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    • Kevin Laugero, Ph.D.

      Research Leader

      Associate Adjunct Professor, UC Davis Department of Nutrition

      Office: (530) 752-4173

      Email address:

      Research Interests

      The Laugero lab (Stress Biology and Nutrition Research Lab) studies stress and nutrition interrelationships. Research is being conducted to understand physiological and metabolic underpinnings of inter-individual variability in stress responsiveness, and how this can be used to explain vulnerability or resilience to the negative mental and physical effects of chronic stress. A systems approach is applied to examine the interrelationships between stress, diet, and physical activity in human interventions and the community to identify mechanisms and factors that explain differential regulation of the stress response and its link to health.

      Laugero Lab (Stress Biology and Nutrition Research Lab) Themes

      Our research studies focus on nutritional and metabolic regulation of stress system responsiveness and impact on prevention and management of chronic disease.

      The overarching objective of our research is to understand the nutritional and metabolic underpinnings of stress responsiveness, emotional dysregulation, and mental health. A central aim of the research program is to identify nutritional and metabolic interactions or signatures that help explain individual variation in resilience or vulnerability to stress and, therefore, stress-related diseases. Our underlying hypothesis is that differences in nutrition and metabolism explain, at least in part, variability in stress responsiveness and the link between stress vulnerability and disease risk. Part of our work aims to expose mechanisms that explain coexistence of metabolic (e.g., diabetes) and psychiatric conditions such as depression. Our lab applies functional brain imaging, metabolomics, neuroendocrine and autonomic nervous system evaluation, cognitive function assessment, and qualitative methods to clinical research studies and interventions. Our previous work exposed a novel metabolic-brain model, around which much of our research and view of behavioral health is centered. Our vision is to expose and test through hypothesis-driven research and clinical trials novel access points for guiding personalized and conventional practitioners on nutrition-based options as part of a plan to reduce chronic stress and its detrimental effects on mental and physical health.

    • ARS Employees

      Rashel Decant, Biological Science Lab Technician, Study Coordinator

      Sarah Dimitratos, RD, Nutritional Biology Doctoral Candidate & USDA National Needs Fellow

      Research Interests: intergenerational transmission of stress-motivated eating behavior in parent/adolescent dyads.

      Melanie Hercules, Lab Assistant and Data Manager

      Hoda Soltani, MPH, RD, Nutritional Biology Doctoral Candidate, Project Manager Healthy UC Davis

      Research Interests: Human stress and nutrition interrelationships.

    • Methods and Technique

      • Neuroendocrine Evaluation

      • Functional Brain Imaging

      • Cognitive Function EIA and RIA

      • Body Composition

      • Food Preference and Intake Sensory Evaluation

      • Physical Activity

      • Emotional activity