Faculty ProfilesKirstin Aschbacher, PhD
Associate Adjunct Professor
555 Mission Bay Blvd South
San Francisco, CA 94158
FOCUS: Dr. Kirstin Aschbacher is an Associate Professor and Data Scientist in the Division of Cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Aschbacher is passionate about "digital lifestyle medicine" – i.e., using technology to help people prevent and manage disease through healthy lifestyle change.
CLINCIAL TRAINING: She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Joint Doctoral Program between San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego with specialized expertise in Behavioral Medicine. She is also a licensed Clinical Psychologist.
DATA SCIENCE TRAINING: Dr. Aschbacher received specialized training in Data Science and mathematical modeling through her Postdoctoral work at UCSF, by completing the Data Insight Fellows Program, and through working at a Silicon Valley health start-up (Jawbone) as a Data Scientist for over a year. At Jawbone, Dr. Aschbacher helped design, build and test interventions to help users make positive changes in their diet, activity, sleep, and weight.
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Dr. Aschbacher's research has focused on how psychological stress and diet both contribute to the risk for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. She is interested in the question – How do we help people learn and practice the skills they need to become more resilient to stress, make healthy lifestyle changes, and reduce the burden of disease? Going forward, she is focused on applying these interests in the context of digital therapeutics and the Health eHeart study.
RELATED WEB SITES:
IN THE NEWS:
Sound Sleep may help Curb Calories
Dr. Aschbacher Featured in the Jawbone Blog
Stress & Poor Diet work Synergistically to Augment Metabolic Risk
Chronic Stress may Impair Cells that Help Repair Blood Vessel Linings
The Art and Science of Storytelling through Data
Related Web Sites
In the News
Recent Articles (42)
Aschbacher K, Mellon SH, Wolkowitz OM, Henn-Haase C, Yehuda R, Flory JD, Bierer LM, Abu-Amara D, Marmar CR, Mueller SG. Posttraumatic stress disorder, symptoms, and white matter abnormalities among combat-exposed veterans. Brain Imaging Behav. 2017 Aug 19.
Dalgaard VL, Aschbacher K, Andersen JH, Glasscock DJ, Willert MV, Carstensen O, Biering K. Return to work after work-related stress: a randomized controlled trial of a work-focused cognitive behavioral intervention. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2017 Sep 01; 43(5):436-446.
Aschbacher K, Milush JM, Gilbert A, Almeida C, Sinclair E, Epling L, Grenon SM, Marco EJ, Puterman E, Epel E. Chronic stress is associated with reduced circulating hematopoietic progenitor cell number: A maternal caregiving model. Brain Behav Immun. 2016 Sep 10.
Bersani FS, Wolkowitz OM, Milush JM, Sinclair E, Eppling L, Aschbacher K, Lindqvist D, Yehuda R, Flory J, Bierer LM, Matokine I, Abu-Amara D, Reus VI, Coy M, Hough CM, Marmar CR, Mellon SH. A population of atypical CD56(-)CD16(+) natural killer cells is expanded in PTSD and is associated with symptom severity. Brain Behav Immun. 2016 Aug; 56:264-70.
Grenon SM, Owens CD, Alley H, Perez S, Whooley MA, Neylan TC, Aschbacher K, Gasper WJ, Hilton JF, Cohen BE. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Is Associated With Worse Endothelial Function Among Veterans. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016; 5(3).
Aschbacher K, Derakhshandeh R, Flores AJ, Narayan S, Mendes WB, Springer ML. Circulating angiogenic cell function is inhibited by cortisol in vitro and associated with psychological stress and cortisol in vivo. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016 May; 67:216-23.
Lin J, Cheon J, Brown R, Coccia M, Puterman E, Aschbacher K, Sinclair E, Epel E, Blackburn EH. Systematic and Cell Type-Specific Telomere Length Changes in Subsets of Lymphocytes. J Immunol Res. 2016; 2016:5371050.
Mason AE, Epel ES, Aschbacher K, Lustig RH, Acree M, Kristeller J, Cohn M, Dallman M, Moran PJ, Bacchetti P, Laraia B, Hecht FM, Daubenmier J. Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. Appetite. 2016 May 1; 100:86-93.
Chen Q, Varga M, Wang X, Haddad DJ, An S, Medzikovic L, Derakhshandeh R, Kostyushev DS, Zhang Y, Clifford BT, Luu E, Danforth OM, Rafikov R, Gong W, Black SM, Suchkov SV, Fineman JR, Heiss C, Aschbacher K, Yeghiazarians Y, Springer ML. Overexpression of Nitric Oxide Synthase Restores Circulating Angiogenic Cell Function in Patients With Coronary Artery Disease: Implications for Autologous Cell Therapy for Myocardial Infarction. J Am Heart Assoc. 2016; 5(1).
Puterman E, Epel ES, O'Donovan A, Prather AA, Aschbacher K, Dhabhar FS. Anger is associated with increased IL-6 stress reactivity in women, but only among those low in social support. Int J Behav Med. 2014 Dec; 21(6):936-45.
Aschbacher K, Rodriguez-Fernandez M, van Wietmarschen H, Tomiyama AJ, Jain S, Epel E, Doyle FJ, van der Greef J. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-leptin axis and metabolic health: a systems approach to resilience, robustness and control. Interface Focus. 2014 Oct 6; 4(5):20140020.
Aschbacher K, Kornfeld S, Picard M, Puterman E, Havel PJ, Stanhope K, Lustig RH, Epel E. Chronic stress increases vulnerability to diet-related abdominal fat, oxidative stress, and metabolic risk. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2014 Aug; 46:14-22.
Pinnamaneni K, Sievers RE, Sharma R, Selchau AM, Gutierrez G, Nordsieck EJ, Su R, An S, Chen Q, Wang X, Derakhshandeh R, Aschbacher K, Heiss C, Glantz SA, Schick SF, Springer ML. Brief exposure to secondhand smoke reversibly impairs endothelial vasodilatory function. Nicotine Tob Res. 2014 May; 16(5):584-90.
Aschbacher K, O'Donovan A, Wolkowitz OM, Dhabhar FS, Su Y, Epel E. Good stress, bad stress and oxidative stress: insights from anticipatory cortisol reactivity. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Sep; 38(9):1698-708.
Aschbacher K, Adam EK, Crofford LJ, Kemeny ME, Demitrack MA, Ben-Zvi A. Linking disease symptoms and subtypes with personalized systems-based phenotypes: a proof of concept study. Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Oct; 26(7):1047-56.
Aschbacher K, Epel E, Wolkowitz OM, Prather AA, Puterman E, Dhabhar FS. Maintenance of a positive outlook during acute stress protects against pro-inflammatory reactivity and future depressive symptoms. Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Feb; 26(2):346-52.
Aschbacher K, Chen Q, Varga M, Haddad DJ, Yeghiazarians Y, Epel E, Wolkowitz OM, Springer ML. Higher fasting glucose levels are associated with reduced circulating angiogenic cell migratory capacity among healthy individuals. Am J Cardiovasc Dis. 2012; 2(1):12-9.
Ben-Zvi, A., Aschbacher, K.. Int. J. of Advanced Mechatronic Systems. Asymptotic parameter sensitivity for polynomial dynamical systems. 2011; 3(1):54-64.
Roepke SK, Mausbach BT, Patterson TL, Von Känel R, Ancoli-Israel S, Harmell AL, Dimsdale JE, Aschbacher K, Mills PJ, Ziegler MG, Allison M, Grant I. Effects of Alzheimer caregiving on allostatic load. J Health Psychol. 2011 Jan; 16(1):58-69.
Roepke SK, Mausbach BT, von Känel R, Ancoli-Israel S, Harmell AL, Dimsdale JE, Aschbacher K, Mills PJ, Patterson TL, Grant I. The moderating role of personal mastery on the relationship between caregiving status and multiple dimensions of fatigue. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2009 Dec; 24(12):1453-62.
Aschbacher K, von Känel R, Mills PJ, Roepke SK, Hong S, Dimsdale JE, Mausbach BT, Patterson TL, Ziegler MG, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. Longitudinal platelet reactivity to acute psychological stress among older men and women. Stress. 2009 Sep; 12(5):426-33.
Aschbacher K, Roepke SK, von Känel R, Mills PJ, Mausbach BT, Patterson TL, Dimsdale JE, Ziegler MG, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. Persistent versus transient depressive symptoms in relation to platelet hyperactivation: a longitudinal analysis of dementia caregivers. J Affect Disord. 2009 Jul; 116(1-2):80-7.
Bormann JE, Aschbacher K, Wetherell JL, Roesch S, Redwine L. Effects of faith/assurance on cortisol levels are enhanced by a spiritual mantram intervention in adults with HIV: a randomized trial. J Psychosom Res. 2009 Feb; 66(2):161-71.
Mills PJ, Ancoli-Israel S, von Känel R, Mausbach BT, Aschbacher K, Patterson TL, Ziegler MG, Dimsdale JE, Grant I. Effects of gender and dementia severity on Alzheimer's disease caregivers' sleep and biomarkers of coagulation and inflammation. Brain Behav Immun. 2009 Jul; 23(5):605-10.
Mausbach BT, Aschbacher K, Mills PJ, Roepke SK, von Känel R, Patterson TL, Dimsdale JE, Ziegler MG, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. A 5-year longitudinal study of the relationships between stress, coping, and immune cell beta(2)-adrenergic receptor sensitivity. Psychiatry Res. 2008 Sep 30; 160(3):247-55.
Roepke SK, Mausbach BT, Aschbacher K, Ziegler MG, Dimsdale JE, Mills PJ, von Känel R, Ancoli-Israel S, Patterson TL, Grant I. Personal mastery is associated with reduced sympathetic arousal in stressed Alzheimer caregivers. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2008 Apr; 16(4):310-7.
Mausbach BT, von Känel R, Patterson TL, Dimsdale JE, Depp CA, Aschbacher K, Mills PJ, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. The moderating effect of personal mastery and the relations between stress and Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) antigen. Health Psychol. 2008 Mar; 27(2 Suppl):S172-9.
von Känel R, Mausbach BT, Patterson TL, Dimsdale JE, Aschbacher K, Mills PJ, Ziegler MG, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. Increased Framingham Coronary Heart Disease Risk Score in dementia caregivers relative to non-caregiving controls. Gerontology. 2008; 54(3):131-7.
Aschbacher K, Mills PJ, von Känel R, Hong S, Mausbach BT, Roepke SK, Dimsdale JE, Patterson TL, Ziegler MG, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. Effects of depressive and anxious symptoms on norepinephrine and platelet P-selectin responses to acute psychological stress among elderly caregivers. Brain Behav Immun. 2008 May; 22(4):493-502.
Aschbacher K, von Känel R, Mills PJ, Hong S, Roepke SK, Mausbach BT, Patterson TL, Ziegler MG, Dimsdale JE, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. Combination of caregiving stress and hormone replacement therapy is associated with prolonged platelet activation to acute stress among postmenopausal women. Psychosom Med. 2007 Dec; 69(9):910-7.
Mausbach BT, von Känel R, Aschbacher K, Roepke SK, Dimsdale JE, Ziegler MG, Mills PJ, Patterson TL, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. Spousal caregivers of patients with Alzheimer's disease show longitudinal increases in plasma level of tissue-type plasminogen activator antigen. Psychosom Med. 2007 Nov; 69(8):816-22.
Mausbach BT, Aschbacher K, Patterson TL, von Känel R, Dimsdale JE, Mills PJ, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. Effects of placement and bereavement on psychological well-being and cardiovascular risk in Alzheimer's caregivers: a longitudinal analysis. J Psychosom Res. 2007 Apr; 62(4):439-45.
Yazdi CA, Aschbacher K, Arvantaj A, Naser HM, Abdollahi E, Asadi A, Mousavi M, Narmani MR, Kianpishe M, Nicfallah F, Moghadam AK. Knowledge, attitudes and sources of information regarding HIV/AIDS in Iranian adolescents. AIDS Care. 2006 Nov; 18(8):1004-10.
Mausbach BT, Mills PJ, Patterson TL, Aschbacher K, Dimsdale JE, Ancoli-Israel S, von Känel R, Grant I. Stress-related reduction in personal mastery is associated with reduced immune cell beta2-adrenergic receptor sensitivity. Int Psychogeriatr. 2007 Oct; 19(5):935-46.
Mausbach BT, Ancoli-Israel S, von Känel R, Patterson TL, Aschbacher K, Mills PJ, Ziegler MG, Dimsdale JE, Calleran S, Grant I. Sleep disturbance, norepinephrine, and D-dimer are all related in elderly caregivers of people with Alzheimer disease. Sleep. 2006 Oct; 29(10):1347-52.
Aschbacher K, von Känel R, Dimsdale JE, Patterson TL, Mills PJ, Mausbach BT, Allison MA, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. Dementia severity of the care receiver predicts procoagulant response in Alzheimer caregivers. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006 Aug; 14(8):694-703.
Mausbach BT, Aschbacher K, Patterson TL, Ancoli-Israel S, von Känel R, Mills PJ, Dimsdale JE, Grant I. Avoidant coping partially mediates the relationship between patient problem behaviors and depressive symptoms in spousal Alzheimer caregivers. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006 Apr; 14(4):299-306.
Aschbacher K, Patterson TL, von Känel R, Dimsdale JE, Mills PJ, Adler KA, Ancoli-Israel S, Grant I. Coping processes and hemostatic reactivity to acute stress in dementia caregivers. Psychosom Med. 2005 Nov-Dec; 67(6):964-71.