Kate M. Guthrie Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (Research), Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences (Research)

Dr. Guthrie (nee Morrow)  is currently Associate Professor (Research) in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and Senior Research Scientist at The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral & Preventive Medicine. She is the Director of the Qualitative Science & Methods Training Program. She also holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Behavioral & Social Sciences in the Brown School of Public Health. Dr. Guthrie received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from Western Michigan University. She completed an NIAAA Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at the Centers for Alcohol & Addiction Studies at Brown University. Her primary research interests focus on the behavioral prevention of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, through the development of biomedical and behavioral prevention technologies, and the exploration of biophysical, behavioral, and social/contextual factors impacting prevention behaviors. Her current research predominantly explores user sensory perceptions and experiences (USPEs; known as "perceptibility") of anti-HIV/STI microbicides and other drug delivery devices and their role in product acceptability and adherence. In addition, she has developing interests in patient experience, quality of life, and palliative care.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

research overview

Kate Guthrie, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, CBPM, The Miriam Hospital. Her research focuses on prevention interventions and the development of biomedical products and devices for the prevention of unintended pregnancy, and HIV/STI. Specifically, she incorporates quantitative and qualitative methodologies to characterize user sensory perceptions and experiences of product use (perceptibility), developing measures to evaluate potential products under development. The goal is to better understand what products feel like when used, as well as the meaning users derive from those experiences, thereby facilitating positive user-centered product development and resulting in increased acceptability of, and adherence to, prevention products. 

research statement

CURRENT RESEARCH:

(see Dr. Guthrie's cv for additional studies not described here)

Project DRUM-S (U19 AI101961; Guthrie, sub Principal Investigator), is an NIH Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Program (IPCP), an award mechanism designed to conduct interdisciplinary research in a preclinical setting with the goal of developing safe and effective biomedical prevention products. This particular project seeks to develop a topical microbicide that can be used in either the rectum or the vagina, or both. Dr. Guthrie's team is focused on developing psychometrically validated user sensory perception and experience (USPE; perceptibility) scales for rectal use, building on their previous work (below) in vaginal USPEs. Target populations include both men who have sex with men (regardless of sexual orientation) and women who have anal sex. The Guthrie lab works closely with bioengineers and formulation scientists, as well as the lead Principal Investogator (Buckheit; ImQuest BioScience) which developed the pharmaceutical agent being tested.

Project 4 of the Oak Crest Institute of Science's Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Program (U19 AI113048: Guthrie, sub Principal Investigator). This U19 is working to develop an innovative intravaginal ring drug delivery system. Dr. Guthrie's role is to conduct the formative work necessary for development of perceptibility and acceptability measures similar in purpose and scope to those her team has developed for vaginal formulations composed of soft materials (such as vaginal gels, films and suppositories). Positing that biomechanical and materials properties of intravaginal rings can also be felt and evaluated by users, and, further, positing that these sensory experiences play a critical role in user opinions and decision-making regarding future use, Dr. Guthrie's team is working to develop USPE measures applicable to the intravaginal ring use experience. 

Project WISH (K24 HD062645: Guthrie, Principal Investigator), is an NICHD-funded midcareer development award with 2 primary goals. One goal involves the further development of Dr Guthrie's career into sexual and reproductive health (SRH) more broadly (i.e., beyond HIV prevention). The research study involves translating perceptibility- and adherence-related work to the realm of contraception and sexual lubricant use. The goal is to develop a framework for understanding "Effective Use" of SRH products. The second primary goal of the K24 award is to provide protected time for Dr. Guthrie to mentor junior faculty and post-doctoral trainees in qualitative and mixed methods research design and implementation. Dr. Guthrie, along with Dr. Rochelle Rosen, a long-time colleague and medical anthropologist, co-lead an introductory seminar on qualitative and mixed methods every year, and Dr. Guthrie directs a skills-based workshop series in qualitative design and methods.

Dr. Guthrie also works with her colleagues on other behavioral health projects. Her methodologies focus on qualitative and mixed methods: in this capacity, she studies numeroud other behavioral health concerns, including diabetes, smoking cessation, intimate partner violence, linkages to care, and pulmonary arterial hypertension, among others.

(... more to come...)

PAST RESEARCH:

The FAB Project (R01 AI112002: Guthrie sub Principal Investigator), is a Preclinical Innovation Program award designed to promote innovative strategies in nonvaccine biomedical prevention. Dr. Guthrie's team is responsible for facilitating the iterative development of vaginal drug delivery formulations from drug-eluting fiber technology. The project iterates between user-centered design and preclinical safety and efficacy studies, wirth the goal of developing both a pericoital and sustained release version of the drug-eluting fiber forms.

Project WIND and Project 6 (preclinical study) (U19 AI096398: Guthrie, Project WIND Lead Investigator; Co-Investigator for parent U19), is an NIH Integrated Preclinical/Clinical Program (IPCP), as award mechanism designed to conduct interdisciplinary research in a preclinical setting with the goal of developing safe and effective biomedical prevention products. This particular project seeks to develop an HIV prevention product using a novel topical formulation (vaginal film) and delivering a new class of active pharmaceutical ingredient (plant-derived monoclonal antibodies). Dr. Guthrie's team is tasked with using qualitative methods to determine how best to help potential participants understand the product and how it works, so that appropriate informed consent procedures and other support for participation in the study can be developed. Further, they will us the formative data to adapt existing USPE scales for use with vaginal film products.

Project MIST (R33 AI076967; Morrow, sub Principal Investigator) is an NIH Microbicide Innovation Program (MIP) award, an award mechanism designed to accelerate and advance innovation in the development of anti-HIV microbicides. The project is designed to expand the findings of Project LINK (below) by specifically exploring the impact of formulation volume on user sensory perceptions and experiences (USPE), as well as being the first study to explore USPE in vaginal film use. Like Project LINK, the ultimate goal is to develop a framework for developing vaginal formulations that meet specific preclinical criteria for user sensory perception and experience measures (developed in Project LINK), thus conserving resources (by removing unacceptable products from the pipeline early) and accelerating acceptable products through the development pipeline and increasing the likelihood of greater adherence during clinical trials.

Project LINK (R21/R33 MH80591; Morrow, Principal Investigator) is an NIH Microbicide Innovation Program (MIP) award, an award mechanism designed to accelerate and advance innovation in the development of anti-HIV microbicides. The project is designed to provide proof-of-concept that vaginal microbicide users can feel and discriminate variations in product formulations, and that these perceptions impact the user's willingness to use the product. The ultimate goal is to develop a framework for developing vaginal gels that meet specific preclinical criteria for acceptability dimensions, thus conserving resources (by removing unacceptable products from the pipeline early) and accelerating acceptable products through the development pipeline and increasing the likelihood of greater adherence during clinical trials.

Project MAPLE (U19 AI077289 (Buckheit, PI): Long Acting Acceptable Microbicides: Novel Delivery, Activity & Pharmacodynamics, Project 3) was one of three studies within the larger U19 mechanism. Its purpose was to explore the biophysical and biomechanical variables that impact product acceptability with respect to long-acting vaginal gels (LAGs) and intravaginal rings (IVRs). The goal was to provide guidance for the development of acceptable LAGs and IVRs for use as anti-HIV microbicides.

AID.1233-14-07567(Coffey, PI) was a USAID-funded study exploring the "Feasibility and Acceptability of SILCS Diaphragm as a Microbicide Delivery System." The study aim was to test the deployment characteristics, as well as feasibility and acceptability of, a delivery system combining a microbicide gel and the SILCS diaphragm to effectively deliver a vaginal gel formulated microbicide.

The Phoenix Project (R01 MH 064455; Morrow, Principal Investigator) was a NIMH-funded project with the primary goal of designing and evaluating measures of factors hypothesized to be related to vaginal microbicide acceptability. Several scales were identified and psychometrically validated. They include a "Willingness to Use Microbicides" scale, a "Relationship Quality " measure, a "Microbicide Confidence" Scale, a scale measuring the "Importance of Microbicide Characteristics," and a cognitive/behavioral Risk Index. Analyses support conceptualization of microbicide acceptability as a multi-factorial construct highly impacted by person-, product-, and context-related factors.

Dr. Guthrie (nee Morrow) served as the acceptability studies chair in both the HIV Prevention Network (HIVNET) and the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN). Across four Phase-1 clinical safety trials of candidate vaginal microbicides (HPTN 009, HPTN 020, HPTN 050, HPTN 049) she and her teams have confirmed the overall acceptability of gel-formulated microbicides, and have explored factors hypothesized to be related to microbicide acceptability. These include the relationship context, the need or desire for a microbicide that not only prevents or reduces the likelihood of HIV infection, but also provides protection from other STDs and pregnancy, the need or desire to use a microbicide "covertly," such that the partner is unaware of its use, and the product's impact on sexual pleasure.

As Principal Investigator of Project START, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded HIV/STD behavioral prevention intervention development and evaluation project designed for young men leaving the incarcerated setting, she and her colleagues successfully conducted formative qualitative and quantitative studies culminating in the development of two intervention strategies. Primary outcome data from a randomized trial showed that the enhanced intervention (which focused on both HIV/STD prevention and transitional needs as men re-entered their communities) resulted in greater proportions of safer sex behavior than the standard intervention (a single-session HIV/STD prevention session). The intervention has completed development as a CDC REP study and currently enjoys its status as a CDC DEBI (Diffusion of Effective Behavioral Interventions) program.

funded research

CURRENT RESEARCH:

K24 HD062645 (Guthrie, PI):NICHD: 04/01/2012-03/31/2017: Advancing Reproductive Health: Qualitative Methods & Interdisciplinary Mentorship

U19 AI0196-1 (Guthrie, SubPI, Buckheit, PI) NIAID: 06/01/12 – 05/31/17:  Development and Evaluation of Dual Compartment Combination Microbicides

U19 AI096398 and Supplement (Guthrie, suppPI; Anderson, PI) NIAID 8/1/2011-7/31/2017:  Monoclonal Antibody-Based Multipurpose Microbicides

U19 AI113048 (Guthrie, SubPI, Baum, PI)  NIAID  08/11/2014-07/31/2019:  Systematic Development of Antiretroviral Intravaginal Rings for HIV Prevention


RECENT/PAST RESEARCH:

R21/R33MH080591 (Morrow, PI): NIMH 09/01/06-08/31/12
Linking Biophysical Functions of Microbicides to user Perception & Acceptability

PPA-09-023 (Morrow, PI); CONRAD 09/01/09-8/31/11
Evaluation of the Behavioral Measures of Acceptability of Two Vaginal Gels

R33 AI076967 (Morrow, subPI: Buckheit, PI): NIAID 11/1/09-2/28/13
Rational Development of Combination Microbicide Therapies

U19 AI077289 (Morrow, subPI; Buckheit, PI): NIAID 06/27/08-5/31/13
Development of Long Acting Acceptable Microbicides: Novel Delivery, Activity & Pharmacodynamics
Lead Investigator for Project 3, "Preclinical User Acceptability Studies of Long-Acting Vaginal Gels and Intravaginal Rings."

R01 AI112002 (Guthrie, SubPI, Woodrow, PI) NIAID  2/10/2014-1/31/2018:  Combination HIV prevention in drug-eluting fibers: designing for efficacy and use

R21/R33 AI094514 (Morrow, subPI; Hayes, PI)NIAID: 5/20/2011-4/30/2016
Designing Optimal Microbicide Delivery Integrating Rheology and Acceptability

AID.1233-14-07567-SUB (Coffey): USAID 11/01/07-02/28/10
Feasibility and Acceptability of SILCS Diaphragm as a Microbicide Delivery System.