2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Biology
Mentor: Ian Gotlib (Psychology)

“Examining the Impact of Early Life Stress on Adolescent Brain Structure and Inflammation”

Early life stress (ELS) is associated with significant negative outcomes, including high rates of psychopathology in adolescence. To better understand the effects of ELS on adolescent psychological functioning, it is important to elucidate biological mechanisms that shape brain structure. One such mechanism is altered immune function, specifically inflammation. Further, different kinds of stressors may differentially affect neuroimmune associations. Emma plans to examine how various types of ELS affect the association between inflammation and brain structure in adolescents. Emma will use an immune signaling protein (blood cytokine) levels to measure inflammation, structural MRI to assess gray matter volume, and clinical interviews to assess ELS. This work will explore the associations between stress and neuroimmunity.