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Kirstin Aschbacher, PhD

Photograph of Kirstin Aschbacher, PhDDr. Kirstin Aschbacher has joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco in the Spring of 2012. She has been awarded a Patient-Oriented Career Development Award through the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and she is a Fellow with The Institute for Integrative Health in Baltimore, MD.  Her research focuses on mapping the direct physiological pathways from interpersonal and social stressors to cardiovascular disease, in order to develop interventions more specifically tailored to targeting these pathways. 

From a psychological perspective, she is excited to discover sources of stress-resilience and vulnerability that provide modifiable targets for interventions. From a biological perspective, she is particularly interested in understanding how these psychosocial factors impact the function of early Endothelial Progenitor Cells (also alternately called Circulating Angiogenic Cells), a key mechanism of vascular rejuvenation and an early marker of cardiovascular risk. As the subjective experience of stress and how one chooses to navigate that event is inherently a dynamic process, she enjoys employing theoretical and analytic approaches from dynamic systems analysis to illuminate how the process unfolds.

She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Joint Doctoral Program between the Department of Psychiatry at University of California San Diego and the Department of Psychology at San Diego State University, where she specialized in Behavioral Medicine and Psychoneuroimmunology. She also completed a Clinical Internship at University of Washington/Harborview Hospital and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Psychology and Medicine at University of California San Francisco.


Kirstin Aschbacher and colleagues have published a new study that finds that "Stress has unexpected health benefits - sometimes." Read the original article here.

We are honored to announce that Kirstin has just received the Grant-In-Aid Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI).

Kirstin's recent article, "Linking disease symptoms and subtypes with personalized systems-based phenotypes: A proof of concept study" will be in the October 1st issue of Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, with a featured commentary on its innovation. She models the complexity of HPA dynamic function and links it to symptoms.

Kirstin will be presenting Chronic Stress, Cell Aging, and Psychobiological Resilience as the keynote speaker at the International Stress Management Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon March of 2013.

We are proud to announce that Kirstin has received the UCSF Program for Breakthrough Biomedical Research Award, 2011-2012.

Publications on PubMed



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