Sharlene D. Newman, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Professor Department of Psychology
Adjunct Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Chuong Bui, Ph.D.
Research Statistician

Jamie Crawford
Program Assistant

Senior Fellows

John C. Higginbotham, PhD, MPH, was appointed Senior Associate Vice President for Research & Economic Development and Chief Operating Officer at The University of Alabama in January 2019. In this role, he serves as a liaison between various colleges, research centers, and analytic facilities. Dr. Higginbotham facilitates numerous research training and development opportunities for faculty, including the opportunity for faculty to interact with government research officers. He also oversees the Research Grant Committee proposal process and the limited submissions policy.

John E. Lochman, Ph.D., ABPP is Saxon Professor Emeritus of Psychology, was the founding Director of the Center for Prevention of Youth Behavior Problems (now Center for Youth Development and Intervention), and was the Interim Director of the Alabama Life Research Institute at The University of Alabama. His federal research funding over the past 35 years, and his over 425 publications, have primarily addressed contextual social-cognitive risk factors and intervention research for children with behavior problems.

Faculty Fellows

Angela Barber, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is an Associate Professor and Chair of the University of Alabama Department of Communicative Disorders. Dr. Barber’s research focuses on early detection and interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders with an emphasis on child and family outcomes. She also studies demographic and knowledge factors that influence accessibility to effective ASD interventions among children and families who live in rural and underserved communities.

Dr. Tom English is an expert in implementing and modifying electronic health records (EHR), health informatics research, and extracting data from EHRs for research and quality improvement projects. He has successfully customized and implemented EHRs into 6 primary care clinics. His focus on workflows and data quality have resulted in multiple awards. Dr. English has leveraged his EHR experience for research and is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Mary Friend is an assistant professor at the College of Community Health Science and serves as research director for the University of Alabama Family Medicine Residency (UAFMR). Her funded research focuses on hypertension screening, diagnosis and treatment, in addition to screening of patients at University Medical Center for Hepatitis C. She is also part of a university-wide collaboration with Mississippi State University to improve treatment of opioid use disorders in rural communities.

Marcia Hay-McCutcheon, Ph.D., CCC-A is a professor in the Department of Communicative Disorders in the College of Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on increasing accessibility to hearing health care in rural areas of West Central and South Alabama. In recent years, a lack of access to hearing health care has become a growing public health concern.

Dr. Rajesh Kana is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama. At UA, Dr. Kana is leading the development of the Autism Center. He also directs the Cognition, Brain, and Autism Laboratory. His research focuses on investigating the diagnostic utility of neuroimaging-based inferences in developmental disorders, and in testing the effectiveness of behavioral intervention on the brain in children and adolescents with autism. In addition, Dr. Kana uses multimodal neuroimaging to investigate the neuroanatomy, white matter integrity, and neurochemical concentration in individuals with autism.

Linda Knol, Ph.D., RDN LD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management at The University of Alabama. As an ALRI Fellow, Dr. Knol will collaborate with others on innovative ways to implement and evaluate programs that address obesity and food insecurity.  Dr. Knol’s recent research focuses on improving food intake patterns in both young children and adults living in rural areas. She uses a mindful eating approach in her weight management interventions to help individuals address personal stressors that lead to the use of food as a coping mechanism.

Dr. Edward Sazonov is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the head of the Computer Laboratory of Ambient and Wearable Systems. His research interests span wearable devices, sensor-based behavioral informatics and methods of biomedical signal processing and pattern recognition. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, National Academies of Science, as well as by state agencies, private industry and foundations.

Dr. Xiangrong Shen is a professor in the department of mechanical engineering at The University of Alabama, where he has been a faculty member since 2008. Professor Shen’s research is focused on assistive and rehabilitation robotics, and the specific topics include robotic lower-limb prostheses, portable power-assist lower-limb orthoses, and legged/wheeled robotic platforms for assistive and therapeutic purposes. His research has been supported by multiple NSF and NIH grants, including an NSF CAREER award in 2014.