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Elizabeth Shirtcliff

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Human Development and Family Studies / Food Science & Human Nutrition-H Sci

Office: 2361C Palmer, 2222 Osborn Dr, Ames, IA 50011
Phone number: +1 515 294 3677
Email: birdie@iastate.edu

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Research interests

The early environment shapes children’s well-being and health; early adversity is well-known as a risk factor for wide-ranging problematic outcomes. Yet, the human sciences still do not understand how early adversity “gets under the skin.” My work focuses on biobehavioral mechanisms that illustrate the profound impact that a child’s early environment exerts on their physiology. Researchers in my Stress Physiology Investigative Team (SPIT) Laboratory collect biomarkers noninvasively in humans. We examine stress-biomarkers like cortisol, bonding-biomarkers like oxytocin, development-biomarkers like testosterone, or immune-biomarkers like herpes simplex virus. Ultimately, the goal is to use biomarkers to point to what really matters: the child’s family and social environment.