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.

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Meet Our Research Team

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

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 third-year pre-medicine undergraduate student studying neuroscience and molecular genetics at The Ohio State University. She is an active member of the Chimes Junior Class Honorary and Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity. Savannah enjoys volunteering at The James Cancer Hospital, reading and spending time with friends and family.


 

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Chrissy Leary

Chrissy is a second-year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University from Tiffin, Ohio. She is studying biology with a minor in Spanish. Chrissy is an executive chairperson for Buckeyes for Life, an active participant with Buck-i-SERV and a resident advisor at Ohio State. Additionally, Chrissy is a shift supervisor at Cheryl & Co. located in the Wexner Medical Center. She enjoys spending the (little!) free time she has shopping, napping and eating her way through Columbus.


 

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Haley Lehmkuhl

Haley is a fourth-year neuroscience major, on the pre-medicine track from Dublin, Ohio. She is the volunteer coordinator for MEDLIFE and enjoys being a part of her sorority Kappa Alpha Theta. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with her friends and family, trying new/weird foods and watching lots of Grey's Anatomy!


 

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Beth Raiff

Beth is a third-year pre-physical therapy undergraduate student studying biology at The Ohio State University. She is vice president of Operations for OSU's chapter of Ohio Health Aid and a member of the OSU women's club water polo team. In her free time she enjoys running, spending time with friends and family, reading and being outside.



 

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Stephanie Wentzel

Stephanie is a third-year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University. She is majoring in neuroscience with a minor in leadership studies on the pre-medicine track. Stephanie is the vice president of Pan-Asian Mental Wellness Association, the volunteer coordinator for Ladies of Leadership and a resident advisor for The Ohio State University. Stephanie enjoys volunteering for the OB-GYN department at Riverside Methodist Hospital, traveling to new cities and trying new foods during her free time.


 

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Selena Wilson

Selena is a first-year undergraduate student at The Ohio State University. She is studying nursing and hopes to attend graduate school to further her education in Nursing. In her spare time she volunteers at Sunrise of Worthington, a rehabilitation and long-term care facility. She enjoys reading, running, helping others and spending time with friends and family.


 

 

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