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Aoife O'Donovan, PhD

Title(s)Associate Professor, Psychiatry
SchoolSchool of Medicine
Address4150 Clement St
San Francisco CA 94121
Phone415-221-4810 ext. 4959
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    Other Positions
    Title(s)UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences


    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse Education and Training
    University of California, San FranciscoPostdoctoral StudiesGraduate Division
    Collapse Awards and Honors
    American Psychosomatic Society2019Herbert Weiner Early Career Award
    International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies2018Chaim and Bela Danieli Young Professional Award
    Society of Biological Psychiatry2018Travel Fellowship Award
    University of California2017Hellman Fellowship Award
    Career Development Institute for Psychiatry2014Trainee Award
    Society in Science2010Branco Weiss Fellowship
    American College of Neuropsychopharmacology2013Travel Award
    Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research2012Neal E. Miller New Investigator Award
    American Psychosomatic Society2008Scholar Award
    Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society2008Trainee Award
    Rotary International2007Ambassadorial Scholarship
    The Fulbright Program2007Fulbright Scholarship
    Psychological Society of Ireland2007Postgraduate Student of the Year
    Newman Scholarship Program2004Craig Dobbin Newman Scholarship
    University College Cork1998College Scholar Award

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse Overview
    People who experience traumatic or enduring psychological stress are more likely to develop psychiatric disorders as well as cardiovascular, autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders. Our research is focused on revealing how psychological stress drives the development of mental and physical disorders. Specifically, we aim to identify the psychological and biological factors that account for the adverse effects of psychological stress, and ultimately to drive the development of targeted interventions to reduce such negative effects of stress. To this end, we are currently focused on uncovering stress-related changes in immune system functioning and on examining how such changes impact brain function and structure.

    Collapse Research 
    Collapse Research Activities and Funding
    Effects of inflammation on neural mechanisms of threat sensitivity in posttraumatic stress disorder
    NIH/NIMH K01MH109871Apr 4, 2016 - Mar 31, 2020
    Role: Principal Investigator

    Collapse ORNG Applications 
    Collapse Featured Publications
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    Collapse In The News
    Collapse Student Projects

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse Publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help. to make corrections and additions.
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    1. Relationships of Inflammation Trajectories with White Matter Volume and Integrity in Midlife. Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Sep 20. O'Donovan A, Bahorik A, Sidney S, Launer LJ, Yaffe K. PMID: 32966872.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    2. Automatic Imitation in Comorbid PTSD & Alcohol Use Disorder and Controls: an RCT of Intranasal Oxytocin. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2020 Jul 04; 120:104787. Morrison TE, De Coster L, Stauffer CS, Wen J, Ahmadi E, Delucchi K, O'Donovan A, Woolley J. PMID: 32745891.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    3. Social integration and inflammation in individuals with and without posttraumatic stress disorder. Brain Behav Immun. 2020 Jun 11. Ahmadian AJ, Lin JE, Neylan TC, Woolley JD, O'Donovan A, Cohen BE. PMID: 32534985.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    4. Oxytocin increases eye gaze in schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. 2019 10; 212:177-185. Bradley ER, Seitz A, Niles AN, Rankin KP, Mathalon DH, O'Donovan A, Woolley JD. PMID: 31416746.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    
    5. Child abuse interacts with hippocampal and corpus callosum volume on psychophysiological response to startling auditory stimuli in a sample of veterans. J Psychiatr Res. 2019 04; 111:16-23. Young DA, Neylan TC, Chao LL, O'Donovan A, Metzler TJ, Inslicht SS. PMID: 30660809.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    6. Comparing anxiety and depression to obesity and smoking as predictors of major medical illnesses and somatic symptoms. Health Psychol. 2019 Feb; 38(2):172-181. Niles AN, O'Donovan A. PMID: 30556708.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    7. Altered overnight levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in men and women with posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2019 04; 102:114-120. Küffer A, Straus LD, Prather AA, Inslicht SS, Richards A, Shigenaga JK, Madden E, Metzler TJ, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A. PMID: 30544002.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    8. Association among anterior cingulate cortex volume, psychophysiological response, and PTSD diagnosis in a Veteran sample. Neurobiol Learn Mem. 2018 11; 155:189-196. Young DA, Chao L, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A, Metzler TJ, Inslicht SS. PMID: 30086395.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    9. Effects of Threat Context, Trauma History, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Status on Physiological Startle Reactivity in Gulf War Veterans. J Trauma Stress. 2018 08; 31(4):579-590. Niles AN, Luxenberg A, Neylan TC, Inslicht SS, Richards A, Metzler TJ, Hlavin J, Deng J, O'Donovan A. PMID: 30058728.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    10. Gender differences in longitudinal relationships between depression and anxiety symptoms and inflammation in the health and retirement study. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2018 09; 95:149-157. Niles AN, Smirnova M, Lin J, O'Donovan A. PMID: 29864671.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    11. The interaction of BDNF Val66Met, PTSD, and child abuse on psychophysiological reactivity and HPA axis function in a sample of Gulf War Veterans. J Affect Disord. 2018 08 01; 235:52-60. Young DA, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A, Metzler T, Richards A, Ross JA, Inslicht SS. PMID: 29649711.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    12. Personalizing affective stimuli using a recommender algorithm: An example with threatening words for trauma-exposed populations. Cognitive Therapy and Research. 2018; 11(42):747-757. Niles, A.N. & O'Donovan, A.View Publication.
    13. Associations of Trauma and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder With Inflammation and Endothelial Function: On Timing, Specificity, and Mechanisms. Biol Psychiatry. 2017 12 15; 82(12):861-863. O'Donovan A, Neylan TC. PMID: 29129199.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    14. Sleep and hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis responses to metyrapone in posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2018 02; 88:136-143. Inslicht SS, Rao MN, Richards A, O'Donovan A, Gibson CJ, Baum T, Metzler TJ, Neylan TC. PMID: 29268182.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    15. Dementia Risk in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: the Relevance of Sleep-Related Abnormalities in Brain Structure, Amyloid, and Inflammation. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2017 Oct 16; 19(11):89. Mohlenhoff BS, O'Donovan A, Weiner MW, Neylan TC. PMID: 29035423.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    16. Sleep and Cognitive Performance From Teens To Old Age: More Is Not Better. Sleep. 2017 Jan 01; 40(1). Richards A, Inslicht SS, Metzler TJ, Mohlenhoff BS, Rao MN, O'Donovan A, Neylan TC. PMID: 28364476.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    17. Current posttraumatic stress disorder and exaggerated threat sensitivity associated with elevated inflammation in the Mind Your Heart Study. Brain Behav Immun. 2017 Feb; 60:198-205. O'Donovan A, Ahmadian AJ, Neylan TC, Pacult MA, Edmondson D, Cohen BE. PMID: 27765647.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 11     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    18. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Adverse Childhood Events, and Buccal Cell Telomere Length in Elderly Swiss Former Indentured Child Laborers. Front Psychiatry. 2016; 7:147. Küffer AL, O'Donovan A, Burri A, Maercker A. PMID: 27630582.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    19. PTSD is associated with elevated inflammation: any impact on clinical practice? Evid Based Ment Health. 2016 11; 19(4):120. O'Donovan A. PMID: 27574245.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    20. Alteration of immune markers in a group of melancholic depressed patients and their response to electroconvulsive therapy. J Affect Disord. 2016 Nov 15; 205:60-68. Rush G, O'Donovan A, Nagle L, Conway C, McCrohan A, O'Farrelly C, Lucey JV, Malone KM. PMID: 27414954.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 7     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    21. Becoming an Academic Researcher in Psychiatry: A View From the Trenches. Acad Psychiatry. 2017 04; 41(2):293-296. Ionescu DF, McAdams CJ, O'Donovan A, Philip NS. PMID: 26983418.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    22. Associations of childhood adversity and adulthood trauma with C-reactive protein: A cross-sectional population-based study. Brain Behav Immun. 2016 Mar; 53:105-112. Lin JE, Neylan TC, Epel E, O'Donovan A. PMID: 26616398.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    23. Metabolic risk factors and posttraumatic stress disorder: the role of sleep in young, healthy adults. Psychosom Med. 2015 May; 77(4):383-91. Talbot LS, Rao MN, Cohen BE, Richards A, Inslicht SS, O'Donovan A, Maguen S, Metzler TJ, Neylan TC. PMID: 25886830.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 6     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    24. Anxiety is associated with higher levels of global DNA methylation and altered expression of epigenetic and interleukin-6 genes. Psychiatr Genet. 2015 Apr; 25(2):71-8. Murphy TM, O'Donovan A, Mullins N, O'Farrelly C, McCann A, Malone K. PMID: 25350786.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 14     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    25. Perceived life stress exposure modulates reward-related medial prefrontal cortex responses to acute stress in depression. J Affect Disord. 2015 Jul 15; 180:104-11. Kumar P, Slavich GM, Berghorst LH, Treadway MT, Brooks NH, Dutra SJ, Greve DN, O'Donovan A, Bleil ME, Maninger N, Pizzagalli DA. PMID: 25898329.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    26. Anger is associated with increased IL-6 stress reactivity in women, but only among those low in social support. Int J Behav Med. 2014 Dec; 21(6):936-45. Puterman E, Epel ES, O'Donovan A, Prather AA, Aschbacher K, Dhabhar FS. PMID: 24357433.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    27. Altered inflammatory activity associated with reduced hippocampal volume and more severe posttraumatic stress symptoms in Gulf War veterans. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2015 Jan; 51:557-66. O'Donovan A, Chao LL, Paulson J, Samuelson KW, Shigenaga JK, Grunfeld C, Weiner MW, Neylan TC. PMID: 25465168.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 14     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    28. Hyperinsulinemic response to oral glucose challenge in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Nov; 49:171-81. Rao MN, Chau A, Madden E, Inslicht S, Talbot L, Richards A, O'Donovan A, Ruoff L, Grunfeld C, Neylan TC. PMID: 25108160.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 5     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    29. Elevated risk for autoimmune disorders in iraq and afghanistan veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2015 Feb 15; 77(4):365-74. O'Donovan A, Cohen BE, Seal KH, Bertenthal D, Margaretten M, Nishimi K, Neylan TC. PMID: 25104173.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 34     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    30. Sex differences in neurosteroid and hormonal responses to metyrapone in posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2014 Sep; 231(17):3581-95. Inslicht SS, Richards A, Madden E, Rao MN, O'Donovan A, Talbot LS, Rucker E, Metzler TJ, Hauger RL, Neylan TC. PMID: 24952092.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    31. Oxytocin administration enhances controlled social cognition in patients with schizophrenia. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Sep; 47:116-25. Woolley JD, Chuang B, Lam O, Lai W, O'Donovan A, Rankin KP, Mathalon DH, Vinogradov S. PMID: 25001961.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 23     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    32. Inflammation and depression: unraveling the complex interplay in inflammatory bowel disease. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2014 May; 58(5):541-2. O'Donovan A. PMID: 24385077.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    33. Implicit measurement of positive and negative future thinking as a predictor of depressive symptoms and hopelessness. Conscious Cogn. 2013 Sep; 22(3):898-912. Kosnes L, Whelan R, O'Donovan A, McHugh LA. PMID: 23810864.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    34. Suicidal ideation is associated with elevated inflammation in patients with major depressive disorder. Depress Anxiety. 2013 Apr; 30(4):307-14. O'Donovan A, Rush G, Hoatam G, Hughes BM, McCrohan A, Kelleher C, O'Farrelly C, Malone KM. PMID: 23504697.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 25     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    35. Good stress, bad stress and oxidative stress: insights from anticipatory cortisol reactivity. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Sep; 38(9):1698-708. Aschbacher K, O'Donovan A, Wolkowitz OM, Dhabhar FS, Su Y, Epel E. PMID: 23490070.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 53     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    36. Exaggerated neurobiological sensitivity to threat as a mechanism linking anxiety with increased risk for diseases of aging. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Jan; 37(1):96-108. O'Donovan A, Slavich GM, Epel ES, Neylan TC. PMID: 23127296.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 33     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    37. Educational attainment and late life telomere length in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Jan; 27(1):15-21. Adler N, Pantell MS, O'Donovan A, Blackburn E, Cawthon R, Koster A, Opresko P, Newman A, Harris TB, Epel E. PMID: 22981835.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 33     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    38. Lifetime exposure to traumatic psychological stress is associated with elevated inflammation in the Heart and Soul Study. Brain Behav Immun. 2012 May; 26(4):642-9. O'Donovan A, Neylan TC, Metzler T, Cohen BE. PMID: 22366689.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 19     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    39. Stress appraisals and cellular aging: a key role for anticipatory threat in the relationship between psychological stress and telomere length. Brain Behav Immun. 2012 May; 26(4):573-9. O'Donovan A, Tomiyama AJ, Lin J, Puterman E, Adler NE, Kemeny M, Wolkowitz OM, Blackburn EH, Epel ES. PMID: 22293459.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 46     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    40. Does cellular aging relate to patterns of allostasis? An examination of basal and stress reactive HPA axis activity and telomere length. Physiol Behav. 2012 Apr 12; 106(1):40-5. Tomiyama AJ, O'Donovan A, Lin J, Puterman E, Lazaro A, Chan J, Dhabhar FS, Wolkowitz O, Kirschbaum C, Blackburn E, Epel E. PMID: 22138440.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 54     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    41. Shorter leukocyte telomere length in midlife women with poor sleep quality. J Aging Res. 2011; 2011:721390. Prather AA, Puterman E, Lin J, O'Donovan A, Krauss J, Tomiyama AJ, Epel ES, Blackburn EH. PMID: 22046530.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    42. Physical activity moderates effects of stressor-induced rumination on cortisol reactivity. Psychosom Med. 2011 Sep; 73(7):604-11. Puterman E, O'Donovan A, Adler NE, Tomiyama AJ, Kemeny M, Wolkowitz OM, Epel E. PMID: 21873586.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 18     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    43. Cumulative inflammatory load is associated with short leukocyte telomere length in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study. PLoS One. 2011; 6(5):e19687. O'Donovan A, Pantell MS, Puterman E, Dhabhar FS, Blackburn EH, Yaffe K, Cawthon RM, Opresko PL, Hsueh WC, Satterfield S, Newman AB, Ayonayon HN, Rubin SM, Harris TB, Epel ES. PMID: 21602933.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 97     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    44. Childhood trauma associated with short leukocyte telomere length in posttraumatic stress disorder. Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Sep 01; 70(5):465-71. O'Donovan A, Epel E, Lin J, Wolkowitz O, Cohen B, Maguen S, Metzler T, Lenoci M, Blackburn E, Neylan TC. PMID: 21489410.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 91     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    45. Transcriptional control of monocyte gene expression in post-traumatic stress disorder. Dis Markers. 2011; 30(2-3):123-32. O'Donovan A, Sun B, Cole S, Rempel H, Lenoci M, Pulliam L, Neylan T. PMID: 21508516.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 47     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    46. Suppressed monocyte gene expression profile in men versus women with PTSD. Brain Behav Immun. 2011 Mar; 25(3):524-31. Neylan TC, Sun B, Rempel H, Ross J, Lenoci M, O'Donovan A, Pulliam L. PMID: 21145962.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 24     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    47. The power of exercise: buffering the effect of chronic stress on telomere length. PLoS One. 2010 May 26; 5(5):e10837. Puterman E, Lin J, Blackburn E, O'Donovan A, Adler N, Epel E. PMID: 20520771.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 90     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    48. Clinical anxiety, cortisol and interleukin-6: evidence for specificity in emotion-biology relationships. Brain Behav Immun. 2010 Oct; 24(7):1074-7. O'Donovan A, Hughes BM, Slavich GM, Lynch L, Cronin MT, O'Farrelly C, Malone KM. PMID: 20227485.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 62     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    49. Black sheep get the blues: a psychobiological model of social rejection and depression. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2010 Sep; 35(1):39-45. Slavich GM, O'Donovan A, Epel ES, Kemeny ME. PMID: 20083138.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 69     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    50. Pessimism correlates with leukocyte telomere shortness and elevated interleukin-6 in post-menopausal women. Brain Behav Immun. 2009 May; 23(4):446-9. O'Donovan A, Lin J, Tillie J, Tillie JM, Dhabhar FS, Wolkowitz OM, Wolkowitz O, Blackburn EH, Blackburn E, Epel ES, Epel E. PMID: 19111922.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 54     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    51. Access to social support in life and in the laboratory: combined impact on cardiovascular reactivity to stress and state anxiety. J Health Psychol. 2008 Nov; 13(8):1147-56. O'Donovan A, Hughes BM. PMID: 18987087.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    52. Quality of life predicts outcome in a heart failure disease management program. Int J Cardiol. 2010 Feb 18; 139(1):60-7. O'Loughlin C, Murphy NF, Conlon C, O'Donovan A, Ledwidge M, McDonald K. PMID: 18851887.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 9     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    53. Factors that moderate the effects of social support on cardiovascular reactivity to stress. Int J Psychol. & Psychol. Therapy. 2008; (8):85-102. O'Donovan, A. Hughes, B.M.
    54. Social support and loneliness in college students: effects on pulse pressure reactivity to acute stress. Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2007 Oct-Dec; 19(4):523-8. O'Donovan A, Hughes B. PMID: 18348427.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions: 8     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    55. Citation Analysis of Skinner's Verbal Behavior: 1984-2004. Behav Anal. 2006; 29(1):75-88. Dymond S, O'Hora D, Whelan R, O'Donovan A. PMID: 22478453.
      View in: PubMed   Mentions:
    56. Your best interests at heart?. The Psychologist. 2006; (19):216-219. O'Donovan, A. Hughes, B.M.
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