Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research and The Center for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
Distinguished University Professor, S. Robert Davis Chair of Medicine, Director, Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, Professor, Psychiatry, Professor, Psychology, Professor, COPH - Hlt Beh & Hlt Promotion
College of Medicine
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research
Wexner Medical Center
460 Medical Center Dr.
Columbus, OH 43210
Research Lab: Stress and Health Research Program
Research Goals: Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser’s research focuses on the ways in which stress and depression alter metabolic responses to meals and how physical fitness affects inflammation, a robust and reliable predictor of all-cause mortality in older adults.
Psychoneuroimmunology (behavioral immunology)
Close relationships, inflammation, and health
Stress and inflammation in cancer survivors
Behavioral influences on metabolism following high-fat meals
Research Techniques: Diverse methodologies including randomized controlled trials, longitudinal observational studies, and elaborate laboratory paradigms
Current Research: One segment of her current research focuses on the ways in which stress and depression alter metabolic responses to meals. An initial study showed that women who had experienced more recent stressors burned fewer calories after a fast-food type meal, and also had both lower fat oxidation and higher insulin compared to women with fewer stressors. Burning fewer calories leads to weight gain. Furthermore, people with lower fat oxidation are more likely to gain weight by storing fat than those with higher fat oxidation, and thus their risk for obesity is increased. Higher levels of insulin foster fat storage. These adverse changes would all promote obesity.
Additionally, this study also showed that depression substantially augments triglyceride responses to high saturated fat meals in ways that promote heart disease. Depression has well-established effects on heart disease morbidity and mortality, and these meal-related changes highlighted a previously unrecognized depression-sensitive pathway.
During stressful times many people turn to calorie-dense high-fat “comfort” food. While the influence of stress and depression on food choice is well-established, these novel data suggest that stress and depression also affect metabolic responses to these meals. A longitudinal study in her lab is now addressing how these metabolic responses impact coronary artery calcification and weight change in breast cancer survivors.
Another segment of her current research focuses on how physical fitness affects inflammation, a robust and reliable predictor of all-cause mortality in older adults. Chronic inflammation signals a heightened risk for disability and mortality even in the absence of clinical disease. Although inflammation rises with age, active individuals have lower levels of inflammation than those who are more sedentary. Indeed, when fitness is assessed objectively by maximal exercise testing, poorer physical fitness is clearly associated with higher inflammation.
An immune challenge provides a useful paradigm for studying an individual's ability to limit the daily inflammatory responses that occur in response to infection or tissue injury. For this reason, another of her studies uses a typhoid vaccine as a peripheral immune stimulus to assess the magnitude and kinetics of a transient inflammatory response and associated behavioral changes that are associated with heightened inflammation -- depressive symptoms, fatigue, cognitive problems, and increased pain sensitivity. She and her colleagues address a novel question: does poorer physical fitness heighten the magnitude and duration of inflammatory responses to immune challenges, as well as magnifying maladaptive behavioral responses?
This study will improve our understanding of how physical fitness influences inflammation, as well as adverse inflammation-associated behavioral changes including negative mood, fatigue, increased pain sensitivity, and cognitive deficits. This project will provide insight into the pathways through which regular exercise produces its substantial health benefits.
Active Funding: National Cancer Institute/NIH
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Derry HM, Fagundes CP (in press). Inflammation: Depression fans the flames and feasts on the heat. American Journal of Psychiatry.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Habash D, Fagundes CP, Andridge R, Peng J, Malarkey WB, Belury MA (2015). Daily stressors, past depression, and metabolic responses to high-fat meals: A novel path to obesity. Biological Psychiatry, 77: 653–660.PMCID: PMC4289126
Kiecolt-Glaser JK Jaremka LJ, Andridge R, Peng J, Habash D., Fagundes CP, Glaser R, Malarkey WB, Belury MA (2015). Marital discord, past depression, and metabolic responses to high-fat meals: Interpersonal pathways to obesity. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 52: 239-250.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Bennett JM, Andridge RR, Peng J, Shapiro CL, Malarkey WB, Emery CF, Layman R, Mrozek EE, Glaser R. (2014). Yoga’s impact on inflammation, mood, and fatigue in breast cancer survivors: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 32(10) 1040-1047. PMCID: PMC3965259
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Loving TJ, Stowell JR, Malarkey WB, Lemeshow S, Dickinson SL, Glaser R (2005). Hostile marital interactions, proinflammatory cytokine production, and wound healing. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62:1377-1384.
Glaser R, Kiecolt-Glaser JK (2005). Stress-induced immune dysfunction: Implications for health. Nature Reviews Immunology 5:243-251.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Preacher KJ, MacCallum RC, Atkinson C, Malarkey WB, Glaser R (2003). Chronic stress and age-related increases in the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 100:9090-9095. PMCID: PMC166443
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Newton TL (2001). Marriage and health: His and hers. Psychological Bulletin 127:472-503.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Page GG, Marucha PT, MacCallum RC, Glaser R (1998). Psychological influences on surgical recovery: Perspectives from psychoneuroimmunology. American Psychologist, 53, 1209-1218.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Marucha PT, Malarkey W B, Mercado, AM, Glaser R (1995). Slowing of wound healing by psychological stress. Lancet, 346, 1194-1196.
Current Staff Members:
Cathie Atkinson, PhD
Michael Di Gregorio, MS, CCRP
Heather Derry, MS
Rebecca Andridge, PhD
Martha Belury, PhD
Ronald Glaser, PhD
Maryam Lustberg, MD
William Malarkey, MD
Subha Raman, PhD
John Sheridan, PhD
1972 B.A., University of Oklahoma
1976 Ph.D., University of Miami
Postgraduate Education/Training: 1976-1978 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Rochester School of Medicine
1986 - present Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
1989 - 1992 Health Psychology
1990 - 2008 Psychosomatic Medicine
1992 - 1995 Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences
1992 - 1995 Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology
1993 - 1998 Journal of Applied Biobehavioral Research
1994 - 1995 Psychophysiology
1994 - 1998 Women's Health: Research on Gender Behaviors and Policy
1994 - 2004 Journal of Behavioral Medicine
1996 - 1999 British Journal of Health Psychology
2001-Present Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, elected member
2013-2017 Advisory Council, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
2014-2016 National Research Council of the National Academies, Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences
2002-Present Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
1972 Phi Beta Kappa
1972 Graduate Fellowship
1972 B.A. with Highest Honors
1984 New Investigator Award. Society of Behavioral Medicine
1985 Fellow. Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research
1988 Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology, Division of Health Psychology
1990 First Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Scientific/Academic Psychology, Department of Psychology
1992 - 2002 NIMH Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award, PI
1993 Distinguished Scholar Award. Office of Research
1997 - 2002 Research Career Development Award (K02)
1999 Developmental Health Psychology Award. Divisions of Health Psychology and Adult Development and Aging
1999 - 2000 President. Division of Health Psychology
2001 Elected Member. Institute of Medicine
2002 Election as a Fellow
2002 AAAS Fellow
2002 Listed in the Institute for Scientific Information ISIHighlyCited.Com. Institute for Scientific Information ISIHighlyCited.com
2003 Master Lecture. American Psychological Association, Toronto
2004 S. Robert Davis Chair of Medicine
2005 Patricia R. Barchas Award (For outstanding contributions to the study of the impact of social behavior on physiology). American Psychosomatic Society
2007 Outstanding Contributions to Health Psychology. Division of Health Psychology
2008 Distinguished University Professor
Postdoctoral fellow, current: Kimberly Bowen, PhD.
Postdoctoral fellows, training completed:
Lisa Jaremka, PhD
Christopher Fagundes, PhD
Jeanette Bennett, PhD
Jennifer Graham, PhD
Kathi Heffner, PhD
Timothy Loving, PhD
Lynanne McGuire, PhD
Susan Robinson-Whelen, PhD
Bert Uchino, PhD
Tamara Newton, PhD
Graduate students, current:
Heather Derry, MS
Spenser Hughes, MS
Monica Lindgren, MS
Graduate students, training completed:
Liisa Hantsoo, PhD
Jean-Phillipe Gouin, PhD
Lisa Christian, PhD
Theodore Robles, PhD
Catherine Applegate, PhD
Ellen Redinbaugh, PhD
Cathie Atkinson, PhD
Deanna Golden-Kreutz, PhD
Karl Stukenberg, PhD