In the Emotion & Stress Physiology Lab, we conduct research on the physiology of stress, emotion, and social motivations, with a focus on neuroendocrine (hormone) systems. Our work illuminates how stress-response hormones affect the brain and therefore modulate emotional, motivational, and cognitive processes. We are also interested in how dysregulation in stress hormone systems might contribute to emotion-processing disruptions in affective disorders such as depression.


New publication in press:

Gaffey, A. E., Bergeman, C. S., Clark, L. A., & Wirth, M. M., 2016. Aging and the HPA axis: stress and resilience in older adults. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 68, 928-945.

Other recent publications:

Wirth, M. M., Gaffey, A. E., Martinez, B. S., 2015. Effects of intranasal oxytocin on steroid hormones in men and women. Neuropsychobiology 71(4): 202-211.

Wirth, M. M., 2015. Hormones, stress, and cognition: The effects of glucocorticoids and oxytocin on memory. Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology 1(2):177-201.

Gaffey, A. E., Wirth, M. M., Hoks, R. M., Jahn, A. L., Abercrombie, H. C., 2014. Circulating cortisol levels after exogenous cortisol administration are higher in women using hormonal contraceptives: Data from two preliminary studies. Stress 17(4): 314-20.

Gaffey, A.E., Wirth, M. M., 2014. Stress, rejection, and hormones: Cortisol and progesterone reactivity to laboratory speech and rejection tasks in women and men. F1000 Research 3:208 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.5142.2)

Accomplishments & People:

Congratulations to Brandy Sky Martinez for being awarded the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program!

Congratulations to Brandy Sky Martinez, Marissa Koscielski, and Michelle Wirth on their collaborations with Cindy Bergeman and Raqauel Joiner. Two posters will be presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Psychoneuroendocrionology conference in Zurich, Switzerland.

Congratulations to Natalie PottschmidtTony Cunningham and Michelle Wirth for having their poster accepted to the 47th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Psychoneuroendocrinology!

Congratulations to Michelle Wirth for being awarded the Insider Project grant! This grant will allow Professor Wirth to take undergraduate students to Zurich to attend the 47th annual ISPNE conference.

Welcome to the new undergraduate research assistants joining us for the 2017 – 2018 academic year: Jenna Meyers, Michael O’Dea, Ryan O’Leary, Abigail Rice, Grace Gallo, and Gabrielle D’Annunzio. Also, welcome back to our returning research assistants: Katie Salley, Alecca Como, and Claire Alexander.

Andrew Rakhshani will be leaving our lab in preparation for graduate school. Goodbye and good luck to Andrew!

Goodbye to our graduating seniors: Andrew Recker, Marissa Koscielski, Natalie Jackson, Natalie Pottschmidt, Amy Ahn, Anne Bode, Joshua Tadevich, Michael Markel, and Sierra Muir. Thank you for all of your hard work. We will miss you! 

2017 Seniors 1


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