Dr. Jenalee Doom

 
Jena.jpg

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver.

My research integrates the fields of developmental, social, and health psychology and public health to understand pathways from childhood stress to later mental and physical health problems. In addition, I study the social mechanisms by which individuals may be protected from early life stress.

I was born and raised in rural South Dakota. I then attended the University of Notre Dame where I double-majored in psychology and pre-professional studies. I joined the Cognition & Emotion lab led by Dr. Gerald Haeffel during my sophomore year, where I was able to conduct my own study on stress, depression, and health. I was captivated by the scientific method and the literature on childhood stress and health, and I knew I wanted to spend my career understanding the ways in which early stress and social relationships can impact health throughout the lifespan.

To gain training in the biological embedding of early experiences across development, I pursued my PhD at the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development working with Dr. Megan Gunnar. In the Human Developmental Psychobiology lab, my colleagues and I conducted studies of the effects of early stress (orphanage care) on children’s health and development, and also conducted a series of studies on whether parents and friends are able to buffer children and adolescents from social stress. I worked with Dr. Dante Cicchetti on examining neurobiological and behavioral correlates of child maltreatment. I also collaborated with Dr. Michael Georgieff on studies of nutrition (iron deficiency and growth stunting) and stress in children who were adopted from orphanage care.

The research I conducted in grad school led me to pursue further training in the pathways by which early stress and nutrition interact to predict cardiovascular health and obesity in adulthood. I am currently pursuing my postdoctoral training with Dr. Betsy Lozoff, with funding from NICHD (F32HD088029) on interactions between stress, nutrition, and health. I also collaborate with Dr. Alison Miller and Dr. Julie Lumeng on studies of early stress, stress system functioning, childhood obesity, and health.

The research I conduct at the University of Denver integrates the fields of developmental, social, and health psychology to understand how stress “gets under the skin” to affect mental and physical health and to develop interventions that short-circuit these mechanisms to improve public health.