Behavioral Medicine Research in Cardiovascular Disease

The University of Miami

Director: Neil Schneiderman, PhD
Address, phone, e-mail


The purpose of the training program is to provide systematic predoctoral and postdoctoral research training into the biobehavioral and psychosocial factors involved in the pathogenesis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases as well as the prevention of such diseases in high risk populations. Research training is also offered for study of neural, hormonal and immunological mechanisms that may link biobehavioral variables to cardiovascular pathology. To a large extent training is coordinated with several extramurally funded NIH NHLBI grants, including a program project, "Biobehavioral Bases of CHD Risk and Management," and multiple R01 grants. Much of our research focuses upon biobehavioral factors that are associated with CHD risk and/or management. Thus, in one project conducted on adolescents with persistently elevated blood pressure, we are examining the effects of a behavioral intervention involving diet, exercise and stress management group counseling on cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., lipid profiles, adiposity, inflammatory markers) and putative subclinical markers of disease (e.g., left ventricular mass, endothelial function). In another project using similar counseling in acute myocardial infarction patients randomized into an intervention or control condition, we are examining the effects of counseling on biological risk factors (e.go, lipids, adiposity, coagulation factors) and possible subclinical markers of disease (e.g., carotid intima-media thickness, coronary calcification). In still another project conducted on Watanabe Heritable Hyperlipidemic Rabbits (WHHL) we are assessing the role of oxytocin in the regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary adrenocortical and sympathetic nervous system activity in relation to the progression of behaviorally-related atherosclerosis. Although emphasis at both the pre- and post-doctoral level is upon research, available didactic training includes multiple courses in advanced graduate statistics as well as courses in psychophysiology, behavioral medicine, psychological assessment and biobehavioral interventions in physical disorders, and a specialized seminar in biobehavioral bases of cardiovascular regulation. Coursework is also available in cardiovascular physiology, molecular pharmacology, epidemiology, integrative neuroscience, neuroanatomy, etc. Both pre- and post-doctoral trainees usually undergo rotations through our program project cores in Clinical Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism and Statistics/Data Management. Additional hands-on training takes place through the General Clinical Research Center.

Areas of Special Emphasis

Biobehavioral and psychosocial factors involved in the pathogenesis and treatment of cardiovascular diseases

Type of Training: Pre-doctoral and Post-doctoral

Key Faculty Available as Preceptors

Martin Bilsker, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine (Cardiology). Echocardiography

W. Dalton Dietrich, PhD, Professor, Neurological Surgery, Neurology, Cell Biology, and Anatomy. CNC injury and repair.

Karin Esposito, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychiatry. Psychopharmacology.

Marc Gellman, PhD, Research Associate Professor, Psychology. Cardiovascular behavioral Medicine.

Ronald Goldberg, MD, Professor and Associate Director, Medicine. Lipid metabolism.

Edward Green, PhD, Associate Professor, Psychology. Neurobiology.

Barry Hurwitz, Professor, Psychology and Biomedical Engineering. Clinical physiology.

Maria Llabre, PhD, Professor, Psychology. Statistics and measurement.

Jennifer Marks, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine. Diabetes and metabolism.

Armando Mendez, PhD, Research Assitant professor, Medicine. Endocrinology, lipid metabolism.

Robert Myerburg, MD, Professor, Medicine. Cardiology.

Bernard Roos, MD, Professor, Medicine. Endocrinology.

Patrice Saab, PhD, Associate Professor, Psychology. Cardiovascular behavioral medicine.

Rafael Sequeira, MD, Professor, Medicine. Cardiology.

Biing Shen, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychology. Statistics and clinical trials.

Jay Skyler, MD, Professor. Medicine, Psychology and Pediatrics. Diabetes and metabolism.

Last updated: January, 2009

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