Elissa Epel

Elissa Epel, PhD is an Associate Professor at UCSF, in the Department of Psychiatry. Epel got her BA in Psychology from Stanford and PhD in Clinical and Health Psychology from Yale. Her research investigates the intricacies of the mind-body connection. In particular, she has been studying psychological and behavioral processes related to chronic psychological stress that accelerate biological aging, and how mindfulness-based interventions might slow cellular aging. She also studies how intertwined eating is with emotional life, and how emotional eating affects metabolism and aging. With her collaborators, she has current clinical trials to examine how mindful eating programs affect weight loss, pregnancy health, and baby outcomes.  She is also studying how a specialized mindfulness training targeting parenting stress affects aging biology as well as child well-being, especially for children with autism. She is particularly interested in how mobile technology can promote changes in daily experience. Recently, she, Eli Puterman, LIz Blackburn, and colleagues have examined, in a randomized controlled study, the acute effects of a wellness/meditation retreat on biological health, and how this may differ from the relaxation response that results from a resort vacation. Her research on stress and aging is covered in depth in “Stress Less” (by Thea Singer). Her research publications can be found at  http://www.chc.ucsf.edu/ame_lab/publications.html