Currently Funded Research

WMHRP Currently Funded Research

Listed below are the active research studies led by Women’s Mental Health Research Program’s Principal Investigators (PIs) that receive internal or external funding support. The WMHRP team also conducts research with many collaborators throughout UIC, locally and nationally. Current collaborative research projects are also listed below.

If you are interested in participating in research, please visit our Participate in Research page.


Menopause and the Menopausal Transition

Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms and Brain Aging in Women
Co-PI: Pauline Maki, PhD and Rebecca Thurston, PhD
This multi-year R01 equivalent grant examines the relationship between vasomotor symptoms, the cardinal symptom of menopause, and structural and functional integrity of the brain and cognitive function. This study is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA - RF1 AG053504).


Stellate Ganglion Blockade for the Management of Vasomotor Symptoms
PI: David Walega, MD
Co-I: Pauline Maki, PhD and Leah Rubin, PhD, MPH
This multi-year grant supports a randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial of stellate ganglion blockade on vasomotor symptoms in midlife women. Secondary outcomes include cognition, mood, brain imaging outcomes, and autonomic nervous system activity. This study is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA - R01 AG049924).



WIHS: Women’s Interagency HIV Study

Neurocognitive Research in Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), Chicago Consortium
PIs: Pauline Maki, PhD and and Leah Rubin, PhD, MPH
This is an ongoing program of research to investigate the predictors of neurocognitive function and HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) in HIV-infected women in the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) Chicago Consortium. The WIHS is a multi-site prospective epidemiology cohort study of women who either are infected with HIV or are at increased risk for acquiring HIV infection. The WIHS is primarily funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), with co-funding from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).


Mental Health, Glucocorticoid Receptor Biology, and Cognition in HIV-Infected Women
PI: Leah Rubin, PhD, MPH
Using data from the WIHS, this project will examine the potential role of glucorticoid receptor biology as a contributor to psychological risk factors and cognitive function in HIV positive women, as compared to HIV negative women.


Sex Differences in Cognitive Response to a Hydrocortisone Challenge in HIV
PI: Leah Rubin, PhD, MPH
Co-I: Pauline Maki, PhD and K. Luan Phan, MD
This pharmacologic challenge explores the impact of hydrocortisone, a glucocorticoid, on cognition and immune response in HIV+ men and women. This study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH - R21 MH099978).


Effects of Stress and Stress Hormones on Cognition in HIV-infected Women
PI: Leah Rubin, PhD
Co-I: Pauline Maki, PhD and Judith Cook, PhD
The goal of this mentored award is to develop a program of research that addresses the role of stress and stress hormones on cognitive dysfunction among HIV+ women. This study is funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH - K01 MH098798).


Cognitive Neuropsychology of HIV and Drug Abuse
PI: Eileen Martin, PhD (Rush University)
Co-I and Pilot Study PI: Pauline Maki, PhD
Co-I: Leah Rubin, PhD, MPH
This is an ongoing program of theory driven research to investigate the unique and additive effects of HIV and substance dependence on selected neurocognitive functions with neuroanatomical and functional significance for neuroAIDS research. Dr. Maki is the PI of an exploratory pilot study that investigates the effects of menstrual cycle fluctuations on HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment in cocaine users. This study is funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA - R01 DA012828).




Enhancing Perinatal Mental Health: A Feasibility Study of a Collaborative, Translational Research Approach
PI: Pauline Maki, PhD
The project goals include: (1) Piloting a randomized controlled trial of a provider training program to improve screening, assessment, and referral procedures for perinatal depression and anxiety disorders during clinical visits; and (2) Establishing an enduring database linking perinatal depression and anxiety diagnoses, medical records, and a biorepository of blood samples from routine perinatal clinic visits. This research is funded by the University of Illinois at Chicago Chancellor’s Fund.


A Feasibility Study of an Intervention to Improve Mother-Infant Synchrony and Emotion Regulation, and the Contributing Role of Oxytocin
PI: Aleeca Bell, PhD, RN, CNM
Co-I: Pauline Maki, PhD and Leah Rubin, PhD
The primary aim of this pilot study is to demonstrate feasibility of recruitment and retention of women with psychosocial adversities into an intervention study designed to enhance mother-infant synchrony through the use of an auditory, tactile, visual, and vestibular intervention (ATVV). The second goal of this study is to demonstrate intervention fidelity of mothers applying the ATVV twice-daily with their baby for 4-weeks. This study is funded by the UIC College of Nursing, Internal Research Support Program.



Myelin Markers and Modifiable Risks of Vascular Aging in African Americans
PI: Melissa Lamar, PhD
Co-I: Pauline Maki, PhD
The overall aim of this investigation is to identify ‘at risk’ brain tissue associated with cognitive decline and dementia that currently and disproportionately affects African Americans, which may better inform interventions to slow or stop these declines. This study is funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA - R21 AG048176).


Molecular Basis of Interindividual Variability in CYP2D6-Mediated Drug Metabolism
PI: Hyun-Young Jeong, PhD
Co-I: Leah Rubin, PhD
The aims of this study are to: 1) Determine the extent to which small heterodimer partner (SHP) modulators cause alterations of CYP2D6 expression in Tg-CYP2D6 mice and, 2) Identify SHP modulators that explain CYP2D6 variability in human liver tissues. The long-term goal of the research is to develop approaches to better predict the highly variable CYP2D6 activity in individuals. Inter-individual variability in CYP2D6-mediated drug metabolism is a critical contributor to the problem of unintentional drug over- or under-dosing, as it is responsible for the unpredictable occurrence of adverse drug outcomes in response to a given dose of a CYP2D6 substrate. This study is funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS – R01 GM112746-01A1).

You are here: Home