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Kristin Litzelman was a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), Behavioral Research Program (BRP), Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch (BBPSB) from June 2013 to October 2015. She earned her Doctorate in Population Health Sciences from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health in 2013 and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kristin's research interests center around the biopsychosocial effects of stress on health, and how these factors may accumulate over the lifecourse to influence long-term health outcomes. She is especially interested in the psychobiology of stress and how it may "get under the skin" to influence biological pathways and subsequent health, as well as the factors that may mitigate the negative health effects of stress. In her work, Kristin has explored several variations on this theme including the impact of illness on the family, specifically examining stress and quality of life among parents of children with cancer and other illnesses and family caregivers more generally. In addition, she has examined the impact of family caregiving on cellular aging (telomere length) and the associations among telomere length, telomere maintenance genes, and colorectal cancer.
Kristin is pursuing projects that extend her previous work, including examinations of the impact of family well-being on cancer patient outcomes, the associations between psychosocial factors and telomere length over time, and the role of epigenetic biomarkers in the stress-health pathway. In addition, she is a member of the Biospecimen Development Project team, specifically planning to assess the feasibility of telomere length measurement in this project and to evaluate absolute versus relative measures of telomere length. She also worked collaboratively with the NCI Network on Biobehavioral Pathways in Cancer, developing projects and partnerships. Kristin's work was featured in a TED talk, "How to make stress your friend."
She is also a State Specialist in Family and Financial Well-being in Middle and Later Life at the University of Wisconsin-Extension, Family Living Programs.
Secondary Branch Appointment:
Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch (BBPSB)
Current and past BRP mentors include Paige Green.