Aoife O'Donovan, PhD

Assoc. Professor In Residence
+1 415 221-4810 ext. 24959

Dr. O'Donovan is currently a Society in Science: Branco Weiss Fellow at the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco Veteran's Affairs Medical Center. Her research is focused on uncovering the mechanisms by which psychological experiences influence the development of age-related diseases. She is particularly interested in how psychosocial stress influences the biological aging process.


Post-traumatic stress disorder and risk for hospitalization and death following COVID-19 infection.

Translational psychiatry

Nishimi K, Neylan TC, Bertenthal D, Dolsen EA, Seal KH, O'Donovan A

Identifying correlates of suicide ideation during the COVID-19 pandemic: A cross-sectional analysis of 148 sociodemographic and pandemic-specific factors.

Journal of psychiatric research

Dolsen EA, Nishimi K, LeWinn KZ, Byers AL, Tripp P, Woodward E, Khan AJ, Marx BP, Borsari B, Jiha A, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A

Adverse and traumatic exposures, posttraumatic stress disorder, telomere length, and hair cortisol - Exploring associations in a high-risk sample of young adult residential care leavers.

Brain, behavior, & immunity - health

Bürgin D, Clemens V, Varghese N, Eckert A, Huber M, Bruttin E, Boonmann C, Unternährer E, O'Donovan A, Schmid M

Higher hair cortisol concentrations associated with shorter leukocyte telomere length in high-risk young adults.

Scientific reports

Bürgin D, Varghese N, Eckert A, Clemens V, Unternährer E, Boonmann C, O'Donovan A, Schmid M

Prior trauma exposure, posttraumatic stress symptoms, and COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

Journal of psychiatric research

Nishimi K, Borsari B, Tripp P, Jiha A, Dolsen EA, Woolley JD, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A

Association of Psychiatric Disorders With Incidence of SARS-CoV-2 Breakthrough Infection Among Vaccinated Adults.

JAMA network open

Nishimi K, Neylan TC, Bertenthal D, Seal KH, O'Donovan A

Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms associated with protective and risky behaviors for coronavirus disease 2019.

Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association

Nishimi K, Borsari B, Marx BP, Tripp P, Woodward E, Rosen RC, Cohen BE, Maven D, Jiha A, Woolley JD, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A

Psilocybin for Trauma-Related Disorders.

Current topics in behavioral neurosciences

Khan AJ, Bradley E, O'Donovan A, Woolley J

Clusters of COVID-19 protective and risky behaviors and their associations with pandemic, socio-demographic, and mental health factors in the United States.

Preventive medicine reports

Nishimi K, Borsari B, Marx BP, Rosen RC, Cohen BE, Woodward E, Maven D, Tripp P, Jiha A, Woolley JD, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A

Effects of oxytocin administration on fear-potentiated acoustic startle in co-occurring PTSD and alcohol use disorder: A randomized clinical trial.

Psychiatry research

Stauffer CS, Morrison TE, Meinzer NK, Leung D, Buffington J, Sheh EG, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A, Woolley JD

Ventromedial and insular cortical volume moderates the relationship between BDNF Val66Met and threat sensitivity.

Journal of psychiatric research

Young DA, Chao LL, Zhang H, Metzler T, Ross J, Richards A, O'Donovan A, Inslicht SS, Neylan TC

COVID-19 related moral injury: Associations with pandemic-related perceived threat and risky and protective behaviors.

Journal of psychiatric research

Khan AJ, Nishimi K, Tripp P, Maven D, Jiha A, Woodward E, Inslicht S, Richards A, Neylan TC, Maguen S, O'Donovan A

The Stress of Caring-Resilience and HPA-Axis Activity in Hair Samples of Youth Residential Caregivers.

Frontiers in psychiatry

Bürgin D, Kind N, Schröder M, Clemens V, Fegert JM, Eckert A, Buchheim A, O'Donovan A, Boonmann C, Schmid M

Compounding Stress: Childhood Adversity as a Risk Factor for Adulthood Trauma Exposure in the Health and Retirement Study.

Journal of traumatic stress

Bürgin D, Boonmann C, Schmeck K, Schmid M, Tripp P, Nishimi K, O'Donovan A

Acute Cognitive Effects of the Hypocretin Receptor Antagonist Almorexant Relative to Zolpidem and Placebo: A Randomized Clinical Trial.


Neylan TC, Richards A, Metzler TJ, Ruoff LM, Varbel J, O'Donovan A, Sivasubramanian M, Motraghi T, Hlavin J, Batki SL, Inslicht SS, Samuelson K, Morairty SR, Kilduff TS

Relationships of Inflammation Trajectories with White Matter Volume and Integrity in Midlife.

Brain, behavior, and immunity

O'Donovan A, Bahorik A, Sidney S, Launer LJ, Yaffe K

Impulsivity as a multifactorial construct and its relationship to PTSD severity and threat sensitivity.

Psychiatry research

Young DA, Neylan TC, Zhang H, O'Donovan A, Inslicht SS

Automatic Imitation in Comorbid PTSD & Alcohol Use Disorder and Controls: an RCT of Intranasal Oxytocin.


Morrison TE, De Coster L, Stauffer CS, Wen J, Ahmadi E, Delucchi K, O'Donovan A, Woolley J

Validation of sleep measurement in a multisensor consumer grade wearable device in healthy young adults.

Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Kanady JC, Ruoff L, Straus LD, Varbel J, Metzler T, Richards A, Inslicht SS, O'Donovan A, Hlavin J, Neylan TC

Social integration and inflammation in individuals with and without posttraumatic stress disorder.

Brain, behavior, and immunity

Ahmadian AJ, Lin JE, Neylan TC, Woolley JD, O'Donovan A, Cohen BE

Randomized Controlled Trial Testing Mobile-Based Attention-Bias Modification for Posttraumatic Stress Using Personalized Word Stimuli.

Clinical psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science

Niles AN, Woolley JD, Tripp P, Pesquita A, Vinogradov S, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A

Randomized controlled trial testing mobile-based attention-bias modification for posttraumatic stress using personalized word stimuli

Clinical Psychological Science

Niles, A. N., Woolley, J. D., Tripp, P., Pesquita, A., Vinogradov, S., Neylan, T. C., & O’Donovan, A.

Fact or artefact? Childhood adversity and adulthood trauma in the U.S. population-based Health and Retirement Study.

European Journal of Psychotraumatology

Bürgin D, Boonmann C, Schmid M, Tripp P, O'Donovan A

Effects of Oxytocin Administration on Cue-Induced Craving in Co-occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and PTSD: A Within-Participant Randomized Clinical Trial.

Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research

Stauffer CS, Meinzer NK, Morrison T, Wen JH, Radanovich L, Leung D, Niles A, O'Donovan A, Batki SL, Woolley JD

Gender Differences in Threat Biases: Trauma Type Matters in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Journal of traumatic stress

Cowden Hindash AH, Lujan C, Howard M, O'Donovan A, Richards A, Neylan TC, Inslicht SS

Oxytocin increases eye gaze in schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia research

Bradley ER, Seitz A, Niles AN, Rankin KP, Mathalon DH, O'Donovan A, Woolley JD

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Telomere Length a Look Into the Heterogeneity of Findings-A Narrative Review.

Frontiers in neuroscience

Bürgin D, O'Donovan A, d'Huart D, di Gallo A, Eckert A, Fegert J, Schmeck K, Schmid M, Boonmann C

Comparing anxiety and depression to obesity and smoking as predictors of major medical illnesses and somatic symptoms.

Health psychology : official journal of the Division of Health Psychology, American Psychological Association

Niles AN, O'Donovan A

Altered overnight levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in men and women with posttraumatic stress disorder.


Küffer A, Straus LD, Prather AA, Inslicht SS, Richards A, Shigenaga JK, Madden E, Metzler TJ, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A

Association among anterior cingulate cortex volume, psychophysiological response, and PTSD diagnosis in a Veteran sample.

Neurobiology of learning and memory

Young DA, Chao L, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A, Metzler TJ, Inslicht SS

Effects of Threat Context, Trauma History, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Status on Physiological Startle Reactivity in Gulf War Veterans.

Journal of traumatic stress

Niles AN, Luxenberg A, Neylan TC, Inslicht SS, Richards A, Metzler TJ, Hlavin J, Deng J, O'Donovan A

The interaction of BDNF Val66Met, PTSD, and child abuse on psychophysiological reactivity and HPA axis function in a sample of Gulf War Veterans.

Journal of affective disorders

Young DA, Neylan TC, O'Donovan A, Metzler T, Richards A, Ross JA, Inslicht SS

Sleep and hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis responses to metyrapone in posttraumatic stress disorder.


Inslicht SS, Rao MN, Richards A, O'Donovan A, Gibson CJ, Baum T, Metzler TJ, Neylan TC

Sleep and Cognitive Performance From Teens To Old Age: More Is Not Better.


Richards A, Inslicht SS, Metzler TJ, Mohlenhoff BS, Rao MN, O'Donovan A, Neylan TC

Current posttraumatic stress disorder and exaggerated threat sensitivity associated with elevated inflammation in the Mind Your Heart Study.

Brain, behavior, and immunity

O'Donovan A, Ahmadian AJ, Neylan TC, Pacult MA, Edmondson D, Cohen BE

Alteration of immune markers in a group of melancholic depressed patients and their response to electroconvulsive therapy.

Journal of affective disorders

Rush G, O'Donovan A, Nagle L, Conway C, McCrohan A, O'Farrelly C, Lucey JV, Malone KM

Becoming an Academic Researcher in Psychiatry: A View From the Trenches.

Academic psychiatry : the journal of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatric Residency Training and the Association for Academic Psychiatry

Ionescu DF, McAdams CJ, O'Donovan A, Philip NS

Metabolic risk factors and posttraumatic stress disorder: the role of sleep in young, healthy adults.

Psychosomatic medicine

Talbot LS, Rao MN, Cohen BE, Richards A, Inslicht SS, O'Donovan A, Maguen S, Metzler TJ, Neylan TC

Anxiety is associated with higher levels of global DNA methylation and altered expression of epigenetic and interleukin-6 genes.

Psychiatric genetics

Murphy TM, O'Donovan A, Mullins N, O'Farrelly C, McCann A, Malone K

Perceived life stress exposure modulates reward-related medial prefrontal cortex responses to acute stress in depression.

Journal of affective disorders

Kumar P, Slavich GM, Berghorst LH, Treadway MT, Brooks NH, Dutra SJ, Greve DN, O'Donovan A, Bleil ME, Maninger N, Pizzagalli DA

Anger is associated with increased IL-6 stress reactivity in women, but only among those low in social support.

International journal of behavioral medicine

Puterman E, Epel ES, O'Donovan A, Prather AA, Aschbacher K, Dhabhar FS

Altered inflammatory activity associated with reduced hippocampal volume and more severe posttraumatic stress symptoms in Gulf War veterans.


O'Donovan A, Chao LL, Paulson J, Samuelson KW, Shigenaga JK, Grunfeld C, Weiner MW, Neylan TC

Hyperinsulinemic response to oral glucose challenge in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder.


Rao MN, Chau A, Madden E, Inslicht S, Talbot L, Richards A, O'Donovan A, Ruoff L, Grunfeld C, Neylan TC

Elevated risk for autoimmune disorders in iraq and afghanistan veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Biological psychiatry

O'Donovan A, Cohen BE, Seal KH, Bertenthal D, Margaretten M, Nishimi K, Neylan TC

Sex differences in neurosteroid and hormonal responses to metyrapone in posttraumatic stress disorder.


Inslicht SS, Richards A, Madden E, Rao MN, O'Donovan A, Talbot LS, Rucker E, Metzler TJ, Hauger RL, Neylan TC

Oxytocin administration enhances controlled social cognition in patients with schizophrenia.


Woolley JD, Chuang B, Lam O, Lai W, O'Donovan A, Rankin KP, Mathalon DH, Vinogradov S

Inflammation and depression: unraveling the complex interplay in inflammatory bowel disease.

Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition

O'Donovan A

Suicidal ideation is associated with elevated inflammation in patients with major depressive disorder.

Depression and anxiety

O'Donovan A, Rush G, Hoatam G, Hughes BM, McCrohan A, Kelleher C, O'Farrelly C, Malone KM

Good stress, bad stress and oxidative stress: insights from anticipatory cortisol reactivity.


Aschbacher K, O'Donovan A, Wolkowitz OM, Dhabhar FS, Su Y, Epel E

Exaggerated neurobiological sensitivity to threat as a mechanism linking anxiety with increased risk for diseases of aging.

Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews

O'Donovan A, Slavich GM, Epel ES, Neylan TC

Educational attainment and late life telomere length in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study.

Brain, behavior, and immunity

Adler N, Pantell MS, O'Donovan A, Blackburn E, Cawthon R, Koster A, Opresko P, Newman A, Harris TB, Epel E

Stress appraisals and cellular aging: a key role for anticipatory threat in the relationship between psychological stress and telomere length.

Brain, behavior, and immunity

O'Donovan A, Tomiyama AJ, Lin J, Puterman E, Adler NE, Kemeny M, Wolkowitz OM, Blackburn EH, Epel ES

Does cellular aging relate to patterns of allostasis? An examination of basal and stress reactive HPA axis activity and telomere length.

Physiology & behavior

Tomiyama AJ, O'Donovan A, Lin J, Puterman E, Lazaro A, Chan J, Dhabhar FS, Wolkowitz O, Kirschbaum C, Blackburn E, Epel E

Shorter leukocyte telomere length in midlife women with poor sleep quality.

Journal of aging research

Prather AA, Puterman E, Lin J, O'Donovan A, Krauss J, Tomiyama AJ, Epel ES, Blackburn EH

Physical activity moderates effects of stressor-induced rumination on cortisol reactivity.

Psychosomatic medicine

Puterman E, O'Donovan A, Adler NE, Tomiyama AJ, Kemeny M, Wolkowitz OM, Epel E

Cumulative inflammatory load is associated with short leukocyte telomere length in the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study.

PloS one

O'Donovan A, Pantell MS, Puterman E, Dhabhar FS, Blackburn EH, Yaffe K, Cawthon RM, Opresko PL, Hsueh WC, Satterfield S, Newman AB, Ayonayon HN, Rubin SM, Harris TB, Epel ES

Childhood trauma associated with short leukocyte telomere length in posttraumatic stress disorder.

Biological psychiatry

O'Donovan A, Epel E, Lin J, Wolkowitz O, Cohen B, Maguen S, Metzler T, Lenoci M, Blackburn E, Neylan TC

Transcriptional control of monocyte gene expression in post-traumatic stress disorder.

Disease markers

O'Donovan A, Sun B, Cole S, Rempel H, Lenoci M, Pulliam L, Neylan T

Suppressed monocyte gene expression profile in men versus women with PTSD.

Brain, behavior, and immunity

Neylan TC, Sun B, Rempel H, Ross J, Lenoci M, O'Donovan A, Pulliam L

The power of exercise: buffering the effect of chronic stress on telomere length.

PloS one

Puterman E, Lin J, Blackburn E, O'Donovan A, Adler N, Epel E

Clinical anxiety, cortisol and interleukin-6: evidence for specificity in emotion-biology relationships.

Brain, behavior, and immunity

O'Donovan A, Hughes BM, Slavich GM, Lynch L, Cronin MT, O'Farrelly C, Malone KM

Black sheep get the blues: a psychobiological model of social rejection and depression.

Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews

Slavich GM, O'Donovan A, Epel ES, Kemeny ME

Pessimism correlates with leukocyte telomere shortness and elevated interleukin-6 in post-menopausal women.

Brain, behavior, and immunity

O'Donovan A, Lin J, Tillie J, Tillie JM, Dhabhar FS, Wolkowitz OM, Wolkowitz O, Blackburn EH, Blackburn E, Epel ES, Epel E

Quality of life predicts outcome in a heart failure disease management program.

International journal of cardiology

O'Loughlin C, Murphy NF, Conlon C, O'Donovan A, Ledwidge M, McDonald K

Factors that moderate the effects of social support on cardiovascular reactivity to stress

Int J Psychol. & Psychol. Therapy

O'Donovan, A.
Hughes, B.M.

Social support and loneliness in college students: effects on pulse pressure reactivity to acute stress.

International journal of adolescent medicine and health

O'Donovan A, Hughes B

Citation Analysis of Skinner's Verbal Behavior: 1984-2004.

The Behavior analyst

Dymond S, O'Hora D, Whelan R, O'Donovan A

Your best interests at heart?

The Psychologist

O'Donovan, A.
Hughes, B.M.