The Women’s Mental Health Research Program relies on a strong network of multidisciplinary collaborators within UIC, nationally, and internationally, to advance research on women’s mental and cognitive health. A selection of researchers and clinicians we are currently collaborating with are included below.


wmhrp collaborator Leah Rubin

Leah Rubin, PhD, MA, MPH

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Assistant Professor of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Leah Rubin and Dr. Pauline Maki have collaborated on research related to mental and cognitive health of women across the lifespan since Dr. Rubin began her training at UIC in 2003. Now at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Rubin continues to work with the Women’s Mental Health Research Program in moving forward her program of research to elucidate the neuroendocrine mechanisms contributing to mental and cognitive health in women. She focuses on the effect of sex steroid hormones, glucocorticoids, vasopressin, and oxytocin on cognition and mental health in healthy women, women living with HIV, and female psychiatric patients. A central long-term goal is to improve the cognitive health of HIV-infected women and women with psychiatric illnesses through an interdisciplinary research career that incorporates epidemiological, mechanistic, and intervention science.

wmhrp collaborator Lisa Tussing-Humphreys

Lisa Tussing-Humphreys, PhD, MS, RD

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Assistant Professor of Medicine
Assistant Director, University of Illinois Cancer Center Diet and Behavior Shared Resource

Dr. Lisa Tussing-Humphreys and her team collaborate with the WMHRP on research focusing on perinatal mood, diet and gut microbiome. Dr. Tussing-Humphreys other research interests include obesity-associated iron metabolism dysfunction and its relationship to health status and disease risk. A registered dietitian, Dr. Tussing-Humphreys earned her doctoral degree in human nutrition from the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences in 2009, writing her dissertation on hepcidin-mediated iron deficiency of obesity. She holds an MS in nutritional sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BS in clinical dietetics from SUNY College at Buffalo. Before returning to UIC in 2012, Dr. Tussing-Humphreys was research scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, and principal investigator of a church-based diet and physical activity intervention for African American adults in the Lower Mississippi Delta region.

wmhrp collaborator Bernabe Beatriz

Beatriz Penalver Bernabe, PhD, MS

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Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Bernabe is a Beckman Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago. Her current research is focused on the relationship between the human microbiome and perinatal disease. Her interest in the gut microbial evolution during pregnancy in mothers that suffer from antenatal or postpartum depression has led to an exciting collaboration with the Women’s Mental Health Research Program at UIC. Dr. Bernabe and the WMHRP are working together to collect gut microbiome samples from pregnant women enrolled in our Perinatal Mental Health Clinical Research Registry.

wmhrp collaborator DuffecyJennifer 300px v2

Jennifer Duffecy, PhD

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Associate Professor and Director of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Services and Research in Adult Mood Disorders, Department of Psychiatry

Dr. Duffecy specializes in developing innovative cognitive behavioral treatments for depression. Dr. Duffecy has considerable experience developing technology based interventions for a variety of populations. Current work includes creation of tablet interventions, websites, mobile interventions and SMS based frameworks for the treatment and prevention Major Depressive Disorder and postpartum depression, medication adherence, stress management and cancer survivorship. Dr. Duffecy has worked on the development of over a dozen interventions related to depression treatment or prevention and was trained by the Beck Institute to provide cognitive behavioral therapy and supervision in research trials.

wmhrp collaborator GellerGracie 300px v1

Stacie Geller, PhD

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Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology Director, Center for Research on Women and Gender Director, National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health

Dr. Geller is a health services researcher and epidemiologist with expertise in women’s health, complementary and alternative medicine, and maternal mortality and morbidity. Dr. Geller has conducted research related to maternal mortality and morbidity since 1999. As PI of a CDC/ASPH cooperative agreement to investigate factors associated with maternal mortality, she developed an innovative model for early identification of high-risk women that has been used nationally and internationally. Dr. Geller is a founding and continuing member of the Illinois Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which is responsible for review of preventability issues for all maternal deaths in the state. Dr. Geller’s international work in maternal mortality and morbidity began with a 5-year NICHD-funded randomized clinical trial comparing the use of oral misoprostol for prevention of postpartum hemorrhage (PPH) in rural India. She is currently funded by Gynuity Health Projects and the Gates Foundation to conduct another community-based trial in rural India to compare two dosing strategies for the use of misoprostol to prevent PPH. Dr. Geller is also collaborating with the MacArthur Foundation, the Millennium Villages Project and Pathfinder International to implement a continuum of care model to reduce PPH in India, Nigeria, and Ghana.



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