Research Incubator Program Welcomes New Cohort


Sarah Acree

The Research Incubator Program, part of the Eisenberg Family Depression Center’s Data & Design Core, has selected its next cohort. The program welcomed its inaugural cohort in 2022 and supports early-career investigators by breaking down barriers that often slow progress.

The service is designed to build a foundation for emerging scholars through hands-on support.  Participants will gain access to resources that are often unavailable to early-career researchers including analytic support, project management, and access to our core faculty and staff at no cost to the researcher.

The program prioritizes using secondary data, an often underutilized resource. By using existing data sets, participants can accelerate their findings without moving through the often complex process of collecting and analyzing original data.

This year’s program will support three projects during the 2023-2024 academic year. Each project will explore research questions examining the intersections of mental and physical health.

Meet the principal investigators

Melissa DeJonckheere, Ph.D., assistant professor, Family Medicine 

Dr. DeJonckheere is an adolescent health researcher whose research focuses on psychosocial influences on health and well-being, particularly among adolescents with type 1 or 2 diabetes. Her Incubator project will examine the relationships between depression and psychosocial stress, disordered eating and insulin restriction/non-compliance, and glycemic control for adolescents with type 1 diabetes. This project aims to generate evidence that would support the need for universal screening of disordered eating behaviors in pediatric endocrinology clinics, as well as the development of educational resources to prevent disordered eating in this population.

Phoebe Tsao, M.D., M.Sc., assistant professor, Hematology/Oncology, Internal Medicine 

Dr. Tsao is a medical oncologist specializing in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer at the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Hospital. Her Incubator project will use Michigan Medicine clinical data to examine the impact of androgen receptor signaling inhibitors (ARSI’s) on depression and anxiety in men with prostate cancer. As the number of men taking ARSI’s for early-stage prostate cancer is expected to increase, this project seeks to contribute evidence of the potential effects on depression and anxiety so that patients can make informed treatment decisions. 

Anao Zhang, Ph.D., assistant professor, Social Work

Dr. Zhang is a health and mental health intervention researcher with a primary research interest in psycho-oncology and cancer survivorship among adolescents and young adults. His Incubator project will use the Health and Retirement Study to examine the mental health trajectories of adult survivors of cancer who received their diagnoses in adolescence or young adulthood (AYA). This project seeks to better understand the long-term mental health impacts of a cancer diagnosis in AYA throughout the life course.