Stress Research Group

CRF has established a Research Group of Five College faculty interested in understanding the physiological mechanisms of stress and how stress affects health across the life-span. Family relationships and animal pair bonding are important contexts within which stress is examined in this research group. Twenty faculty members led by Lynnette Leidy Sievert and Jeff Blaustein, meet every other week at CRF with the aim of forging long-term research collaborative projects.  Notably, this research group includes researchers who work with animal models as well as those who work with human populations using a wide variety of methods, from epidemiology to endocrinological assess­ments in the field and lab. The Stress Research Group also hosts a Stress Lecture Series, which brings national experts to campus to present public lectures and to consult with the research group.

Want to get involved? 
Email: crf@psych.umass.edu

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Smith College
Stress Research Group
Research:

Beery's research lab studies the neurobiology of prosocial behavior.  We use group-living rodents to focus on pathways supporting affiliative social behavior between peers, using a variety of species and behavioral paradigms. In a second line of research, we study the role of early life experience on development of later social behaviors, and epigenetic mechanisms (among others) by which experience changes the brain and behavior.

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Associate Professor, School of Public Health and Health Sciences
Stress Research Group
Research:

Ellizabeth Bertone-Johnson studies nutritional epidemiology, focusing on Vitamin D and women's health conditions including premenstrual syndrome, depression and breast cancer. She recently received a five-year, $868,857 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institutes of Health to study women’s mental health, with special emphasis on premenstrual syndrome and the role vitamin D may play in counteracting its effects on women.

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Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Neuroscience and Behavior Program
Co-Director, Stress Research Group
Research:

In order to learn how hormones act in the brain to modify brain function and behavior and how the social environment can influences these processes, we study the cellular and neuroanatomical mechanisms of ovarian steroid hormone action on reproductive behavior and the interactions between the environment, neurotransmitters and steroid hormone receptors. Although much of our work has focused

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Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Family Research Scholar 2008-2009
Stress Research Group
Research:

Matt Davidson's research program targets a better understanding of the development of executive functions, including attention, working memory and cognitive control. Current studies are exploring the effects of physical activity on cognitive abilities and emotional stability in children and young adults,

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Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Depression Specialty Clinic at the UMass Memorial Medical Center
Stress Research Group
Research:
Professor, Public Health
Stress Research Group
Research:

Dr. Hankinson has been a senior investigator with the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and NHS II, two long-term ongoing cohort studies of women’s health for over 20 years, and was Principal Investigator of the NHS from 2006 to 2011. Her research predominantly focuses on breast cancer etiology and prevention along with the incorporation of biomarkers into epidemiologic research. With funding from NIH for the past 18 years, she has concentrated on lifestyle and endogenous predictors of both breast cancer risk and survival.

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Tippet Professor in Life Sciences
Psychology, Smith College
Stress Research Group
Research:

Mary Harrington researches circadian rhythm entrainment.  Her past research has been on neural systems mediating entrainment, in particular non-photic entrainment pathways utilizing neuropeptide Y and serotonin.  Currently she is investigating the role of circadian disruption in health.  One line of research examines effects of

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Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences (Developmental Division)
Neuroscience and Behavior Program
Family Research Scholar 2011-12
Stress Research Group
Early Childhood Group
Research:

Jennifer McDermott’s research explores the role of early experience in relation to children’s cognitive and affective development. Her past work reveals that early adversity impairs physiological and behavioral indices

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Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Stress Research Group
Research:

Jerrold Meyer’s research program has two major themes. The first theme concerns the neurotoxic and behavioral effects of drugs of abuse, with a current focus on MDMA (“Ecstasy”). We are particularly interested in MDMA preconditioning (the ability of moderate MDMA pretreatment to blunt the serotonergic neurotoxic effects of a subsequent MDMA binge) as well as the interactions between MDMA and

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Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Stress Research Group
Research:
Professor and Chair, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Stress Research Group
Research:

Melinda Novak established the UMass Primate Laboratory, a small primate facility in which students receive training in handling and managing captive primates, performing behavioral and health assessments, and conducting research.  Dr. Novak is Head of the Behavioral Primatology Unit at the New England Primate Research Center at Harvard Medical School where she conducts her federally funded research on

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Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
CRF Director
Family Research Scholar 2006
Care, Work and Family Policy Network
Steering Committee
Stress Research Group
Research:

Maureen Perry-Jenkins is a nationally renowned scholar whose contributions on the national, state, regional, and university levels have had profound impact. Her work focuses on the ways in which socio-cultural factors such as race,

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Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Family Research Scholar 2003-04
Stress Research Group
Steering Committee
Research:

Paula Pietromonaco is a social psychologist whose work focuses on how people think, feel, and behave in the context of their closest relationships. Her particular interest lies in how couple members influence each other’s ability to manage their emotions, and how these relationship processes are connected to emotional and physical health over time.

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Associate Dean, College of Natural Sciences (Faculty Development)
Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Stress Research Group
Research:

As a developmental psychopathologist, Sally Powers’ investigates the interaction of normal developmental processes and psychopathology in adolescents and young adults.  

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Associate Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Family Research Scholar 2008-09
Stress Research Group
Research:

Ready is a geriatric neuropsychologist with research interests in the assessment of mood, quality of life, and well-being in aging populations. She is particularly interested in assessment of these constructs in dementia patients, both from caregiver and patient perspectives, and am interested in the memory processes that are involved in recall and reporting mood, quality of life, and well-being. As a

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Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences, Neuroscience and Behavior Program
Stress Research Group
Research:

The Healey lab studies the electrophysiological and neurochemical phenomena that govern natural behavior. We focus on songbirds because of their many biological/behavioral parallels with humans. Many of these phenomena are readily accessible in the laboratory, including lifelong pairbonds, biparental care, vocal learning, and widespread production of steroid hormones in the brain. Our work and the work of our collaborators has demonstrated that the neurobiological and neuroendocrine mechanisms of social bonding are conserved between songbirds and mammals.

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Assistant Professor, Psychological and Brain Sciences
Family Research Scholar 2010-11
Stress Research Group
Research:

Heather Richardson studies the influences of heavy, episodic alcohol consumption (i.e. “binge drinking”) on neurological and behavioral development using rodent models. Early onset alcohol use is one of the strongest predictors of a lifetime prevalence of alcohol dependence and is associated with cognitive impairments and

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Professor, Anthropology
Family Research Scholar 2004-05 & 2008-09
Co-Director, Stress Research Group
Steering Committee
Research:

Lynnette Leidy Sievert is a biological anthropologist whose research has focused on age at menopause and symptom experience at menopause as two aspects of human variation. She is also interested in the evolution of menopause and

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Assistant Professor of Nutrition
Commonwealth Honors College Professor of Nutrition
Family Research Scholar 2013-2014
Stress Research Group
Research:

Lisa Troy uses the novel application of pattern analysis to examine diet and exercise on chronic disease prevention. She also studies how government programs and policies impact diet quality and public health outcomes. Toward accomplishing these goals, she developed the DGAI_2010, an Index to measure adherence to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, Public Health
Stress Research Group
Research:

Brian Whitcomb's research focues on epidemiologic evaluation of the immune system and inflammatory factors in adverse pregnancy outcomes and menstrual cycle function and dysfunction. Using serum samples collected early in gestation from participants in a large study of pregnancy, we have considered levels of a panel of cytokines, including Th1, Th2 and growth factors, comparing cases of miscarriage and

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