Funded By: National Institutes of Health
Principal Investigator: Professor Firdaus Dhabhar, Ph.D.
Although stress generally has a "bad" reputation, a short-term stress is response is nature's fundamental protective mechanism without which neither predator nor prey could survive. We are interested in identifying biological mechanisms that mediate and differentiate the recently appreciated immunoenhancing effects of short-term stress (eustress) from the well-known immunosuppressive effects of long-term stress (distress). We hope to use the knowledge gained from these studies to design bio-behavioral interventions that would harness endogenous mediators to manipulate immune function to confer maximum benefit for the patient. Our pre-clinical studies involve models of skin cell-mediated immunity, vaccines, and skin cancer. Collaborative clinical research projects examine psychological, endocrine, and immune factors in the context of breast cancer (Spiegel et al, Stanford), knee surgery (Ickovics et al, Yale), caregiving stress (Epel et al, UCSF), depression (Wolkowitz et al, UCSF), meditation (Saron et al. UC Davis), and post-traumatic stress disorder (Altemus et al, Cornell).
For more information, please email Dr. Firdaus Dhabhar.