HERE Center

Metabolism and Stress Assessment (MeSA) pilot study

Everyday life stressors and community level burdens have been shown to alter brain biology.

Psychoendocrinology literature shows compelling evidence that stress-induced changes to the body may contribute to obesity and metabolic diseases. Specifically, psychosocial and environmental stressors can disrupt hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity, which in turn will alter cortisol levels throughout the day.

Disrupted cortisol patterns have been shown to be associated with increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. The overarching research aim of the MeSA pilot study to understand the complex relationship between various stressors, HPA-axis activity, and body fat in young minority adults. In this effort, we will characterize perceived, community, and biological stress and assess their relationships with body fat measures. Work in this area of research has implications for public health and health care practitioners by raising awareness of health risks associated with stress and the need for stressreduction programs and interventions.

Research Area:

Obesity and Diabetes

Start Date:

April 2019 - present


  • Dr. Yolanda Vasquez-Salgado
  • Dr. Kacie Blackman
  • Dr. Thomas Chan