Since taking a teaching track position at Rice, Dr. Kabiri’s research has shifted to an educational focus, particularly on the role of gratitude in the undergraduate natural science classroom. Prior to 2022, her research focused on pediatric and adolescent health and wellness, particularly between public-school and homeschool youth.



Stress and Its Impact on Weight and Diet Among College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic (in press)


Physical Activity Independently Predicts Perceived Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Private University Students

Food Insecurity and Dietary Behaviors Among Houston College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Living Situation and Physical Activity in the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Private University Students

Effects of Schooling Type and Physical Activity on Resilience Among Parents of School-Aged Youth

Physical Activity Mentoring in Schools: An Undergraduate-Mentored Running Intervention for Elementary Students


Body composition and cardiovascular disease in homeschool adolescents

Effects of a College-Mentored Physical Activity Program for Elementary Students

No Difference in Stress Level Based on Physical Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Parents of School-Aged Children


Feasibility and Acceptability Findings of an Energy Balance Data Repository of Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults with Cancer


Youth physical health and years in American homeschools: are they related?

Health-Related Fitness in Homeschool versus Public School Adolescents

A complete list of publications may be found through Google Scholar.

Current Studies

Kabiri L. (2023-Present) Standardized tests have inherent bias, particularly against underrepresented undergraduate populations. To eliminate this bias, A.G.A.P.E. (Assessments: Gratitude and Peer-created Exams) studies the implementation, student response, and effectiveness of peer-created exam test banks in the natural sciences. Secondary aims include exploring impact on student engagement and retention of course material as well as satisfaction with the assessment process.

Kabiri L. (2022-Present) Gratitude in the Natural Sciences (GRiNS) is a new and ongoing research stream examining the role of gratitude in the undergraduate classroom, particularly in the natural sciences. Gratitude, or an affirmation of gifts and benefits we have received from a source other than ourselves, can build relationships as well as improve resilience, alertness, and energy. The role of gratitude in the American undergraduate classroom has been largely unexplored, but this stream of research aims to examine the potential role of gratitude in optimizing the learning experience for both natural science students and instructors alike.

Gratitude in the Natural Sciences (GRiNS)

Diep C*, Kabiri L,* Perkins H, Perkins-Ball A, Rodriguez A. (2020-Present) The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Stress Disparities among College Students is a descriptive study of nutrition, PA, and stress among 200 college students between the ages of 18-25 who attend a college in the Gulf Coast Region during the spring of 2020. The purpose of this study is to investigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nutrition, PA, and stress among college students in the Gulf Coast Region. It explores disparities by living situation, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and other factors. We hypothesize that the COVID-19 pandemic will have an adverse impact on nutrition, PA, and stress and that there will be disparities among college students, including poorer nutrition, decreased PA, and higher stress among racial/ethnic and low-income students. * Denotes co-PI

Past Studies

Kabiri L, Ray B. (2020-2022) Schooling Effects on Activity and Resilience during Confinement at Home (SEARCH) aimed to examine potential relationships between schooling type and physical and mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public school, private school, and homeschool children and adolescents aged 10-18 years as well as their parents completed physical activity logs and resilience surveys. Specific to the current pandemic, primary research objectives included: 1) Exploring effects of schooling type on physical activity among children and adolescents, and 2) Exploring effects of schooling type on resilience among children and adolescents. Secondary research objectives included: 1) Exploring relationships between physical activity and resilience among youth and adults, 2) Examining potential disparities between groups (socioeconomic, urban/rural, etc.) in physical activity, 3) Examining potential disparities between groups (socioeconomic, urban/rural, etc.) on resilience, and 4) Correlating child and parent/guardian activity levels and/or resilience.

Kabiri L, Diep C, Perkins-Ball A, Rodriguez A. (2019-2022) Running W.I.S.E. (with Interscholastic Student Engagement) was a collaborative research study pairing college students with youth in community schools through exercise. Combining elements of a walk-to-jog program with a mentor system, college students trained twice weekly with elementary students to improve their cardiorespiratory fitness during 10 weeks of training. Research objectives included: 1) Improving health-related physical fitness (body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, and muscular fitness), 2) Increasing physical activity levels, 3) Improving self-concept and/or self-efficacy and self-esteem, 4) Improving perception and enjoyment of physical activity, and 5) Improving classroom behavior and academic performance.

Kabiri L, Brewer W, Ortiz A. (2017) Fitness Assessment in the Homeschooled: The FAITH Study Part II. This study examined the effect of homeschooling on body composition, muscular fitness, and cardiorespiratory fitness among 12–17-year-old children. Secondary aims included assessing the reliability and validity of the Non-Exercise Test and the Tanita BF-689 BIA scale among adolescents. Funding: Texas Physical Therapy Foundation ($2,700).

Kabiri L, Voight M, Gleeson PB, Mitchell K. (2016). Quantitative Admissions Criteria to Predict PTA Student Academic Success and Licensure Performance. This exploratory research examined the utility of routine quantitative admission criteria (GPA, standardized tests, prerequisite grades, etc.) to predict program and NPTE success among PTA students on a national level.

Kabiri L, Brewer W, Ortiz A, Mitchell K. (2016) Fitness Assessment in the Homeschooled: The FAITH Study. This cross-sectional study examined the effect of homeschooling on body composition, muscular fitness, cardiorespiratory fitness, and motor skill development among 5–11-year-old children.

Undergraduate Research Engagement and Mentoring

Want to assist with ongoing research? Need assistance with your own research study? Below are several options for Rice SMEP majors to get involved with research.

  • Undergraduate Research Assistant – Kabiri Research Group
    There are currently no lab openings for undergraduate research assistants with the Kabiri Research Group.
  • Data Analysis and Dissemination Assistance
    Declared majors with external research experience may seek faculty assistance with data analysis and dissemination. Dr. Kabiri is happy to assist with these projects which culminate in the creation of a poster to be presented at the local, state, or national level and/or a manuscript to be submitted for peer-reviewed publication.
  • Student-Led Research
    From study design and IRB approval to data collection and analysis, Dr. Kabiri can assist declared SMEP majors with designing, implementing, and disseminating their own student-led research study. This opportunity is offered on an individual basis. Careful consideration of available time and resources should be evaluated with at least two years dedicated to a typical project.
  • External Research Internships
    Periodically, opportunities to assist with SMEP-related research in neighboring institutions within the Texas Medical Center will arise. These opportunities will be emailed to all declared majors through the department administration.