Our Lab

Psychological stress is one of the strongest predictors of mental health problems in children and adults. Yet, there is great variability in the likelihood that an individual will develop mental health difficulties in response to stress.  Our research program aims to clarify why some individuals are more vulnerable to stress than others. Specifically, we investigate how cognition, affect, and biology interact with stress to influence our well-being and mental health.

At Michigan PAL, we are currently studying how differences in stress regulation systems (hormones, cognition, social support, etc) impact the risk for mood disorders in youth; 2) how poverty impacts the development of stress regulation systems; and 3) how isolation and stress associated with long distance travel (ocean crossings in small vessels) impact our sleep, cognition (decision making, attention, memory), mood, and stress physiology. We hope that our work will provide key information about the biological and emotional substrates of stress-related disorders so that more effective preventive, coping, and treatment interventions are developed.

For more information about our current studies please visit our research page.

Our Facility

Our Laboratory is housed at the University of Michigan Department of Psychology and is led by Dr. Nestor Lopez-Duran, an Assistant Professor of Psychology and active faculty at the Michigan Depression Center. Our laboratory is part of ECLIPS (Experimental Collaborative in Psychological Science). ECLIPS is collaborative research space that includes state of the art facilities for a variety of studies, including multiple assessment and therapy rooms, a wet lab, experimental rooms for stress protocols, a conference room, family play rooms, a sleep lab, two EEG/ERP suites, administration and undergraduate work space, and a video monitoring room and an advanced high definition multi-camera video system linking the entire facility. In addition, we enjoy access to our own internal Core Assay Facility, which serves as our in-house biological laboratory where we conduct all of our hormonal assays.