About Our Research Program

As part of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, directed by Lisa Christian, PhD, the Stress, Behavioral Immunology, and Health Disparities Lab examines how exposures to chronic stress, mood disorders, anxiety, and sleep disturbance interact in a bi-directional manner with the immune and neuroendocrine system to affect physical and mental health. Our studies use psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) research approaches to examine how stress “gets under the skin” among individuals caregiving for a spouse with dementia, people coping with cancer, pregnant women, as well as people exposed to chronic stress or discrimination related to race/ethnicity, sexual minority status, or financial strain. An ultimate goal of these studies is to address health disparities and inform behavioral interventions by identifying key pathways by which stress affects health.

Our Team

Christian_Lisa_720x720Lisa Christian, PhD

Principal Investigator

Lisa Christian is an associate professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health and a member of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research where she has been a faculty member since 2008. She received her PhD in clinical health psychology from The Ohio State University after completing internship at the University of Florida Health Science Center. Dr. Christian’s research has been funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIH), National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). Her clinical work focuses on cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders, particularly in women. In addition to these roles, she serves as the Medical Student Advocate within the College of Medicine, helping to advance a positive learning environment. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, vegetarian cooking, reading, and spending time with her two children and two Bernerdoodles.

Academic Profile    Download CV

Michael Di Gregorio, M.S., CCRPMichael Di Gregorio, MS, CCRP

Michael has been with the lab since December, 2000. He is a clinical research manager and serves as the lab manager. He earned his Bachelor of Science from Santa Clara University in Northern California with a double major in Psychology and Mathematics. He continued on at Nova Southeastern University in South Florida where he earned a Masters of Science in Clinical Psychology with emphases in neuropsychology. He has taken additional classes in Chinese medicine, yoga and massage therapy. Outside the lab, Michael enjoys drumming, yoga, soccer and live music.

Annelise Madison, M.A.Annelise Madison, MA

Annelise Madison is a PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology (Health Track). Originally from Nebraska, she received a Bachelor of Arts from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. She is interested in the physiological correlates of stress and depression, including inflammation, vaccine responses, acute stress reactivity, and the gut-brain axis. In her free time, Annelise enjoys traveling, yoga, running, spending time in nature, and writing. She will be completing her pre-doctoral clinical internship at the Boston VA during the 2023-2024 academic year.

Marisa Anthony, B.S.Marisa Anthony, BS

Marisa is a Clinical Research Assistant and the CARE Study Coordinator in the lab. She graduated from the University of Dayton in May of 2021 with a Bachelor's degree in Health Sciences and Behavioral Health. She enjoys focusing on the psychological and behavioral studies of people. She is interested in learning how various life stressors can affect an individual's physiological state over time and how those responses are reflected in their psychological and behavioral health. Outside of the lab, Marisa enjoys traveling and exploring new places, spending time outdoors and being with family and friends.

Mackenna BayMackenna Bay, BS

Mackenna is a Clinical Research Assistant working on the CARE study in the lab. She graduated from Miami University of Ohio in May of 2022 with a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Nutrition, where she also completed her thematic sequence in Gerontology. She is working towards applying to Graduate schools with the plan of becoming a Physician Assistant. She has specific interests in the interrelatedness of mental and gastroenterological health, and how those aspects are linked to the holistic well-being of an individual. Outside of the lab, Mackenna enjoys spending time with her dogs, friends, and family, being involved in social sports leagues, exploring the outdoors, and traveling to new places.

Richard PetrilloRichard Petrillo

Richie is an Undergraduate Research Assistant and a 4th-year Health Sciences student at The Ohio State University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. He is on the pre-medicine track and is interested in how stress and dietary quality affect the rates of aging and chronic disease. Richard enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing pickleball, trying new foods and traveling.

Megan MartinMegan Martin

Megan is a third year undergraduate student studying neuroscience. She is interested in how different stressors affect an individual's mental state. On campus she is involved in numerous student organizations including Block O and Delta Zeta. Being from Texas, Megan enjoys the outdoors, live music and sports, and spending time with friends and family.

Julia FreyJulia Frey

Julia is a Student Research Assistant in the lab. She is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Neuroscience. She is interested in the interaction between immunity and psychology and in the future, plans to become a physician. In her free time, Julia enjoys cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

Anthony KantarasAnthony Kantaras

Anthony Kantaras is an Undergraduate Research Assistant who has been working with the Stress and Health Lab since January 2021. He is currently attending The Ohio State University and working towards a BS in Molecular Neuroscience on a Pre-Med track, expected to graduate in Spring 2024. Starting in May of 2022, Anthony has been working in the lab as a Pelotonia Undergraduate Fellow researching the psychosocial determinants of recovery in post-hematopoietic stem cell transplant Multiple Myeloma patients as part of the CHAMP study. He is interested in the bi-directionality of the brain and the immune system, specifically how psychosocial factors in both patients and caregivers influence treatment-related decision-making and clinical outcomes. Outside of the lab, he enjoys listening to music, running, exploring nature, and spending time with friends!

photonotavailabledrElli Williams

Elli is an Undergraduate Research Assistant who has been working with the Stress and Health Lab since September 2022. She is currently attending The Ohio State University and working towards a BS in Biology on the Pre-Medical track, expected to graduate in Spring 2024. Outside the lab, she enjoys running, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.

More about the Stress, Behavioral Immunology and Health Disparities Lab

More about the Stress, Behavioral Immunology and Health Disparities Lab