As a clinical psychologist, Liisa Hantsoo’s work combines clinical practice and research. She is especially interested in the stress response in women, across the menstrual cycle and perinatally. The goal of her work is to better understand how interactions between the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal and hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axes may contribute to risk for mood or anxiety disorders in women, such as postpartum depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
She did her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine department of psychiatry under the mentorship of Dr. C. Neill Epperson, an expert in neuroactive steroids and sex differences. Before that, she completed her doctorate in clinical psychology in the Ohio State University’s department of psychology. In the laboratory of Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, at OSU’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, she conducted research on stress and immune function and how early life stress primes the development of the stress response. While earning her bachelor’s in neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, she was working in the laboratory of Marnie Halpern, PhD. Her work focused on the habenular nuclei, which are involved in anxiety and fear response, and was what first got her hooked on research.
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