Honors & Awards

  • Biomedical Engineering Senior Award, University of Vermont (2020)
  • Club Sports Leader of the Year, University of Vermont (2020)
  • Biomedical Engineering Junior Award, University of Vermont (2018)
  • Biomedical Engineering Sophomore Award, University of Vermont (2017)

Professional Affiliations and Activities

  • Student Member, Society for Research on Biological Rhythms (2022 - Present)
  • Student Member, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (2022 - Present)
  • Student Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (2022 - Present)
  • Council Member, Bioengineering Graduate Student Association (2020 - Present)
  • Member, Digital Medicine Society (2020 - Present)
  • Student Committee Member, American Society of Biomechanics (2019 - Present)
  • Student Member, Biomedical Engineering Society (2017 - Present)

Education & Certifications

  • Master of Science, Stanford University, BIOE-MS (2022)
  • B.S., University of Vermont, Biomedical Engineering (2020)


  • Jeffrey Palmer' Brian Telfer, James Williamson, Lara Weed, Mark Buller, Rebecca Fellin, Joseph Seay. "United States Patent US20210338173A1 System and Method for Predicting Exertional Heat Stroke with a Worn Sensor", Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Cambridge , MA ( US ) ; U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine , Natick , MA ( US ), Nov 4, 2021

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My mission is to characterize and optimize human health, rehabilitation, and performance using physiological and biomechanical signals from wearable sensors.

Lab Affiliations

Work Experience

  • Co-Op Technical Assistant, MIT Lincoln Laboratory (July 2018 - July 2019)


    Lexington, MA

  • Data Scientist Intern, Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. (May 2020 - August 2020)


    Boston, MA

All Publications

  • Perils of the nighttime: Impact of behavioral timing and preference on mental health in 73,888 community-dwelling adults. Psychiatry research Lok, R., Weed, L., Winer, J., Zeitzer, J. M. 2024; 337: 115956


    Mental health is independently influenced by the inclination to sleep at specific times (chronotype) and the actual sleep timing (behavior). Chronotype and timing of actual sleep are, however, often misaligned. This study aims to determine how chronotype, sleep timing, and the alignment between the two impact mental health. In a community-dwelling cohort of middle- and older-aged adults (UK Biobank, n = 73,888), we examined the impact of chronotype (questionnaire-based), the timing of behavior (determined with 7-day accelerometry), and the alignment between the two on mental, behavioral, neurodevelopmental disorders (MBN), depression, and anxiety, as assessed through ICD-10 codes. As compared to morning types with early behavior (aligned), morning types with late behavior (misaligned) had an increased risk of having MBN, depression, and anxiety (p's<0.001). As compared to evening-types with late behavior (aligned), however, evening-types with early behavior (misaligned) had a decreased risk of depression (p < 0.01), with a trend for MBN (p = 0.04) and anxiety (p = 0.05). Longitudinal analyses, in which the likelihood of developing de novo mental health disorders was associated with chronotype, behavioral timing, and alignment between the two, confirmed cross-sectional findings. To age healthily, individuals should start sleeping before 1AM, despite chronobiological preferences.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.psychres.2024.115956

    View details for PubMedID 38763081

  • Impaired 24-h activity patterns are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and cognitive decline. Alzheimer's research & therapy Winer, J. R., Lok, R., Weed, L., He, Z., Poston, K. L., Mormino, E. C., Zeitzer, J. M. 2024; 16 (1): 35


    Sleep-wake regulating circuits are affected during prodromal stages in the pathological progression of both Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD), and this disturbance can be measured passively using wearable devices. Our objective was to determine whether accelerometer-based measures of 24-h activity are associated with subsequent development of AD, PD, and cognitive decline.This study obtained UK Biobank data from 82,829 individuals with wrist-worn accelerometer data aged 40 to 79 years with a mean (± SD) follow-up of 6.8 (± 0.9) years. Outcomes were accelerometer-derived measures of 24-h activity (derived by cosinor, nonparametric, and functional principal component methods), incident AD and PD diagnosis (obtained through hospitalization or primary care records), and prospective longitudinal cognitive testing.One hundred eighty-seven individuals progressed to AD and 265 to PD. Interdaily stability (a measure of regularity, hazard ratio [HR] per SD increase 1.25, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.48), diurnal amplitude (HR 0.79, CI 0.65-0.96), mesor (mean activity; HR 0.77, CI 0.59-0.998), and activity during most active 10 h (HR 0.75, CI 0.61-0.94), were associated with risk of AD. Diurnal amplitude (HR 0.28, CI 0.23-0.34), mesor (HR 0.13, CI 0.10-0.16), activity during least active 5 h (HR 0.24, CI 0.08-0.69), and activity during most active 10 h (HR 0.20, CI 0.16-0.25) were associated with risk of PD. Several measures were additionally predictive of longitudinal cognitive test performance.In this community-based longitudinal study, accelerometer-derived metrics were associated with elevated risk of AD, PD, and accelerated cognitive decline. These findings suggest 24-h rhythm integrity, as measured by affordable, non-invasive wearable devices, may serve as a scalable early marker of neurodegenerative disease.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/s13195-024-01411-0

    View details for PubMedID 38355598

    View details for PubMedCentralID 4163039

  • Fatigued but not sleepy? An empirical investigation of the differentiation between fatigue and sleepiness in sleep disorder patients in a cross-sectional study. Journal of psychosomatic research Suh, S., Lok, R., Weed, L., Cho, A., Mignot, E., Leary, E. B., Zeitzer, J. M. 2024; 178: 111606


    Sleepiness and fatigue are common complaints among individuals with sleep disorders. The two concepts are often used interchangeably, causing difficulty with differential diagnosis and treatment decisions. The current study investigated sleep disorder patients to determine which factors best differentiated sleepiness from fatigue.The study used a subset of participants from a multi-site study (n = 606), using a cross-sectional study design. We selected 60 variables associated with either sleepiness or fatigue, including demographic, mental health, and lifestyle factors, medical history, sleep questionnaires, rest-activity rhythms (actigraphy), polysomnographic (PSG) variables, and sleep diaries. Fatigue was measured with the Fatigue Severity Scale and sleepiness was measured with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. A Random Forest machine learning approach was utilized for analysis.Participants' average age was 47.5 years (SD 14.0), 54.6% female, and the most common sleep disorder diagnosis was obstructive sleep apnea (67.4%). Sleepiness and fatigue were moderately correlated (r = 0.334). The model for fatigue (explained variance 49.5%) indicated depression was the strongest predictor (relative explained variance 42.7%), followed by insomnia severity (12.3%). The model for sleepiness (explained variance 17.9%), indicated insomnia symptoms was the strongest predictor (relative explained variance 17.6%). A post hoc receiver operating characteristic analysis indicated depression could be used to discriminate fatigue (AUC = 0.856) but not sleepiness (AUC = 0.643).The moderate correlation between fatigue and sleepiness supports previous literature that the two concepts are overlapping yet distinct. Importantly, depression played a more prominent role in characterizing fatigue than sleepiness, suggesting depression could be used to differentiate the two concepts.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2024.111606

    View details for PubMedID 38359639

  • Brief structured respiration practices enhance mood and reduce physiological arousal. Cell reports. Medicine Balban, M. Y., Neri, E., Kogon, M. M., Weed, L., Nouriani, B., Jo, B., Holl, G., Zeitzer, J. M., Spiegel, D., Huberman, A. D. 2023: 100895


    Controlled breathwork practices have emerged as potential tools for stress management and well-being. Here, we report a remote, randomized, controlled study (NCT05304000) of three different daily 5-min breathwork exercises compared with an equivalent period of mindfulness meditation over 1 month. The breathing conditions are (1) cyclic sighing, which emphasizes prolonged exhalations; (2) box breathing, which is equal duration of inhalations, breath retentions, and exhalations; and (3) cyclic hyperventilation with retention, with longer inhalations and shorter exhalations. The primary endpoints are improvement in mood and anxiety as well as reduced physiological arousal (respiratory rate, heart rate, and heart rate variability). Using a mixed-effects model, we show that breathwork, especially the exhale-focused cyclic sighing, produces greater improvement in mood (p < 0.05) and reduction in respiratory rate (p < 0.05) compared with mindfulness meditation. Daily 5-min cyclic sighing has promise as an effective stress management exercise.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.xcrm.2022.100895

    View details for PubMedID 36630953

  • The Impact of Missing Data and Imputation Methods on the Analysis of 24-Hour Activity Patterns. Clocks & sleep Weed, L., Lok, R., Chawra, D., Zeitzer, J. 2022; 4 (4): 497-507


    The purpose of this study is to characterize the impact of the timing and duration of missing actigraphy data on interdaily stability (IS) and intradaily variability (IV) calculation. The performance of three missing data imputation methods (linear interpolation, mean time of day (ToD), and median ToD imputation) for estimating IV and IS was also tested. Week-long actigraphy records with no non-wear or missing timeseries data were masked with zeros or 'Not a Number' (NaN) across a range of timings and durations for single and multiple missing data bouts. IV and IS were calculated for true, masked, and imputed (i.e., linear interpolation, mean ToD and, median ToD imputation) timeseries data and used to generate Bland-Alman plots for each condition. Heatmaps were used to analyze the impact of timings and durations of and between bouts. Simulated missing data produced deviations in IV and IS for longer durations, midday crossings, and during similar timing on consecutive days. Median ToD imputation produced the least deviation among the imputation methods. Median ToD imputation is recommended to recapitulate IV and IS under missing data conditions for less than 24 h.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/clockssleep4040039

    View details for PubMedID 36278532

  • Gait instability and estimated core temperature predict exertional heat stroke BRITISH JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE Buller, M., Fellin, R., Bursey, M., Galer, M., Atkinson, E., Beidleman, B. A., Marcello, M. J., Driver, K., Mesite, T., Seay, J., Weed, L., Telfer, B., King, C., Frazee, R., Moore, C., Williamson, J. R. 2022


    Exertional heat stroke (EHS), characterised by a high core body temperature (Tcr) and central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, is a concern for athletes, workers and military personnel who must train and perform in hot environments. The objective of this study was to determine whether algorithms that estimate Tcr from heart rate and gait instability from a trunk-worn sensor system can forward predict EHS onset.Heart rate and three-axis accelerometry data were collected from chest-worn sensors from 1806 US military personnel participating in timed 4/5-mile runs, and loaded marches of 7 and 12 miles; in total, 3422 high EHS-risk training datasets were available for analysis. Six soldiers were diagnosed with heat stroke and all had rectal temperatures of >41°C when first measured and were exhibiting CNS dysfunction. Estimated core temperature (ECTemp) was computed from sequential measures of heart rate. Gait instability was computed from three-axis accelerometry using features of pattern dispersion and autocorrelation.The six soldiers who experienced heat stroke were among the hottest compared with the other soldiers in the respective training events with ECTemps ranging from 39.2°C to 40.8°C. Combining ECTemp and gait instability measures successfully identified all six EHS casualties at least 3.5 min in advance of collapse while falsely identifying 6.1% (209 total false positives) examples where exertional heat illness symptoms were neither observed nor reported. No false-negative cases were noted.The combination of two algorithms that estimate Tcr and ataxic gate appears promising for real-time alerting of impending EHS.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bjsports-2021-104081

    View details for Web of Science ID 000744332300001

    View details for PubMedID 35022161

  • A Preliminary Investigation of the Effects of Obstacle Negotiation and Turning on Gait Variability in Adults with Multiple Sclerosis SENSORS Weed, L., Little, C., Kasser, S. L., McGinnis, R. S. 2021; 21 (17)


    Many falls in persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) occur during daily activities such as negotiating obstacles or changing direction. While increased gait variability is a robust biomarker of fall risk in PwMS, gait variability in more ecologically related tasks is unclear. Here, the effects of turning and negotiating an obstacle on gait variability in PwMS were investigated. PwMS and matched healthy controls were instrumented with inertial measurement units on the feet, lumbar, and torso. Subjects completed a walk and turn (WT) with and without an obstacle crossing (OW). Each task was partitioned into pre-turn, post-turn, pre-obstacle, and post-obstacle phases for analysis. Spatial and temporal gait measures and measures of trunk rotation were captured for each phase of each task. In the WT condition, PwMS demonstrated significantly more variability in lumbar and trunk yaw range of motion and rate, lateral foot deviation, cadence, and step time after turning than before. In the OW condition, PwMS demonstrated significantly more variability in both spatial and temporal gait parameters in obstacle approach after turning compared to before turning. No significant differences in gait variability were observed after negotiating an obstacle, regardless of turning or not. Results suggest that the context of gait variability measurement is important. The increased number of variables impacted from turning and the influence of turning on obstacle negotiation suggest that varying tasks must be considered together rather than in isolation to obtain an informed understanding of gait variability that more closely resembles everyday walking.

    View details for DOI 10.3390/s21175806

    View details for Web of Science ID 000694535000001

    View details for PubMedID 34502697

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8434341

  • Estimating Sedentary Breathing Rate from Chest-Worn Accelerometry From Free-Living Data Telfer, B. A., Williamson, J. R., Weed, L., Bursey, M., Frazee, R., Galer, M., Moore, C., Buller, M., Friedl, K. E., IEEE IEEE. 2020: 4636-4639


    Breathing rate was estimated from chest-worn accelerometry collected from 1,522 servicemembers during training by a wearable physiological monitor. A total of 29,189 hours of training and sleep data were analyzed. The primary purpose of the monitor was to assess thermal-work strain and avoid heat injuries. The monitor design was thus not optimized to estimate breathing rate. Since breathing rate cannot be accurately estimated during periods of high activity, a qualifier was applied to identify sedentary time periods, totaling 8,867 hours. Breathing rate was estimated for a total of 4,179 hours, or 14% of the total collection and 47% of the sedentary total, primarily during periods of sleep. The breathing rate estimation method was compared to an FDA 510(K)-cleared criterion breathing rate sensor (Zephyr, Annapolis MD, USA) in a controlled laboratory experiment, which showed good agreement between the two techniques. Contributions of this paper are to: 1) provide the first analysis of accelerometry-derived breathing rate on free-living data including periods of high activity as well as sleep, along with a qualifier that effectively identifies sedentary periods appropriate for estimating breathing rate; 2) test breathing rate estimation on a data set with a total duration that is more than 60 times longer than that of the largest previously reported study, 3) test breathing rate estimation on data from a physiological monitor that has not been expressly designed for that purpose.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000621592204236

    View details for PubMedID 33019027