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Biological Embedding of Intergenerational Transmission of Discrimination Stress in Adolescents

Penn OBGYN conducted a study 10 years ago that collected data on stress, mental health, and discrimination in around 400 birthing parents. The original study also included biospecimen collection (e.g., saliva and cord blood) and geocoding data. We aim to recontact and enroll 200 of those parent/child dyads to collect phenotypic measures and saliva with the hypothesis that prenatal stress, especially stress related to discrimination, causes epigenetic changes that are passed on to the offspring. 

Study Protocol in Progress



The Exposome and its Association with Mental and Physical Health in Early Adolescence

Environment is key to human development, yet the complex network structure of exposures (i.e., exposome) makes it challenging to investigate.

Read our project's publications:


CovidSilience Crowdsourcing Survey: Resilience, COVID-19 Related Stress, Depression and Anxiety 

We created an online survey and collected data from over 9,000 people around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. A subset of participants also completed follow-up surveys at 4 additional timepoints. Using this longitudinal dataset, we have analyzed and continue to analyze how stressors related to COVID-19 have impacted psychological well-being. The figure is from one of the publications from the CovidSilience survey project. 

See our latest CovidSilience paper here



Predicting Suicide Attempt in Youth by Integrating EHR, Clinical, Cognitive and Imaging Data

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth, and a major focus of pediatric and psychiatric research, yet teen suicide rates are on the rise. The proposed research aims to develop novel computational tools that will allow prediction of youth suicide attempts using the individual’s electronic medical record, and help identify which variables (that are currently not part of the medical record) need to be integrated in the medical record of a child in order to optimize such prediction. The findings of this project are expected to translate to clinical practice and help primary care providers timely identify youth at suicide risk and thus contribute to reducing youth suicide rates.

Start Date: 7/1/2020



The Association Between Stress, Depression, and Suicidality in Youth

We investigate associations of traumatic stress exposure with psychopathology, cognition and suicidality in youth samples.

Read our project's publications:

→ Association Between Discrimination Stress and Suicidality in Preadolescent Children

→ Association Between Traumatic Stress Load, Psychopathology, and Cognition in the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort

→ Association Between Early-life Trauma and Obsessive Compulsive Symptoms in Community Youth 

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