Jena Doom

Assistant Professor

  • Faculty
  • Department of Psychology
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

What I do

I am an Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Denver's Department of Psychology and Stress, Early Experiences, and Development (SEED) Research Center.

Professional Biography

I completed my B.A. at the University of Notre Dame, PhD at the University of Minnesota's Institute of Child Development, and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. My program of research focuses on the biological and behavioral mechanisms by which childhood stress, such as maltreatment and poverty, influences mental and physical health across the lifespan. I am particularly interested in how childhood stress impacts the early origins of inflammation-related disorders, including depression and cardiovascular disease. My research examines the interactions between risk and protective factors, including nutrition, neighborhood violence, and the quality of social relationships, in children living in high-risk settings, which is crucial for creating interventions that promote resilience. My research also focuses on social buffering, which is a decreased physiological response to stress in the presence of a supportive individual. My research examines whether social buffering may be a mechanism by which individuals are protected from chronic stress and how we can enhance social buffering to create more effective interventions. I work to incorporate research into my teaching and to bring research into the community to inform practice and interventions. My teaching and community relationships also influence the research conducted in my lab. I strive to promote diversity and inclusion in my research and teaching. My overall goal is to promote equity in the community and classroom, giving all individuals the opportunity to have positive health and well-being no matter their background.

Degree(s)

  • Ph.D., Child Development, University of Minnesota, 2016
  • BA, Psychology, University of Notre Dame, 2011

Research

My lab conducts research in the following areas:

1. Elucidating mechanisms between childhood psychosocial stress and health across the lifespan from basic biological processes to social, emotional, and cultural processes.
2. Identifying specific targets for intervention and identifying individuals who have the greatest need for interventions that improve mental and physical health following early psychosocial stress.
3. Creating interventions that decrease risk for inflammation-related disorders such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, and depression following early psychosocial stress.
4. Considering the role of nutrition in the development of mental and physical health problems in the context of chronic stress.
Understanding the development of social buffering and whether we can enhance social buffering to promote resilience following early psychosocial stress.