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What can the study of the biological body tell us about the impact of different lifestyles and stressors on our overall states of health? What can the tracking of immune cells and senescent cells tell us about the aging process or our susceptibility to disease? How might the environment be affecting gene expression? Are certain emotional processes driving biological variations between individuals, and if so, what can we do once armed with that information? These are just a few of the questions Aric Prather is investigating in his role as clinical health psychologist and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Psychiatry.

If he’s not in the field working one-on-one with people struggling with chronic stress and/or insomnia, developing new interventions, and gaining insights on the behaviors that contribute to different biological outcomes, then he’s in the lab alongside other researchers and geneticists collecting data and contributing to the growing body of literature in this exciting and burgeoning field.

Tune in for the full conversation, including discussion about the biological affects of acute versus chronic stress, childhood trauma and long-term stress responses, the possibility of heritable stress behaviors, and the surprising nature of their findings. Follow Dr. Prather on Twitter and stay up to date on his latest research by visiting the UCSF website.

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