Our Team

Women’s Mental Health Research Program

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WMHRP Our Team

The Women’s Mental Health Research Program (WMHRP) research team is comprised of faculty and staff from the Department of Psychiatry, as well as trainees from the various programs within the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Pauline Maki PhD

  • Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Director of Women’s Mental Health Research Program
  • Senior Director of Research, Center for Research on Women and Gender
For over 20 years, Dr. Pauline M. Maki has led a program of NIH-funded research focused on the role of sex steroid hormones on cognition, mood, brain function (neuroimaging) and stress responsivity in women. Women’s cognitive abilities, mood, and response to stress can be affected by changes in sex hormones, like estrogen, including changes that occur during the menopausal transition, during pregnancy, and across the menstrual cycle. In particular, the goal of her work is to improve the lives of women by identifying factors that alter their risk of cognitive decline and affective disorders.

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Tory Eisenlohr-Moul PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology
  • Associate Director of Translational Research in Women’s Mental Health
  • Department of Psychiatry
  • University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
Dr. Eisenlohr-Moul is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at UIC, and holds an additional courtesy appointment in the Department of Psychology. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialized fellowship training in the pathophysiology, assessment, and treatment of hormone-related psychiatric disorders-- particularly premenstrual disorders.

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Ece Kilic MS

  • Senior Research Specialist

Ece joined the lab in 2017 to work with Dr. Pauline Maki on an NIH-funded study on the use of stellate ganglion blockade for managing vasomotor symptoms in women. Ece received her Master’s in Psychology from DePaul University; her thesis focused on cognition and visual word recognition. She received her B.A.

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Unnathi Nagelli BS

  • Research Associate (Academic hourly)
Unnathi graduated from UIC with a B.S. in Neuroscience. She worked on the Perinatal Mental Health research projects in the Women’s Mental Health Research Program from April 2018 until graduation in May 2019. Her goal is to attend medical school. During her gap year, Unnathi will continue her involvement with the Women’s Mental Health Research Program as staff member.

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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.

Leah Rubin PhD, MPH

  • 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.

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Lisa Tussing-Humphreys PhD, MS, RDN

  • 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.

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Jenna Duffecy PhD

  • Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry
Dr. Duffecy is an Associate Professor in Clinical Psychiatry and the Director of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Services and Research in the Adult Mood Disorders program at UIC. She treats patients in the Mood and Anxiety Disorders clinic while also providing training and supervision to residents and interns in cognitive behavioral therapy.

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Stacie Geller PhD

  • 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.

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Annie Nielsen

  • Psychiatry Volunteer
Annie is a second-year medical student at UIC and joined the lab to assist with the studies on SCID validation of the CAT-MH in perinatal women and the testing of the Sunnyside for Moms smartphone app for preventing perinatal depression. She graduated from Northwestern University in December 2017 with degrees in the biological sciences and psychology. Prior to medical school spent two years in the lab of Dr. Siobhan Phillips at Feinberg School of Medicine working on the design and implementation of technology-based exercise interventions for breast cancer survivors. She is excited to join the Women's Mental Health team to extend her work to the perinatal women receiving care at UIC and beyond.

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Shannon Dowty MPH

  • Psychiatry Volunteer
Shannon served as the Lab Manager and Perinatal Research Specialist in the Women’s Mental Health Program from 2015-2019. She remains involved in our lab’s efforts to change the way women are screened and treated for mental health issues during pregnancy at UIC. Shannon works with Dr. Maki, Dr. Jenna Duffecy and team on adapting and implementing Sunnyside for Moms, an online cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) based intervention to prevent and treat perinatal depression. The no-cost intervention offers core lessons in basic cognitive behavioral skills, in addition to lessons on pregnancy-related concerns such as changes in partner and family relationships, work/ and career concerns, and worries related to pregnancy.

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