Research Fellows


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Sarah Corey, PhD
Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF

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Sarah Corey, PhD’s research background is in neuroscience and immunology.  Prior to her graduate work, she conducted research on a number of diseases, including HIV-related dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  In addition, through personal experience and a scientific curiosity, she developed an interest in gaining a greater understanding of the mechanisms involved in Complementary and Alternative Medical (CAM) treatments.

For her graduate work, she combined a passion for research with her interest in CAM at the University of Vermont, where she received a doctorate in Neuroscience.  Her predoctoral research focused on connective tissue, its intrinsic innervation, and response to inflammation.  In addition, she applied a tissue stretch intervention designed to be similar to stretch techniques used in some body-based (manual and movement) therapies.

In her future research, she wants to gain a better understanding of the structure and function of connective tissue, in addition to its pathogenesis and response to CAM interventions. In the TRIM program, she looks forward to evaluating clinically how yoga, massage, mindfulness practices and other CAM therapies can be used to influence pain and inflammation.  In particular, she is interested in how CAM interventions affect sensory and autonomic nervous systems, in addition to the immune and endocrine systems.

Her long-term goal is to use both basic science and clinical research strategies to work toward a greater understanding of the mechanistic underpinnings involved in CAM therapies.


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Ashley Mason, PhD
Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF

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Ashley Mason, PhD’s primary research interests rest at the intersection of psychological stress, self-regulatory capacity, palatability and craving, and the food reward process. Her research interests also include (1) associations among psychological stress, disease progression, inflammation, and cellular aging, and (2) for whom, and through what mechanisms, interventions with divergent theoretical underpinnings bolster self-regulation, health behavior, and health outcomes.

She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Arizona (UA), where she studied associations between social connectedness and health as well as interpersonal perceptions of psychological distress in the context of stressful social events. She completed graduate clinical work in Behavioral Medicine at the Family and Community Medical Center at the UA Center for Integrative Medicine. She completed a Behavioral Medicine Clinical Internship at the VA Palo Alto Medical Health Care System.


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Kelly McDermott, PhD
Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF

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As a long time meditation and yoga practitioner, Kelly McDermott, PhD, has personal experience with the benefits of mind-body approaches to health. As a yoga instructor, she has also witnessed these effects in many others.  These experiences, in addition to her training as a health services researcher, have inspired much of her interest in research related to complementary and alternative therapies.

After receiving a doctorate from the University of Washington, where her work focused on cardiovascular outcomes, she began working on studies of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) in veterans.  These studies evaluated how MBSR training affected symptoms associated with posttraumatic stress disorder, irritable bowel syndrome, eating behaviors and measures of mental and physical health and wellbeing.

As a TRIM postdoctoral fellow, she hopes to investigate weaknesses in study design often found in yoga interventions.  Specifically, she is interested in determining whether there is a dose response relationship between yoga and changes in blood pressure among patients with hypertension. She believes such findings can improve the rigor of future yoga studies and the quality of evidence they provide.


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Laura Saslow, PhD
Osher Fellow, NCCAM Postdoctoral Training Program in Research in Integrative Medicine (TRIM), Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, UCSF

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Laura Saslow, PhD, received her PhD in Social and Personality Psychology from UC Berkeley. Her research examines biological and psychological aspects of prosociality, stress, and well-being.  For example, she has found links between variability in the oxytocin receptor gene and psychological phenomena, such as the tendency to feel empathy or react calmly to stressful situations.

In other research, she is examining how life stress interacts with variability in the serotonin transporter gene to predict differing trajectories of marital well-being.  At the Osher Center, she is working with Judy Moskowitz on several projects, including examining the efficacy of an online positive affect regulation intervention. The intervention, designed to improve coping with chronic stress, helps individuals learn and use eight positive emotion skills.  Ideally, in follow-up research, this project and others will help enrich our understanding of how positive affect can have downstream beneficial influences on psychological, immune, endocrine, and cardiovascular indices.

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