Kathi L. Heffner, Ph.D.

Kathi L. Heffner, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box PSYCH
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 273-4786
Fax: (585) 273-1384

Research Bio

My research centers on understanding the links between stress and health. Broadly, I am interested in how social, psychological, and behavioral factors promote or impair physiological stress adaptation and immune/inflammatory regulation. My scientific contributions fall into three areas: (1) the role of social relationships in stress and health links, (2) implications of stress for healthy aging, and (3) the influence of sleep on stress physiology. Across these areas, I aim to understand how stress ultimately affects well-being, including mood and anxiety, cognitive function, pain, and risk for chronic aging-related diseases.

My work has been supported by multiple organizational, NIH- and other federally-funded grants. Over the years, I have evolved from a primary focus on human laboratory experiments to a complementary emphasis on clinical behavioral interventions as experimental manipulations to elucidate mechanisms. This approach has expanded my multi-disciplinary endeavors to include close collaboration with expert clinician researchers. Together, this research not only contributes to understanding basic mechanisms of stress and health, but also has potential for immediate translation to clinical intervention.

Awards & Honors (National)

Renewal award, National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program, Clinical Research Program | National Institutes of Health 2008
Invitation and Honorarium for attendance | National Institute on Aging | Opportunities for Advancing Behavioral & Social Research Worksho 2008
Funding recipient, National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program, Clinical Research Program | National Institutes of Health 2006

Awards & Honors (Local)

Citation Poster | American Psychosomatic Society Annual Meeting 2009
Collier Research Award, First Place | Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester 2009
Citation Poster | American Psychosomatic Society, Annual Meeting 2008
University International Council, International Travel Award | Ohio University 2006
Faculty Development Award | College of Arts & Science, Ohio University 2005
Social Psychology Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program Competitive Travel Award | University of Nevada, Reno 2000
Graduate Student Association Annual Research Competition, Finalist | University of Nevada, Reno 2000
Graduate Student Association (GSA) Merit Scholarship | University of Nevada, Reno 1998

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 19 available »

2015 Mar 16
Devereux PG, Heffner KL, Doane MJ, Gosser B, Nolan M. "Identifying attentional deployment tactics in older adults' written narratives about emotionally upsetting events." Journal of health psychology. 2015 Mar 16; Epub 2015 Mar 16.
2014 Jul
Heffner KL, Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Glaser R, Malarkey WB, Marshall GD. "Stress and anxiety effects on positive skin test responses in young adults with allergic rhinitis." Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology : official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology. 2014 Jul; 113(1):13-8. Epub 2014 Apr 13.
2014 Apr
Lin F, Suhr J, Diebold S, Heffner KL. "Associations between depressive symptoms and memory deficits vary as a function of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels in healthy older adults." Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Apr; 42:118-23. Epub 2014 Jan 22.
2013 Aug
Heffner KL. "Nighttime sleep and daytime stress--tangled bedfellows: a comment on Williams et al." Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. 2013 Aug; 46(1):7-8.
2013 May
Poleshuck EL, Talbot NL, Moynihan JA, Chapman BP, Heffner KL. "Depressive symptoms, pain, chronic medical morbidity, and interleukin-6 among primary care patients." Pain medicine : the official journal of the American Academy of Pain Medicine. 2013 May; 14(5):686-91. Epub 2013 Apr 22.

Current Appointments

Associate Professor - Department of Psychiatry, Research (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Social Psychology | University of Nevada, Reno2001
BA | Psychology | University at Buffalo, State University of New York1994

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Psychoneuroimmunology, The Ohio State University 2003