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Biobehavioral Health Founder's Day event at Penn State to focus on stress

by on April 19, 2017 2:27 PM

UNIVERSITY PARK — Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and behavioral health at Ohio State University College of Medicine, will present the keynote lecture, “How Stress Kills: The Damage and Some Remedies,” at 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 24, in the Ruth Pike Auditorium, Room 22, in the Biobehavioral Health Building on University Park campus. 

The event is free and open to the public.

The lecture is part of the Second annual Founder's Endowment for Excellence and Innovation Research Day, hosted by the Department of Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development.

Kiecolt-Glaser’s talk will describe some of the newer threads in her research on ways that stress impairs health, including recent studies showing metabolic alterations that promote obesity.

“I will also discuss recent data from studies with breast cancer survivors showing that yoga can reduce inflammation,” she said. “The audience will learn about some of the health consequences of stress, some of the ways that everyday health habits promote poor health, and ways in which they can limit some of the consequences of stress.”

Kiecolt-Glaser is also director and S. Robert Davis Endowed Chair in Medicine of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Her research focuses on the ways in which stress and depression alter immune and endocrine function, as well as metabolic responses to meals, and how physical fitness affects inflammation, a robust and reliable predictor of all-cause mortality in older adults.

“I am looking forward to visiting Penn State because of the extraordinary faculty in the Department of Biobehavioral Health,” Kiecolt-Glaser said. “The department has really talented researchers who have international reputations, and I am looking forward to meeting with department faculty and hearing about some of their newer work."

Kiecolt-Glaser, a member of the National Academy of Medicine, has authored more than 250 articles, chapters and books detailing the consequence of stress across the lifespan. This includes unraveling the association between stress and impaired immunity as well as the acceleration of age-related inflammation by chronic stress. Recently, she has expanded her research enterprise to explore the interaction between stress and depression in the context of daily stress, marital discord and major depressive disorder. These recent projects emphasize outcomes related to fatty acid metabolism and obesity, with the goal of identifying common mechanisms promoting weight gain and elevating basal inflammation.

Biobehavioral Health graduate student presentations will be held prior to Kiecolt-Glaser’s talk, from 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. outside of the auditorium, followed by a poster reception at 2:15 p.m. highlighting graduate research in BBH.

The purpose of the Founder’s Endowment for Excellence and Innovation Research Day is to bring in, as a speaker, a world-renowned scientist who conducts research that is important and central to the field of biobehavioral health, according to Christopher Engeland and Anne-Marie Chang, event organizers and assistant professors of BBH. 

The event is made possible through support from the BBH Founders Endowment for Excellence and Innovation. The endowment was created in 2011, at the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Department of Biobehavioral Health. The fund was established by Anne C. Petersen, a former dean of the College of Health and Human Development, and her husband, the Rev. Douglas Petersen.

The fund supports initiatives and activities that enhance the educational and/or outreach efforts of the department in ways that foster innovation, excellence and the advancement of science and knowledge.


  • 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. — Graduate student presentations
  • 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. — Poster reception
  • 3:30 to 5 p.m. — Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, keynote speaker, presenting “How Stress Kills: The Damage and Some Remedies”





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