About Our Research Program

As part of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, directed by Lisa Christian, PhD, the Stress and Health in Pregnancy Research Program examines how psychosocial factors (stress, social support and depressed mood) affect health during pregnancy and postpartum, including risk of preterm delivery, postpartum depression and risk for obesity. Our studies focus primarily on how stress may increase risk of negative health outcomes by affecting the immune system using psychoneuroimmunology research models.

Our research is funded by The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science, The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and The Ohio State University Food Innovation Center.

Meet Our Research Team

Christian Lisa 2017Lisa Christian, Ph.D. (Principal Investigator)

Lisa Christian is an associate professor of psychiatry with joint appointments in the Department of Psychology and Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is also a member of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. Dr. Christian received her Ph.D. in clinical health psychology from The Ohio State University after completing an internship in clinical psychology at the University of Florida Health Science Center. In her free time, Lisa enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and two children.

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Mary Lower, MPH

Mary is a clinical research coordinator in the Stress and Health in Pregnancy Research Program at the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. She has a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and a Master in public health specializing in health behavior and health promotion. Mary is interested in improving overall health and wellness specifically nutrition, exercise and obesity. Outside the lab Mary enjoys baking, working out and spending time with friends and family.


Undergraduate Students

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Savannah Headley

Savannah is a fourth-year pre-medicine undergraduate student majoring in neuroscience and minoring in molecular genetics and bioethics at The Ohio State University. She is an active member of the Mortar Board Senior Class Honorary and Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity. Savannah enjoys volunteering at The James Cancer Hospital, reading, hiking, and spending time with friends and family.



Aminat Adewumi

Aminat is a third-year undergraduate student from Mason, Ohio. She is studying Public Health with a specialization in Sociology.  At Ohio State University, she is an executive board member for African Youth League and an ambassador to the College of Public Health. In her free time she enjoys volunteering with her orgs, making music with her friends, and spending time with family.


Mari Casas

Mari is a second-year pre-medicine undergraduate student studying psychology at The Ohio State University. Around campus, she is involved in the concerts committee of OUAB and a volunteer at the Wexner Medical Center. She enjoys spending her free time volunteering at the Boys & Girls Club, hanging out with friends and family, and listening to music!

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