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Jack Nassau Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior

Brown Affiliations

research overview

Dr. Nassau’s research focuses in the area of psychological influences on pediatric chronic medical illness. He is particularly interested in the effect of stress on immune function in children and adolescents with chronic medical conditions such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease, and in the effectiveness of multidisciplinary family therapy on the psychological and health outcomes of children and adolescents with functional pain complaints.

research statement

I have an RO1 investigator-initiated award from NIH to study the effect of stress on immune mediators of airway inflammation in adolescents with asthma. This goal of this study is to test the hypothesis that among some adolescents with asthma, psychosocial stress induces a shift in immunity that supports inflammatory processes in the lungs. This study will also test whether the degree of immune change is associated with the degree of stress experienced by the subject (as measured by both biochemical indices of stress and self-report).

Recently, I submitted an investigator-initiated RO1 to NIH to study the effect of stress on immune mediators of intestinal inflammation in adolescents with Crohn’s disease, one of the inflammatory bowel diseases. This study will also include a sample of adolescents with asthma. Results will demonstrate whether the immune response to stress is similar in people who have different immune-mediated diseases or whether the immunological characteristics of the disease play a role in how stress influences the immune system.

Other active areas of interest include evaluating the quality of life, family functioning, and psychosocial functioning of children and adolescents with a variety of illnesses (e.g., diabetes, functional pain syndromes) who have been referred for treatment in the Hasbro Children’s Partial Hospital Program, a multidisciplinary day treatment program with a focus on family systems-based interventions. The goal of this research is to show that children and adolescents with a variety of illnesses can benefit from a common family-based treatment.

funded research

Principal Investigator, Stress and Immunity in Adolescent Asthma and Crohn’s Disease (submitted 2/1/06 NIH). Jack H. Nassau, PI. Total direct costs $1,051,305.

Principal Investigator, Stress and Immunity in Pediatric Asthma (7/1/02 – 4/30/05). Jack H. Nassau, PI. Total direct costs $675,000.

Investigator, Symptom Perception in Critical Adolescent Asthma, (4/1/01- 3/31/05). Anthony Mansell, PI. Total direct costs $1,955,340.

Co-investigator, Immunizing Against Tobacco Use in Pediatric Health Care, (9/30/1998-8/31/2002). Ray Niaura, PI. Total direct costs $349,419.
Co-investigator, Helping Nonmainstream Families Manage Childhood Asthma, (3/15/00-9/15/00). Sara Banks, PI. Total direct costs $88,000.