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Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Vice Chair for Faculty Development; and Director of the Stress & Health Research Program



Carolina Crossings B, Nelson Highway, Chapel Hill, NC

Education and Training:

B.S., Psychology, University of Florida
M.S., Counseling Psychology, Nova Southeastern University
Ph.D., Experimental & Biological Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Summary Statement:

Dr. Susan Girdler is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and also serves as Director for the UNC Psychiatry Stress and Health Research Program. Dr. Girdler’s long-standing research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health has focused on neuroendocrine and neurosteroid stress reactivity in reproductive mood disorders, including premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and perimenopausal depression.  Her research studies the role of psychosocial stress exposure in predicting vulnerability to hormone sensitivity across the female reproductive lifespan.  Dr. Girdler’s research also employs RCT designs to examine the beneficial effects of transdermal estradiol on cardiovascular health and mood in perimenopausal women.

Dr. Girdler is also committed to health disparities research.  Her work, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, was the first in the field to systematically identify racial differences in endogenous, stress-responsive pain regulatory mechanisms.   Those findings have direct implications for understanding racial disparities in clinical pain.  Dr. Girdler is also the Principal Investigator of an NIH-U01 collaborative research project on Peer group Research On Mentoring Scientists from underrepresented groups (The PROMISE study).

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Susan Girdler