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War Related Illness and Injury Study Center

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Research Labs

 Currently there are four research labs at WRIISC:

Integrative Health and Cognition Laboratory

The Integrative Health and Cognition Laboratory led by Dr. Peter Bayley focuses on developing and evaluating innovative treatments for chronic disorders such as pain, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Alzheimer’s disease and multisymptom illness using mind-body interventions including yoga and meditation. The lab also explores the mechanism of action of such treatments from a biological perspective. Dr. Bayley is a faculty member at both the Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute and the Stanford Center for Sleep and Circadian Sciences, and a Prinicipal Investigator for the Center for Innovation to Implementation (Ci2i)

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Cardiorespiratory Physiology Laboratory

The Cardiorespiratory Physiology Laboratory’s (CPL) objective, as part of the WRIISC, is to study post-deployment health concerns with a focus on shortness of breath, inability to exercise, and fatigue within the context of military and environmental exposures, such as air pollution and burn pits. We are a human subjects research laboratory and take an integrative approach to complex problems facing Veterans. As such, we have a multidisciplinary team with expertise in clinical exercise physiology, exposure science, environmental health, respiratory physiology, biomedical engineering and biochemistry.

The CPL’s program of research spans two main areas of post-deployment health: Airborne Hazards and Gulf War Illness. Our active airborne hazards projects focus on understanding metabolic and physiologic mechanisms of respiratory symptoms such as our Pulmonary Vascular study as well as the unique role for blast overpressure injury on lung function and symptomatology. Together with our collaborators, we are also investigating novel imaging and physiologic techniques to assess the small airways as well as potential long-term health effects related to particulate matter exposure via animal models. Our Gulf War Illness projects are focused primarily in the manifestation of physical fatigue in Gulf War Veterans brought on by exercise and the role of mitochondrial dysfunction. The CPL's research efforts are informed by our clinical evaluation experience through the Airborne Hazards and Burn Pits Center of Excellence. Most importantly, knowledge gained from our research efforts informs and refines our clinical evaluations in order to provide Veterans the most advanced care.

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Behavioral Health Research Lab

The mission of Dr. Lisa McAndrew’s Behavioral Health Research Lab (BHRL) is to gain a better understanding of Veterans’ views and experiences related to their post deployment health concerns. We hope to apply this knowledge to develop evidence-based behavioral health interventions to improve Veterans’ overall quality of life and optimize health outcomes. The BHRL recognizes the inherent need to maximize health for Veterans presenting with both physical and mental health concerns. As such, our lab is driven and committed to understanding and promoting accessibility to and acceptability of behavioral health interventions within the larger VA system. The BHRL places high value on quality improvement, dissemination of knowledge and research, and continuing education. Most importantly, our lab values a collaborative and team-based approach to conducting innovative research to meet our goals.

Current research projects include a large funded randomized controlled trial examining how best to implement specialty care to Veterans with Gulf War Illness to improve disability, chronic pain, and other chronic physical symptoms; a clinical trial of Problem-Solving Therapy (PST) for Veterans with chronic pain and suicidal ideation; and a clinical trial of Health Coaching for Veterans with chronic pain and other complex symptoms. If you are interested in volunteering for any of our research studies, see our Volunteer for Research page. Past research studies include a clinical trial of Problem-Solving Therapy (PST) for Gulf War Illness and a study examining patient provider concordance. For the most updated publications from the BHRL lab, see the publications page.
The BHRL also has a thriving fellowship and training program. If you are interested in learning more about our training opportunities, see the WRIISC’s fellowship page.


The Big-data Research, Artificial Intelligence, and Neuroscience (BRAIN) lab led by Dr. Immanuel BH Samuel is dedicated to advancing our understanding of the complex interactions in human biology using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning with specific emphasis on cognition and mental health. We strive to create innovative solutions for some of the most pressing challenges facing Veteran health care through the application of cutting-edge biomedical research techniques.

It is uniquely positioned to leverage the power of AI for data solutions related to pressing VA health concerns such as Department of Defense (DoD) military environmental exposure information and Veteran disease risk. At BRAIN, we are committed to accelerating the development of personalized medicine, improving mental health diagnostics and interventions, and enhancing our understanding of the complex interaction between exposures and health outcomes. In addition to our core focus areas, we are also dedicated to fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and continuous learning.