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.

 

M. Sima Finy, PhD

Sima Finy is a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. She received her Ph.D. in clinical/community psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign after completing a clinical internship in child psychology at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. Dr. Finy is interested in how psychological processes (e.g., psychosocial stress, self-regulation) interact with the immune and neuroendocrine systems to contribute to physical health and illness. In addition to research, she enjoys dancing, rocking out to music, and all things David Bowie.

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.

 

 

Chrissy Leary Leary cropped

Chrissy is a third-year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University from Tiffin, Ohio. She is studying biology with a minor in Spanish. Chrissy is completing her second year as a Resident Advisor at OSU and is interning at Nationwide Children's Hospital in the Emergency Department this year. Additionally, Chrissy is the Assistant Manager at Cheryl's Cookies located in the Wexner Medical Center. In her free time, Chrissy enjoys shopping and eating her way through Columbus!


Beth Raiff Raiff Elizabeth cropped

Beth is a fourth-year undergraduate student from Cleveland, Ohio. She is majoring in biology with a minor in bioethics. She is the Chief of University Engagement for Universal Health Aid, Columbus and a member of the Ohio State women's club water polo team. Beth works at Tremont Elementary School in Upper Arlington as an after school program aide. In her free time she enjoys cheering on Cleveland sports teams, spending time with friends and family, and being outside.

 

Stephanie Wentzel Wentzel Stephanie cropped

Stephanie is a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in neuroscience with a minor in leadership studies. As a pre-med student, she aspires to become a physician who serves underserved urban communities. Stephanie is the co-president of Pan-Asian Mental Wellness Association, the president of Ladies of Leadership and a resident advisor. Stephanie enjoys traveling to new cities/countries, trying new foods, running, and learning spanish during her free time.

 

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Selena Wilson

Selena is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in health sciences with a minor in clinical psychology. She aspires to go on to graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. In her spare time, she volunteers at Sunrise of Worthington, a rehabilitation and long-term care facility. She enjoys running, reading, helping others, and spending time with family and friends.

 

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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