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Arnold School of Public Health


Exercise Science welcomes Christine Pellegrini, who specializes in using technology to support patient-centered behavioral health interventions

January 23, 2017 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

Looking back, Christine Pellegrini identifies her time in London as a major turning point in her career trajectory. Sports and physical activity had always been important to the Chicago native, but she became interested in behavior change and obesity treatment during her semester abroad as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“I remember noticing that the prevalence of obesity was much lower in London than where I grew up,” Pellegrini says. “I realized that the London grocery stores didn’t have as many options, and the portions were much smaller than what I was used to in the U.S. I also noticed that the population was pretty active—moving around more and not watching TV as much.”

My research interests are in the development and implementation of patient-centered, technology-supported behavioral interventions targeting diet, physical activity, sedentary behavior, and weight loss.

-Christine Pellegrini, Assistant Professor of EXSC

After returning to the U.S., she knew she wanted to find ways to help adults with obesity find more ways to be active and adopt strategies to manage portion sizes and make healthy eating choices. As an undergrad, Pellegrini studied exercise and sport science and earned dual bachelor’s degrees in psychology and history. Next, she completed master’s (Health, Physical Activity, and Chronic Disease) and doctoral (Exercise Physiology) at the University of Pittsburgh.

Pellegrini then went on to hold two postdoctoral positions. The first brought her back to the University of Illinois at Chicago as a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the National Center for Physical Activity and Disability. The second was a Postdoctoral Research Fellowship with the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University, where she stayed on for nearly four years as a Research Assistant Professor and a co-leader for the Program in Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in the Center of Behavior in Health in the department’s Institute of Public Health and Medicine.

I am excited to join the Arnold School of Public Health because of the outstanding faculty, diverse research interests and expertise, and reputation of the School and University.

-Christine Pellegrini, Assistant Professor of EXSC

In 2017, Pellegrini joins UofSC’s Arnold School of Public Health. The assistant professor of exercise science will also be a faculty member of the Technology Center to Promote Healthy Lifestyles (TecHealth), which is directed by SmartState Endowed Chair and Exercise Science Professor Delia West.

With her arrival, Pellegrini is further strengthening the growing core of technology-focused scientists at the Arnold School. Collaborative opportunities abound for these researchers, and Pellegrini brings her own unique approach to the emerging field of study.

“My research interests are in the development and implementation of patient-centered, technology-supported behavioral interventions targeting diet, physical activity, sedentary behavior, and weight loss,” she explains. “I enjoy working with new populations and technologies.” 

I have also been amazed by the caliber of students here and look forward to teaching, mentoring, and getting undergraduate and graduate students involved in research.

-Christine Pellegrini, Assistant Professor of EXSC

Pellegrini has worked with adults who are overweight or obese and those who have diabetes, lupus, knee osteoarthritis, and knee replacement. She also has experience with a wide variety of different technologies, including the Internet, text messages, smartphone applications, and several physical activity monitors. The concepts that drive this research are also her favorite classroom topics: behavioral theories, behavior change strategies, and technology used within public health interventions and campaigns.

“I am excited to join the Arnold School of Public Health because of the outstanding faculty, diverse research interests and expertise, and reputation of the School and University,” says Pellegrini of her new appointment. “It will be great to share my expertise and experiences with others, encourage the use of technology to modify health behaviors, and build collaborations across the School and University. I have also been amazed by the caliber of students here and look forward to teaching, mentoring, and getting undergraduate and graduate students involved in research.”