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.
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 for students.
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 Illness: 5:e1.
*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. 104(2): 348-353.
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): 356-68.
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: 110-21.
*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 Research, 160(1):169-77.
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: in press.
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.
I am graduating this spring with a B.A. in Psychology. I will applying for graduate school this fall to obtain a Master's in Social Work
I’m Brianna Espinda and I recently graduated with my bachelors in psychology. I'm very interested in helping the community, but I have yet to choose a direction for my future career. This lab has already taught me many valuable lessons and I'm excited to see where it goes in the future and the impact this work will have.
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.
My name is Nataly Luna. It’s my third year at Cal State San Marcos and my major is Psychological Science with a minor in French. I plan on going to graduate school after and pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology.
My name is Kayla Osman and I am currently an undergraduate pursuing a degree in Psychological Science with a minor in Women's Studies here at Cal State San Marcos. My research interests include looking at minority groups and the psychological effects they face due to discrimination. After graduating, I hope to attend PA school and pursue a career as a PA in psychiatric health.
I am currently completing my undergraduate studies in psychology here at CSUSM. I especially enjoy studying the brain and psychological disorders. I plan to continue my studies in psychology and behavioral neuroscience, and eventually obtain a doctoral degree.
I am a 4th year Psychology Major here at CSUSM. I greatly enjoy studying both behavioral and cognitive Neuroscience and plan on pursuing a Ph.D to one day have a lab of my own as well as be a professor. My plans in the near future are to stay involved with the lab, complete my last year of my undergrad, and prepare for GRE's/applications.
I am currently a high school student at High Tech High North County. I am currently an intern at CSUSM as a lab assistant.