My research focuses on understanding the early post-event predictors of comorbid trauma- related mental and physical health problems. My work spans individual (e.g., stroke, assault, loss) and collective (e.g., terrorism, mass shootings, disasters) forms of trauma, and explores how widespread media coverage of collective events may impact public health. I specifically examine acute responses to trauma (biological, cognitive, emotional, social, environmental, behavioral) that increase vulnerability to trauma-related health problems, especially cardiovascular disease. Toward this end, I study gene-environment interactions and the roles of several biological systems in acute/post-traumatic stress response: renin-angiotensin-aldosterone, endocannabinoid, and oxytocin systems as well as hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis response. The ultimate goal is to identify targets for early interventions to prevent trauma-related morbidity and mortality and promote resilience following trauma exposure.
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