Dr. Nicole (Nicki) Bush is an Associate Professor in the UCSF departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics. She is the Associate Director of Research for the Division of Developmental Medicine. She is the Co-Scientific Director of the CANDLE study (Urban Child Institute; NIH) the PI of the SEED prenatal programming study (R01), the UCSF PI of the TIDES multi-site prenatal programming study (R01), the PI of the PAWS-Genetics Substudy (RWJF), and the PI of the CTRP-HEALTH Trauma and Biomarkers study (CTSI; RWJF).
Dr. Bush’s research focuses on the manner in which early social contexts interface with individual differences to affect developmental trajectories across the life course. She examines how socioeconomic, parental, and environmental risks for maladaptive behavior and developmental psychopathology are modulated by individual differences in children’s temperamental, neurobiological, and genetic reactivity to stress. She also investigates the ways in which contextual experiences of adversity become biologically embedded by changing children’s developing physiologic systems and epigenetic processes, thereby shaping individual differences that mediate and moderate the effects of context on trajectories of development and mental health.
Her research has examined relations among biobehavioral predispositions (e.g., temperament and physiology) and stressful life circumstances (e.g., poverty, parenting, and neighborhood) in the prediction of a broad range of children's mental health outcomes. In recent years, Dr. Bush has expanded her examination of contextual risk effects by infusing her models with a new understanding of biology (physiology, genetics, epigenetics) throughout early development, including the prenatal period. Her work integrates insights from social epidemiology, sociology, clinical psychology, and developmental psychobiology to elucidate the interplay of biology and context in youth development, as physiological systems mature and social environments change. Her examinations of how social disadvantage interacts with and alters children’s biological stress response systems aim to clarify the etiology of children’s mental and physical health outcomes and subsequent adult health.
For more information on Dr. Nicki Bush, please visit her UCSF profile here.