Department of Psychiatry
Center for Health and Community
Nicole (Nicki) Bush's research focuses on the manner in which early social contexts interface with individual differences to affect developmental trajectories across the life course. Her work aims to elucidate the sources for social disparities in health by examining the interplay of biology (physiology, genetics, epigenetics) and context (SES, parenting, neighborhoods) in youth development, as physiological systems mature and social environments change. She examines these processes throughout early development, including the prenatal period.
Dr. Bush examines how socioeconomic, parental, and environmental risks for pathology are modulated by individual differences in children's temperamental, neurobiological, and genetic reactivity to stress. She also investigates the ways in which contextual experiences of adversity become biologically embedded by changing children's developing physiologic systems and epigenetic processes, thereby shaping individual differences that mediate and moderate the effects of context on trajectories of development and health. Her latest project studies the manner in which maternal stress and weight during pregnancy "programs" offspring physiology in ways that place infants on trajectories towards a life course of high stress reactivity and/or obesity. Her examinations of how social disadvantage interacts with and alters children's biological stress response systems aim to clarify the etiology of children's mental and physical health outcomes and subsequent adult health, with a larger goal of informing health policies and interventions aimed at reducing population health disparities.
Dr. Bush is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, in the Department of Psychiatry. She was a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the UCSF/UCB site, and prior to that, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in children's physiological stress reactivity at UC Berkeley. She received her PhD in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington and completed her child clinical training internship at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
University of California, San Francisco
3333 California Street, Suite 465
Campus Box 0844
San Francisco, CA 94143-0844
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