Neurobiology of Adult Health (NOAH)

“Dr. Kamarck is very kind, friendly, and always ready to help. He gives clear instructions, encouragement, and advice – especially about applying to graduate school.”

Supervising Faculty: Tom Kamarck, Ph.D. 

Contact: Dr. Kamarck, 

Area of Research:  Biological and Health Psychology

Description of Research: This is a collaborative project funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute that examines a) how differences in daily life stress exposure and differences in susceptibility to the effects of stress may interact in predicting the progression of preclinical cardiovascular disease, b) how these differences may be driven, in part, by brain circuits that generate stress susceptibility, and c) how some of these effects may be moderated by individual differences in physical activity. 385 middle aged community adults are monitored over a representative week at work and at home using electronic diary assessments and measures of ambulatory physiology (blood pressure, physical activity, sleep assessments) in order to assess exposures and responses to daily psychosocial stressors.  In conjunction with collaborators, we are also assessing measures of brain circuitry and markers of preclinical vascular disease, the latter of which will be assessed 32-35 months later, in order to be able to discern the rate of preclinical disease progression. The primary focus in our lab will be on the assessment of daily life behavioral and biological responses that may have implications for disease risk.

Duties of Students: Students will be involved in a number of duties in the laboratory, including training participants in ambulatory monitoring methods, data collection and interviewing with research volunteers, data entry, data management, assisting with the preparation of research materials, and conducting literature searches. Students will have an opportunity to interact with research volunteers, to observe training with volunteers, and to observe some of the laboratory-based measurement procedures. Students will attend weekly research meetings where they will learn about the collection of ambulatory behavioral and biological data, and they will be exposed to ongoing research projects in the laboratory group. Each student will complete a paper or presentation by the end a 2-semester period, with the possibility of participating in a poster presentation in the spring term. 


  • Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • 12 credits of Psychology (including current term)
  • STAT 0200/1000/1100 Statistics
  • PSY 0036 Research Methods Lecture
  • PSY 0037 Research Methods Lab

Terms offered:  Fall, Spring, and Summer terms