The focus of our research program is to investigate neuroscience-informed digital health interventions focused on improving the lives of young people with schizophrenia and depression. We are conducting a number of studies to determine the ideal approaches to enhance motivation and cognition and thereby improve quality of life.


 Study 1: Enhancing functional outcomes in schizophrenia using a novel mHealth approach:

The focus of this study is on developing and testing the feasibility of a new mobile app intervention called PRIME (Personalized Real-time Intervention for Motivational Enhancement). Participants living with schizophrenia and their caregivers were involved in designing the app and we continue to use their input to guide improvements to the app.

*We are currently in the clinical trial phase of this project. Participants are randomized to either receive PRIME or be on a 3-month wait list, after which those participants will also receive PRIME. This study it able to be conducting entirely remotely and as such, participants may enroll in the study from anywhere in the U.S.

Study 2: Improving motivation and cognition in recent-onset schizophrenia

The focus of this study is on investigating the benefits of combining two types of motivational interventions (Daily Goals OR PRIME), and a neuroplasticity-based cognitive training program. Participants are randomized to either receive Daily Goals or PRIME for 8 weeks, after which, both conditions will also receive and 8-week course of cognitive training delivered via provided iPads.


*We are currently recruiting participants for this study. We require participants to be able to visit our lab for assessments, but the intervention portion of the study may be accessed anywhere using provided mobile devices.


Study 3: Enhancing functional outcomes in depression using a novel mHealth approach (BRIGHTEN study)

The focus of this study is on developing and testing the feasibility of a new mobile app intervention called PRIME-D (Personalized Real-time Intervention for Motivational Enhancement for Depression) for individuals dealing with depression. We are collaborating with the BRIGHTEN study which aims to improve mood and quality of life in individuals with depression.

About PRIME:

PRIME was conceived as a novel treatment on a mobile phone platform to target motivational deficits and reward processing in this population, integrating core features that include intelligent and personalized goal-setting, access to live motivational coaching, a robust social network of relatable users, and a positive experience capture via photo and video journal. Researchers from UCSF worked with with IDEO, a design and innovation firm, and patients and their families to design the app. We are continually working to improve PRIME in response to user needs.

PRIME-D has the same features as PRIME but used by individuals with depression.


AbouDaily Goals: 

Daily Goals is a commercially available app that was not developed by our lab. Nonetheless, it focuses on goal setting, an important aspect of improving motivated behavior. Participants are able to input their own personalized goals, with the assistance of research personnel. Participants are also able to track their progress. Link to Daily Goals app


About Cognitive Training: 

We are currently using BrainHQ, a commercially available cognitive training app. Our team designed a curriculum specifically focused on improving aspects of cognition that affects the populations we are studying. The training program includes an intensive focus on improving auditory processing, verbal learning and memory, processing speed, as well as social cognition.