Skip to main content

Saint Louis University Header Logo Center

Menu Search

2017 Psi Chi Lecture

Wednesday, 19 April, 2017

The 2017 Psi Chi Lecture will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, at Busch Student Center.

Greg Miller, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Northwestern University, will be the guest speaker.

Abstract: Children who are exposed to social and economic adversity in the early years of life show increased susceptibility to chronic diseases of aging, like heart disease, when they reach their 50s and 60s.

These findings raise challenging but fascinating mechanistic questions: How does early adversity "get under the skin" in a manner that is sufficiently persistent to affect vulnerability to diseases that arise many decades later? 

In this lecture Miller will discuss findings from his ongoing research, which suggests that early adversity gets embedded in cells of the innate immune system at the level of the genome, resulting in a pro-inflammatory tendency that probably contributes to the chronic diseases of aging.

He also will discuss ongoing research to identify processes that moderate these effects. These studies reveal powerful buffering effects of nurturant parenting. But the situation is more complex for self-control, another factor often shown to be protective for youth at risk. Here, there seems to be a tradeoff between academic success and physical health in low-income youth, suggesting a cost to mobility.