which people show physical (in)active behaviour plays an important role. Therefore, this is also investigated and taken into account in this project.
Research interests: E- & mHealth, interventions, wearables, self-regulation

Julie Latomme

Education: Master of Science in Experimental and Theoretical Psychology at Ghent University
Supervisors: Prof. Greet Cardon, Prof. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij and Prof. Marieke De Craemer
Research project(s): Currently, Julie is working on her FWO-funded research project (“Run Daddy Run”) aiming to develop and implement a multicomponent eHealth lifestyle intervention for fathers and their children, in order to prevent overweight and obesity in the family. More specifically, the intervention aims to increase co-physical activity (i.e. father and child engaging together in physical activity) and limit the time fathers and children spend together on watching TV through (inter-)active father-child sessions and an online (website) component.
Research interests: overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes, prevention, intervention, physical activity, sedentary behaviour, men, fathers, children.


Laura Maenhout

Education: Master of Educational Sciences, Main Subject Special Education, Disability Studies and Behavioral Disorders
Supervisors: Promotor: Prof. Greet Cardon / Co-promotor: Prof. Geert Crombez & dr. Ann DeSmet
Research project(s): Laura is involved in the MOV-E-STAR project. This is a project aimed at promoting mental health of youngsters (12-15 years) via healthy lifestyles (more exercise, less sitting, daily breakfast intake and sufficient sleep). By focusing on healthy lifestyles that they can tackle in their daily lives, this project supports the empowerment and social inclusion of youth, without barriers to professional care, and with great social health benefits as a result. The intervention will consist of three integrated components: a storyline or 'health narrative' (Youtube videos), a chatbot and a mobile app that supports self-regulation. Her PhD will focus on special target groups (youngsters from lower SES families) and via the elaboration likelihood model (ELM) she will study central and peripheral routes to behavioral change.
Research interests: Mental health, adolescents, vulnerable target groups, healthy lifestyles, e- & mHealth, elaboration likelihood model (ELM)

Iris Maes

Education: Master of Speech Language and Hearing Sciences – Main Subject Audiology
Master of Health Education and Health Promotion
Supervisors: Prof. Greet Cardon and Prof. Delfien Van Dyck (promotors)
Research project(s): During the first phase of her research project, Iris will concentrate on the identification of dynamic determinants of physical activity and sedentary behavior. This will be carried out by using Ecological Momentary Assessment. The target group of this project will be older adults (65+) and particular attention will be given to the environment and the interaction with the environment. Small experiments will be conducted in a next phase.
Research interests: Health Promotion, Prevention, Interventions, Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior

Carmen Peuters

Education: Master in Clinical and Health Psychology, specialization: Children and Adolescents (KU Leuven)
Master in Research in Psychology Applied to Health Sciences, specialization: Sports and Health Psychology (UAB, Spain)
Supervisors: Promotor: Prof. Geert Crombez / Co-promotors: Prof. Greet Cardon and dr. Ann DeSmet
Research project(s): Carmen is working on the MOV-E-STAR project, a two-year research project funded by the Flemish Government. The aim of the project is to promote mental health by encouraging youth (12 – 15 years) to adopt healthy lifestyles. Specifically, the project will focus on improving physical activity, daily breakfast intake and sufficient sleep, and reducing sedentary behaviour. By means of participatory development with adolescents and stakeholders, an intervention is being created including a mobile app, a chatbot, and a narrative in the form of short video clips. The intervention will be evaluated in a group-RCT and user feedback will be used to optimize the programme for future implementation.
Research interests: Mental health promotion, preventive healthcare, positive psychology, healthy lifestyles, self-regulation, mHealth, stress- and emotion regulation


Helen Schroé

Education: Master in Physical Education and Movement Sciences
Supervisors: Promotor: Prof. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij; Co-promotor: Prof. Geert Crombez
Research project(s): The aim of Helene’s PhD project is to evaluate an e- and m-Health intervention ‘MyPlan 2.0’ (website and app) to promote physical activity and to reduce sedentary behaviour in adults. She uses self-regulation theory to guide people in their behaviour change process. More specifically, Helene aims to investigate which self-regulation techniques determine the effectiveness of the e- and m-Health intervention. Furthermore, she will evaluate the effect of the e- & m-Health intervention on behaviour change in an ecologically valid setting.
Research interests: Health promotion; E- & mHealth; Physical activity; Sedentary behaviour; Self-regulation theory

Vicky Van Stappen

Education: Master in Physical Education and Movement Sciences – Physical Activity, Fitness and Health
Supervisors: promotor: Prof. Greet Cardon; Co-promotor: Prof. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
Research project(s): Vicky’s main research interest  is the prevention of overweight and obesity in young children and their parents by improving the energy-balanced related behaviors (i.e. physical activity, sitting time and nutrition). She is currently involved in the European Feel4Diabetes-project (2014-2019) aiming to prevent overweight, obesity and type 2 diabetes in young vulnerable families (families living in low socio-economic areas). The Feel4Diabetes-intervention focused on three components (i.e. the school, community and family component) to improve the energy-balanced related behaviors in these vulnerable families.  
Research interests: Prevention of overweight, obesity and type 2 diabetes, children, parents, families, interventions, physical activity, sedentary behavior, healthy nutrition


Arwen Vangilbergen

Education: Master of Health education and Health promotion
Supervisors: Promotor: Prof. Greet Cardon, co-promotor: Prof. Jannique van Uffelen
Research project(s): Arwen 's project focuses on the prevention of cognitive decline in the older adult population by boosting neuroplasticity. She does this by developing a cognitively enriched walking intervention which enables older adults to train their brain while walking. For the development of the intervention, Arwen uses co-creation to make sure that the intervention optimally matches the wishes and needs of older adults. Afterwards she will investigate the effects of the newly developed intervention on cognitive and physical functioning. For this project, she works together withe her colleagues from the KU Leuven.
Research interests: health promotion, prevention, physical activity, self determination, older adults and dementia