Kimberly L. D'Anna-Hernandez, Ph.D. I joined the CSUSM Psychology faculty in the Fall of 2011; my area of specialization is behavioral
neuroscience. I completed my predoctoral work at Michigan State University and postdoctoral
training with the Developmental Psychobiology Research Group at the University of
Colorado Denver. Among my research interests are the role of stress/arousal peptides
on maternal behavior in mice and the role of acculturation and other psychosocial
measures on the biological response to stress in pregnant women, particularly Mexican
and Mexican-American women. To do this I maintain both a mouse and human lab.
Maternal Behavior Neuroendocrinology Mouse Lab
Cultural Perinatal Mental Health Laboratory
2008 Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison; Zoology, Behavioral Neuroscience
Advisor: Dr. Stephen Gammie, PhD
2003 B.S., Michigan State University; Zoology, Animal Behavior/Neurobiology
2010 Developmental Psychobiology Research Group Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Colorado Denver
2008 National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Research Fellow
2007 Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship
2006 Diversity Program in Neuroscience Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, American Psychological Association
2006 Business Forum Scholarship, Dane County Women's Business Forum
2003 Advanced Opportunity Fellowship, University of Wisconsin
Mothers are essential to offspring well-being and survival. As such, situations that
disrupt the maternal-infant bond (e.g. maternal depression, drug use) can be devastating
to the health and welfare of offspring, and even fatal. Thus, it is important to identify
factors that may motivate mothers to perform nurturing offspring-directed care. In
the perinatal period, there are many neuromechanistic changes, such as alterations
in the vigilance and reward systems in the brain that may motivate mothers to engage
in maternal behavior. My long-term research objective is to use both behavioral and
physiological measures to assess the impact of the prenatal environment (arousal,
stress, mood, neuroendrocrine regulation) on subsequent developmental trajectories
of offspring related to the vulnerability of depression.
I maintain both a mouse and human maternal behavior lab. The Human Lab has two current
projects as listd below. I am always looking for reliable and motivated students to
assist with my research. Links for respective lab applications can be found below.
The mouse lab includes a variety of behavioral (e.g maternal behavior testing, and
stress anxiety measures) as well as physiological measures looking at how the neurobiology
of arousal and stress related peptides in the brain affect maternal behavior. A model
of postpartum depression was created to look at maternal behavior in mice. The lab
breeds mice and test are conducted on the them such as tail suspension which measures
depression and the t-maze which measures their maternal motivation. The mice's behavior
is then scored by pup retrieval, time spent with her pups, and time they spend grooming
their pups etc. Implementing these stressors to the mice allows students to look at
the behavioral changes in the mice when they undergo different stressors. Students
in this lab will be responsible for working with and testing on live animals and will
gain further knowledge on maternal behavior in mice.
This project includes, pilot interventions to decrease gestational weight gain in
obese pregnant women. Obese women who are at risk for increase gestational weight
gain are also at risk for other health conditions like hypertension, preeclampsia,
and gestational diabetes, which all are a risk factors for adverse infant outcomes.
This research lab focuses on health research teams to pilot a group prenatal visit
interventions to decrease gestational weight and optimize offspring health. This
research project with provide, students with critical translational research experience
Mexican- American women report higher levels of depression during pregnancy when
compared to their US counterparts. This research will examine the association with
cultural factors and increased risk for mental health problems during pregnancy. Their
children will be followed through preschool and examined as well. Students in this
lab will be involved in all levels of the project such as recruitment and retention
of participants, saliva and hair collection, child temperament and symptom assessment,
sample management and performance of cortisol assays. Thus, providing students with critical
translational research experience for students.
Psyc 391 Laboratory in Physiological Psychology: Teaches advanced research methods in physiological processes underlying brain function
and behavior as well as application of methodological principles to research in such
areas as neuroanatomy, physiology, behavioral neuroscience and psychopharmacology.
Psyc 360 Biopsychology: Introduction to the biological bases of behavior, including material central to physiological
psychology, comparative psychology, behavioral genetics, and sensory psychology.
Issues to be addressed include but are not limited to neuroethology, behavioral endocrinology,
evolutionary theory, sociobiology, and sensory systems.
Psyc 361 Brain and Mind: Examines the relationship between the brain, and how the brain produces behavior.
Intended for non-majors, this course will review basic neuroanatomy and physiology,
and consider mind/brain relations in the context of psychoactive drugs, brain development,
neurological disorders, sexual behavior, and cognitive abilities such as language,
memory, thinking, and consciousness.
(*-denotes work with trainee coauthors)
Preciado, A.* & D’Anna-Hernandez, K.L. (2016) Acculturative stress and trajectory of anxiety symptoms during pregnancy
in Mexican-American women. Journal of Anxiety Disorders: in press.
Hoffman, M.C., D’Anna-Hernandez, K.L., Benitez, P., & Laudenslager, M.L. (2016). Cortisol during human fetal life: Characterization
of a method for processing small quantities of newborn hair from 26 to 42 weeks gestation.
Developmental Psychobiology: in press.
D’Anna-Hernandez, KL, Garcia, E*, Hoffman, MC, Ross, RG, and Laudenslager, ML. (2016). Alterations in
sleep patterns lead to adverse birth outcomes in Mexican-American women. Maternal
and Child Health: 20(2): 422-433.
D’Anna-Hernandez, KL, Aleman, B, Flores, AM. (2015) Acculturative stress, but not acculturation, predicts
maternal depression in Mexican-American women during pregnancy. Journal of Affective
Disorders: 176: 35-42.
D’Anna, KL, Hunter, SK, Zerbe, GO and Ross, RG (2013). Paternal substance abuse disorders worsen
the trajectory of maternal depressive symptoms during the first year postpartum, Mental
*Hunter SK, Mendoza JH, D'Anna K, Zerbe G, McCarthy L, Hoffman C, Freedman R, Ross RG (2012). Antidepressants may
mitigate the effects of prenatal maternal anxiety on infant auditory sensory gating.
American Journal of Psychiatry: 169(6): 616-624.
D’Anna-Hernandez, KL, Hoffman , MC, Coussons-Read, ME, Laudenslager, ML, and Ross, RG. (2012). Maternal
blunted cortisol slope during pregnancy is associated with acculturation and low infant
birth weight in US Mexican women, Psychosomatic Medicine: 74(3):296-304
*Coussons-Read, ME, Lobel, MJ, Carey, JC, Kreither, MO, D’Anna, KL, Argys, L., Ross, RG, Brandt, C, Cole, S. (2012). The occurrence of preterm delivery
is linked to pregnancy-specific distress and elevated inflammatory markers across
gestation. Brain Behavior and Immunity: 26(4): 650-659.
D’Anna-Hernandez, KL, Ross, RG, Natvig CL, and Laudenslager, MLL. (2011). Hair cortisol levels as a marker
of stress during pregnancy: Comparison to salivary cortisol, Physiology and Behavior.
Gammie SC, D’Anna KL, Gerstein H, Stevenson SA. (2009). Neurotensin inversely modulates maternal aggression.
Neuroscience. 158(4): 1215-23.
D'Anna KL and Gammie SC. (2009). Activation of corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 2 in
lateral septum negatively regulates maternal defense. Behavioral Neuroscience. 123(2):
D'Anna KL, Stevenson SA, Gammie SC. (2008). Maternal profiling of corticotropin-releasing factor
receptor 2 deficient mice in association with restraint stress. Brain Research. 1241:
*Gammie SC, Edelmann MN, Mandel-Brehm C, D'Anna KL, Auger AP, Stevenson SA. (2008). Altered dopamine signaling in naturally occurring
maternal neglect. PLoS ONE. 3(4): e1974.
D’Anna KL and Gammie SC. (2006). Hypocretin-1 dose-dependently modulates maternal behaviour
in mice. Journal of Neuroendocrinology. 18(8):553-66.
D’Anna, KL., Stevenson, SA and Gammie, SC. (2005). Urocortin 1 and Urocortin 3 impair maternal
defense behavior in mice. Behavioral Neuroscience, 119(4):1061-71.
Gammie SC, Hasen NS, Stevenson SA, Bale TL, D’Anna, KL. (2005). Elevated stress sensitivity in corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 2
deficient mice decreases maternal, but not intermale aggression. Behavioural Brain
Book Chapters and Reviews
Gammie, SC, D’Anna, KL, Lee, G, Stevenson, SA. 2008. Role of Corticotropin releasing factor-related peptides
in the neural regulation of maternal defense. In R.S. Bridges (Eds.), Neurobiology
of Parental Brain. Elsevier. 101-114
D’Anna-Hernandez, KL. The Oxford Handbook of Psychoneuroimmunology Book Review. Brain, Behavior and Immunity:
Cultural Perinatal Mental Health Laboratory
☆ Accepting Graduate Students in 2018! ☆
Raquel Good, BA
Graduate Student, Psychological Science, 2019
I completed my BA in psychology at UCSD, where I also gained research experience in
clinical psychology studying posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as social psychology,
cognitive science, and neuropsychology. I am very excited to be working with Dr. D'Anna-Hernandez
on studies that focus on perinatal mental health in minority communities. I plan to
pursue a PhD and to continue to grow as a researcher.
Jessica Rico, B.A.
Graduate Student, Psychological Science
I graduated from the University of California, San Diego in 2011 with a B.A. in Psychology.
My goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. I am most interested in working
with children who are experiencing behavioral and emotional problems.
Senior Undergraduate, Biochemistry and Psychology Major
I plan to attend graduate school next year and focus on Developmental Psychopathology.
Junior Undergraduate, Psychological Science, 2019
Planning to attend graduate school after graduating from CSU San Marcos.
Sophomore Undergraduate, Major Biology, Minor Chemistry, 2019
My academic and professional goal is to obtain a Ph.D in the Biological Sciences after
graduating from CSUSM with my BS.
My name is Priscilla Perez and I am currently an Undergraduate obtaining a degree
in Medical Anthropology at CSUSM. As I graduate this Spring, I am excited to be working
with Dr. D’Anna-Hernandez and Raquel Good where I will be gaining knowledge in lab
research and public health. Upon completion of my Bachelors degree and internship
here at Cal State San Marcos, my goal is to attend graduate school and enroll in a
Public Health program where I will be concentrating mainly on Epidemiology.
Adrianna Maldonado, MA
Community and Behavioral Health PhD program at University of Iowa
Alex Velasquez, BA
Ana-Mercedes Flores, MA
Currently in a Clinical PhD program at Eastern Michigan University
Amiel Maldonado, BA
Currently in a Public Health program at UC Berkeley
Esmeralda Garcia, MA
Currently in a PhD program at University of California, Irvine
Ariene Cornejo, BA
Currently in a Master's ABA program at Arizona State University
PhD student in a Clinical Psych Program at Colorado State University
Diana Gonzalez, BA
Andrea Preciado, MA
Elemy Yeme, BA
PhD student in a Clinical Psych Program at University of New Mexico
Erika Luis Sanchez, BA
Currently in a Master's program at SDSU
Guadalupe Chim, BA
Marrcela Martinez, BA
Meylin Melchor, BA
Currently in a Master's ABA program at Arizona State University
Paola Ilescas, BA
Maternal Behavior Neuroendocrinology Lab
Erin K. Lane, MA - Supervisor/Vivarium Technician
I received both my BA in Psychology and MA in Experimental Psychology from Cal State
San Marcos. Even as a student, my research has focused on animal behavior, including
snake recognition in Geoffroy’s marmosets, and sexual selection in bearded dragon
lizards. As the supervisor of the D’Anna-Hernandez mouse lab, I help conduct and
supervise research in stress and depression and its effects on maternal behavior in
mice. I continue to be interested in questions regarding the evolution of traits
and behavior, animal communication, as well as learning and cognition.
Grace Hyun Lee, BA
I completed my BA in psychology at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 2014.
Since then, I have worked as a supervised visitation monitor for families with custody
disputes, as a behavioral therapist for children with autism, and as a research assistant
in the Mind, Experience, and Perception lab at UCSD studying sleep and circadian rhythms
in autism and visual perception of signing and deaf individuals. I hope to pursue
a doctorate degree and continue studying behavioral neuroscience.
Senior Undergraduate, Major Biology, Minor Chemistry, 2018
I began my undergraduate career in the fall of 2013, here at California State University
San Marcos. I am currently working to obtain my Bachelors degree in Biological Science.
After I graduate, I want to go to graduate school to obtain my PhD and do research
in the Immunology field.
I'm a Human Development: Health Services Concentration major and I am minoring in
Psychological Science. I enjoy studying about the brain and the neurological disorders
especially Schizophrenia. My research interests consist of learning more about the
neurological disorders. In the near future, I plan to obtain my PhD in order to become
a Neuropsychologist. I would also like to conduct my own research regarding schizophrenia
and other neurological disorders via animal work. I will be attending Bangor University
in Wales to attain my M.S.
I am currently an undergraduate majoring in Psychological Science. I transferred to
Cal State San Marcos with an AA in psychology from Mira Costa College. I plan to use
the experience from the neuroendocrinology lab to pursue a career in research, with
a focus on Alzheimer's, and devote my time to further analyze the neurological benefits
of music, art, and animal therapy.
I am currently studying psychology here at CSUSM. Since joining the lab I have had
the opportunity to help run various studies looking at both chronic and acute stress
in mice. Once I graduate, I hope enter a postbaccalaureate program and eventually
earn a PhD in neuroscience.
I am currently an undergraduate student majoring in psychology at California State
University San Marcos. I want to gain as must research experience as I can before
graduating in the spring of 2018. My ultimate goal is to obtain a PhD in neuroscience.
I started my undergraduate career at Mira Costa College, where I received my Associates
degree in Psychology before transferring to CSUSM. I am currently working toward my
Bachelor's degree in Psychology and hope to gain research experience working in Dr.
D'Anna-Hernandez's lab. My ultimate goal is to obtain my PhD in Neuroscience.
I transferred from Palomar college with my AA in Psychology. Currently I am working
on my BA in Psychological Science with and emphasis in neuroendocrinology. My goal
is to obtain a PhD. in Behavioral Neuroscience and establish a lab as a professor
at a University using a biopsychosocial model approach to better understand the neuronal
underpinnings of mental health and neurological disorders.
High School Interns
I am currently a high school student from Del Lago Academy, Campus of Applied Science.
I am currently an intern at CSUSM as a lab assistant and hope to study behavioral
sciences in the future.
I am currently a junior at Del Lago Academy, I am serving as an intern at the CSUSM
psychology lab. In the future I hope to pursue a career in psychology or forensic
Marcia Chavez, MA
Currently in a Behavioral Neuroscience PhD program at University of Tennessee at Knoxville
Meghan Hamlin, BA
Arthur Jay Castaneda, MA
Currently in a Behavioral Neuroscience PhD program at Ohio State University
| Mike McCreary, MA
Alicia Perry, BA
Graduated with a Master's at University of Southern California
Alex Kowalczyk, MA
Currently in a PhD program at UC Davis
Bobby Mercado, BA
School Psychology Specialist Masters Program at CSUS
Carlos Gonzales, BA
Currently in a Neuroscience PhD program at Stanford University
Erin Snider, BA
Gabe Holguin, BA
Psychological Science Master's at CSUSM
Heather Cody, BA
School Psychology Educational Specialist Program at SDSU
Lura Jacques, BA
Currently in an Organizational Psychology Master's program at CSU Long Beach
Natalie Grenier, BA
Yesenia Cabrera, BA
Neuroscience PhD program at UCLA
Zak Pronenko, BA
Haley Norris, BA
Experiment Psychology Master's Program at St. Joseph University